The 3rd SØRFOND Pitching Forum was held October 14th – 16th at Filmens Hus in Oslo. A total of 12 projects from Sri Lanka, Philippines, Iran, China, Brazil, Colombia, Albania, South-Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia was pitched trying to grab the attention of a Norwegian producer to help them qualify for funding from SØRFOND.
With great diversity the films ranged from a thriller staged in the Khat drugtrade in Kenya, to a documentary about identity theft in Brazil, to a warm comedy from Albania. All the projects are hoping for funding from Sørfond. But to apply for support they need a Norwegian co-producer, which they hope to meet at the pitching forum.
The forum started out with a workshop with Danish editor Jesper Osmund. Osmund shared his experience from a wide range of pitching seminars among others seminars at IDFAcademy and the European Documentary Network (EDN). Working with each project in individual sessions he helped streamline the presentations. Impressed with the projects Osmund gave advice on how to capture the interest and imagination of the Norwegian producers.
After two days of polishing their presentations everybody was ready with their 10 minute pitch. Moderating the forum was Kalle Løchen and Silje Riise Næss. Togheter with the producers they spent an additional 10 minutes after the presentations in dialog with the filmmakers asking questions and getting a more in-depth understanding of the different projects.
“It was an amazing experience to share our project with Norwegian Producers and the others participants”, says Gabriel Amdur, co-producer of El Confidente, a project form Colombia. “We had a very fruitful pitching forum, and I’m confident we’ll find a Norwegian producer”, says Ama Ampadu from Ethiopia.
3 million Norwegian kroner, approximately 370 000 euroes, will be divided between a handful projects after the application deadline: 15th of January 2014. The Norwegian producers get 10 % of the granted amount. More important to the Norwegian producers, is the positive effects of contributing on an international project. Of the 13 projects who previously have recieved funding from SØRFOND, several have premiered on prestige festivals like Cannes and Berlin. For the Norwegian producers the co-productions gives a rare chance to gain international experience and expanding their networks. Even more inviting is the unique opportunity to be a part of the production of important and exciting stories reaching far beyond the Norwegian borders.
“SØRFOND’s main goal is to help produce films that would not been made because of political or economical reasons”, says project manager Heidi Palm Sandberg. She hopes the forum will help create many interesting co-productions and future partnerships.
After the pitching session, the forum continued more informally at the penthouse suite at Thon Hotel Panorama, giving filmmakers and producers an opportunity to continue discussing future projects and possibilities.