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Danish films sold well in Berlin

"Nymphomaniac" has been sold to the US and Canada, "The Keeper of Lost Causes" to the UK and Australia. TrustNordisk, one of the largest Scandinavian sales agents, report a round of really good sales at the Berlin Film Festival. "We have achieved amazing results this year," says CEO Rikke Ennis.

  • Keeper of lost causes

    Keeper of lost causes

By Freja Dam, The Danish Film Institute

Distributors gathered in large numbers around TrustNordisk's sales stand after the company's promo screenings at the European Film Market, the massive industry event that takes place during the Berlin Film Festival.

No festival film, yet strong sales

TrustNordisk, one of the largest sales agents for Danish and Nordic films, reports that Mikkel Nørgaard's adaptation of Jussi Adler-Olsen's "The Keeper of Lost Causes", with expected release in October, has been sold to a large number of countries, including to major territories such as the UK, Germany and Australia. On top of that, Poland, Russia and China secured the rights to all four films in Zentropa's franchise based on Jussi Adler-Olsen's hugely popular crime novels.

Equally popular was Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac", TrustNordisk reports. The film is expected to be completed in late 2013 and has already sold to influential markets such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil, as well as a large number of European countries.

Also Michael Noer's upcoming feature film "Northwest", which enjoyed its international release at the Rotterdam film festival, was a success at the Berlin market, where the film was secured distribution in France, the UK and Benelux.

"We have achieved some amazing results," says Rikke Ennis, CEO of TrustNordisk. "There was a bit more suspense this year because we didn't have any films selected for the official festival programme. Fortunately, we proved that we are still attractive to buyers, because we have a unique selection of pre-sale offers."

Pre-sales are key

"For us, pre-sales are key," says Rikke Ennis. "The hype that you can create on the project when it isn't finished yet, is far greater than the hype that necessarily comes later, when the film is all finished and ready. Our new strategy of setting up promo screenings of selected titles has proven to be just right."

If a director previously has shown good results, TrustNordisk can often sell the film already at the script stage. This applies, for instance, to Lars von Trier. Distributors are more hesitant vis-à-vis first-time directors. But the appetite for taking risks also depends on the territories themselves, Ennis says. 

Europeans are generally more inclined to take chances with renowned directors and auteur-driven projects, while distributors in Asia, Latin America and the United States will often wait until they have seen more. "So we are really happy that we were able to sell 'Nymphomaniac' to the US," Ennis says.

"Nymphomaniac" and "The Keeper of Lost Causes" is produced by Louise Vesth for Zentropa. "Northwest" is produced by Tomas Radoor and René Ezra for Nordisk Film. All three films have received support from the Danish Film Institute.