Nordisk Film & TV Fond: TrustNordisk closes new sales on Mads Mikkelsen’s vehicle The Bastard

By Annika Pham



Global distributors were back in force in Cannes, bidding for the hottest titles says managing director Susan Wendt.

TrustNordisk added a slew of sales at the Cannes market on Nikolaj Arcel’s highly anticipated period drama The Bastard, one of the sales company’s flagship titles.

New distributors on board include Divisia Red for Spain, Mongrel Media for Canada, Best Film for Poland, MC F Megacom for former Yugoslavia, Weirdwave for Greece, Film Europe for Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as Etin Film for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The Zentropa film starring Mads Mikkelsen, Amanda Collin and Gustav Lindh was pre-bought at an early stage by Magnolia Pictures for the US, Plaion Pictures for Germany, The Jokers Film for France, September Films for Benelux, Vertigo Media for Hungary.

The epic drama co-written by Arcel with Anders Thomas Jensen is due to open in Denmark October 5 via Nordisk Film which handles Nordic rights.

Based on true events and set in the mid 1700s, the story turns on one man's steely quest to create his own happiness and to change the map of Denmark forever. But in his pursuit of wealth, honour and power, he risks sacrificing love and losing those he cares about.

"The film looks amazing. We hope to platform it at A-festivals this fall, ahead of the film’s premiere in Denmark”, said Susan Wendt.

The seasoned sales executive cites The Bastard, Zentropa’s and other upcoming high-quality features Back to Realty by Anders Thomas Jensen and The Quiet Ones by Frederik Louis Hviid, as premium productions able to woo buyers at an early stage.

Announced at the beginning of the Cannes market, Back to Reality was instantly snapped by
Neue Visionen and Splendid for Germany-speaking territories, and September Films for Benelux, with more deals pending.

“If you have the right title, buyers line up and are even fast at clinching deals, something that was not the case in recent years, but that we’ve experienced the first days into the Cannes market,” Wendt told us as the market wrapped on Tuesday. “This is a proof that buyers want to get things off the table, and this is true not only for hardcore arthouse distributors, but also for platforms.

Besides the pedigree Zentropa productions, Wendt was pleased with buyers’ interest in the Swedish horror movie Carousel by Simon Sandquist. “Again, this is the typical film that ticks all the right boxes and has a clear target audience. You have the Young Royals star Omar Rydberg, the amusement park setting-and horror genre that appeals to a wide crowd. It’s been interesting to see that distributors are keen to launch it in cinemas around Halloween to catch the young horror fans, so genre movies are hot properties both for streaming and cinemas,” Wendt said.

Other strong genre movie on TrustNordisk’s Cannes slate that caught buyers’ eyes were Thea Hvistendahl’s Handling the Undead and Ole Bornedal’s Nightwatch-Demons are Forever.

Wendt said she is discussing the festival strategy with US distributor Neon who pre-bought North American and UK rights on Handling the Undead, scripted by John Ajvide Lindqvist from his own novel. The film starring The Worst Person in the World’s Renate Reinsve and Anders Danielsen Lie is due to be delivered this fall.

Meanwhile Michael Noer’s suspense drama Birthday Girl starring Trine Dyrholm has also been on buyers’ top shopping list, according to Wendt who was still waiting at press time for sales confirmations.

“The polarisation of the market has intensified, with high-end titles at one end, and small arthouse fare at the other end driving admissions, while middle ground offerings fail completely these days,” noted the sales expert. “On top of that, we have to deal with small arthouse films that miss out on festivals, and end up in limbo, even if they are excellent.

It is therefore easier to sell these days compared to last year, but still very tricky, which is why we need to have an open dialogue with producers, so that they won’t have unrealistic expectations.” Wendt pointed out.

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