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GO NORTH THIS WINTER WITH THE 2024 SAXO SCANDINAVIAN FILM FESTIVAL

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go north this winter with the 2024 saxo scandinavian film festival

Celebrating its tenth year, the 2024 Saxo Scandinavian Film Festival full programme launches today with a stellar line-up showcasing the best new cinema from the Nordic region. Go north this winter with films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden screening nationally at Palace Cinemas, Luna Palace Cinemas and Palace Nova Cinemas from July to August.

This year’s Festival will open with the epic historical drama THE RIOT (Sulis 1907), directed by Academy Award nominated Nils Gaup (The Last King). The film depicts the escalation of tensions leading to the Sulis uprising of mining workers in 1907 where workers struggled under inhumane conditions in dangerous, dark copper mines. This important episode in Norwegian history has never been told on screen before and portrays the origin story of the powerful Norwegian labour movement.

Hugely popular in Finland, this year’s Festival Centrepiece STORMSKERRY MAJA is based on the book series by Anni Blomqvist. A tale of female empowerment set in the 1840s, it follows Maja and her husband through the breathtaking Finnish seasons on the windswept and remote Åland archipelago. Stunning cinematography makes this a must-see on the big screen.

Our special festival guest is longtime collaborator and friend of the festival, Christof Wehmeier, the Head of International & Festival Promotion at the Icelandic Film Centre. He will be attending Opening nights in Melbourne and Sydney and will present an introduction to the Icelandic film and Festival Special Presentation, WHEN THE LIGHT BREAKS (Ljósbrot).

Direct from the 2024 Cannes Film Festival where it opened the Un Certain Regard section, WHEN THE LIGHT BREAKS, directed by Rúnar Rúnarrson, is a poignant drama set between two sunsets which follows a young art student whose morality is tested over a long summer’s day in Iceland.

The second Special Presentation is Iceland’s TOUCH (Snerting). A romantic drama directed by renowned filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur, it is based on the best-selling eponymous novel. Spanning several decades and continents, it follows one man’s emotional journey to find his first love.

Also from Iceland come two chilling thrillers. COLD (Kuldi), is moody, twisted and guaranteed to leave the audience buzzing. An adaptation of Icelandic crime author Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s bestselling novel, it follows a state investigator uncovering the mystery of decades old deaths at a juvenile centre. And the eerie NATATORIUM is the story of an eighteen-year-old who becomes caught up in the dark past of her family, learning secrets that will threaten her life while she is staying with her estranged grandparents.

Danish box office hit BOUNDLESS (Den grænseløse) is a gripping thriller based on the bestselling Department Q novel. It follows Detective Mørck and his team who become embroiled in a cold case on the remote Danish Island of Bornholm, providing a spectacular backdrop.

The line-up from Denmark is extensive and includes films with powerhouse performances including Sidse Babett Knudsen, festival favourite and much-loved star of Borgen, in SONS (Vogter). A must-see for fans of Nordic noir, the new film from writer/director Gustav Möller is a gripping moral thriller with Babett Knudsen delivering a stunning lead performance as a prison guard.

BIRTHDAY GIRL stars the incredible Trine Dyrholm. When the first evening of a dream cruise heading for the Caribbean turns into a nightmare, the mother of a young woman must fight for justice in this tense drama.

Based on a true story that explores the confronting choices that people must face in the wake of war, BEFORE IT ENDS (Når befrielsen kommer) is set in the final months of WWII. Written and directed by the Academy Award winning Anders Walter, this touching, intelligent drama features an excellent cast including Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones) and Katrine Greis-Rosenthal (A Taste of Hunger SCA22).

Three feel good Danish films in the line-up are BETTER TIMES (Bedre tider), filled with laughs and heartfelt emotion, which follows three brothers and their father on a quest to save their family bakery against great odds; MR. FREEMAN, a down-to-earth, coming-of-age drama about a lonely teenager who starts an online relationship with Ghanaian Mr. Freeman and persuades her reluctant parents to let him visit; and life-affirming romantic drama WHEN IN ROME (Rom), an irresistible homage to art, love, and the Eternal City about a couple who travel to Rome to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary.

Set to thrill is THE PROMISE (Majas Løfte), a suspense thriller that follows a woman trying desperately to save the life of her young nephew from the confines of her car; and PARANOIA, featuring Danish rising stars, which is a dark and intense thriller about two teens on a wild search for answers about the supernatural universe.

In science fiction epic ETERNAL (For evigt), young climate change scientist, Elias (Simon Sears) falls in love with an aspiring singer, Anita (Nanna Øland Fabricius, better known as Danish pop star Oh Land). However, their paths are destined to split when a mysterious fissure appears on the ocean floor and humanity comes under threat.

From Sweden is KINGMAKER (Mørkeland), the long-awaited sequel to 2004 Danish hit King’s Game, a topical and gripping political thriller about the state of democracy, following the adventures of investigative journalist Ulrik Torp.

Set during the Cold War in 1961, the political thriller HAMMARSKJÖLD – FIGHT FOR PEACE (Hammarskjöld) follows the true story of Swedish diplomat and economist Dag Hammarskjöld, who served as Secretary-General of the United Nations. A key figure during this pivotal time, iconic actor Mikael Persbrandt (In a Better World, Sex Education) stars as Hammarskjöld, the man who John F. Kennedy once called ‘the greatest statesman of our century’.

Also from Sweden is the psychological suspense drama HUNTERS ON A WHITE FIELD (Jakt på ett vitt fält). It explores group dynamics and the animal within us all through the story of three men’s weekend hunting trip in the Swedish forest; and PARADISE IS BURNING (Paradiset brinner), about sisters aged seven to sixteen who live in a working class area and are left to their own devices by their absent mother.

THE TUNDRA WITHIN ME (Eallougierdu) from Norway is a powerful drama exploring community, heritage and identity. Featuring beautiful cinematography, it follows Sámi artist Lena who returns to her hometown in northern Norway where she finds an unexpected new love and is forced to confront her past.

Also celebrated for its incredible cinematography is naval drama THE ARCTIC CONVOY (Konvoi) led by Anders Baasmo and Tobias Santelmann in a superb ensemble cast. Based on the story of the real-life mission on the Norwegian naval front during World War II, who were without defense or war experience. Directed by Henrik M. Dahlsbakken (Munch SCA23), this large-scale nautical epic explores themes of duty, sacrifice, unity and trust.

Spotlight screenings will mark the 35th anniversary of international breakout hit LENINGRAD COWBOYS GO AMERICA from renowned Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki. This classic road movie from the Finnish deadpan master follows the adventures of an inept Siberian rock ‘n’ roll band as they head to the USA in search of fame.

The Finnish black comedy DEATH IS A PROBLEM FOR THE LIVING (Peluri – kuolema on elävien ongelma) follows the unlikely friendship of the cheapest drivers in the hearse business who decide they need a fresh start and branch out.

Featuring a fabulous 80s soundtrack is gorgeous coming-of-age drama LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT (Valoa valoa valoa). A new girl arrives in a western Finland village in 1986 and shakes up the life of 15-year-old Mariia, who reflects on memories of that summer twenty years later.

Inspired by real events is THE MISSILE (Ohjus), a fascinating drama and political satire in which a single mother working at a small-town newspaper gets drawn into the investigation surrounding a Soviet missile crash.

The Festival is delighted to present the 2024 retrospective featuring films from one of the industry’s most iconic collaborations – Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman. This not to be missed spotlight showcasing their most significant and award-winning works from the 1960s-70s include AUTUMN SONATA (Höstsonaten), when world famous pianist Charlotte visits her daughter Eva (Ullmann) the tension between them builds; CRIES AND WHISPERS (Viskningar och rop), set in turn-of-the-century Sweden, about three sisters and long-repressed feelings towards each other; psychological drama PERSONA, about actress Elisabeth Vogler (Ullmann) who is seemingly healthy in all respects, but will not talk, and the five hour Director’s Cut of SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE (Scener ur ett äktenskap) which examines philosophical questions of love, loneliness, being and what it means to be ‘fulfilled’ and reportedly led to a spike in the Swedish divorce rate.

The festival recognises returning naming rights partner Saxo, who commented “As a Danish trading and investment specialist, Saxo couldn’t be happier to sponsor this year’s Saxo Scandinavian Film Festival. We’re very proud of our Scandinavian heritage and pleased to help bring Scandinavia’s best new cinema to Australian audiences.”

The 2024 Saxo Scandinavian Film Festival will take place from 17 July to 14 August
Tickets are now on sale!

Listing details:
Adelaide: 17 July – 7 August, Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas
Brisbane: 18 July – 7 August, Palace James St, Palace Barracks
Melbourne: 19 July – 7 August, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Palace Penny Lane, The Kino, Pentridge Cinema and The Astor Theatre
Sydney: 24 July – 14 August, Palace Norton St, Palace Moore Park, Palace Central and Chauvel Cinema
Canberra: 25 July – 14 August, Palace Electric
Perth: 25 July – 14 August, Luna Leederville, Luna on SX and Palace Raine Square
Byron Bay and Ballina: 26 July – 14 August, Palace Byron Bay, Ballina Fair Cinemas

For more information, visit scandinavianfilmfestival.com and follow us on Instagram/Facebook @ScandiFilmFest

Mick Pacholli

Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his fathers publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry. Mick has also created a number of local festivals and is involved in not for profit and supporting local charities.        

Mick Pacholli
Mick Pachollihttps://www.tagg.com.au
Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his fathers publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry. Mick has also created a number of local festivals and is involved in not for profit and supporting local charities.        
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