Norway is in Focus at this year’s edition of the Berlinale, presenting Out Stealing Horses by Hans Petter Moland in the Main Competition section. Giving Norway an additional boost is Sørfond, represented with Brazilian contender Gabriel Mascaro (Divine Love) in Panorama and Marwa Zein (Khartoum Offside) in Forum.
«Mascaro`s new project will have its world premiere in competition at Sundance, before it is set for its European premiere at the Berlinale», says project manager Per Eirik Gilsvik at Sørfond. « It definitely contributes to confirming the strong quality of projects supported by Sørfond, following 2018 an amazing year for the production-support fund where all of our films premiered at major international festival», Gilsvik continues.
Divine Love is an unorthodox religious tale set in Brazil in the year 2027. Focused around the evangelical cult Divino Amor, we see how life is now centered around conservative Evangelical values
Divine Love is co-produced by Mer Film. Managing director of Mer Film, Maria Ekerhovd says it is fantastic that Gabriel Mascaro’s Divine Love gets its premiere at both Sundance and the Berlinale. “We have been involved in the project for almost two years as co-producer, and we are absolutely delighted that the film is selected to premiere at two of the world’s most prestigious film festivals.” Further, Ekerhovd highlights that the support from Sørfond has been very important:
-That Søfond can contribute with support for daring and original films from a country like Brazil, where freedom of expression and support for culture now is under heavy pressure, is very important. For us as the Norwegian co-producer it has been inspiring to take part in the process of a film unlike no other: a futurist fable from a Brazil 2027, where evangelic Christianity rules.
Ekerhovd says she looks forward to presenting the film for the Norwegian audience during the Films from the South Festival in November, and its following cinematic release.
Head of Programme Lasse Skagen is also excited about the upcoming European premiere of Divine Love. «Gabriel Mascaro visited Films from the South festival in 2016 with Neon Bull,» says Skagen, «and we would love to welcome him back at this year’s festival» he continues.
In Forum the Sørfond-supported documentary Khartoum Offside, by Marwa Zein will have its World Premiere.
Khartoum Offside follows a group of exceptional young ladies in Khartoum that are determined to play football professionally. They are prepared to defy the ban imposed by Sudan’s Islamic Military government and they will not take no for an answer. Their battle to get officially recognized as Sudan’s National Woman’s team is fearless, courageous and often laughable. But their struggle is unwavering.
Norwegian co-producer is Henrik Underbjerg at Stray Dog Production is thrilled and says «that the film’s inclusion in the Panorama-section at the Berlinale is a great recognition of the formidable work done by director Marwa Zein. She has shot the film under very difficult conditions, and it is fantastic that the film now has the chance to reach a wide audience. We hope the film can inspire the audience to follow their dreams, and that it at the same time can shed light on the ongoing political unrest in the country»
«We hope for excellent reviews for both films», Per Eirik Gilsvik concludes in a final comment.