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Culture Cafe

DocPoint festival celebrates Finnish documentaries in New York

Notes on the DocPoint Encounters in NYC at Scandinavia House in New York City, June 9, 2011.

By Brian GeldinThe Film Panel Notetaker / June 14, 2011



As part of its 10th anniversary, the Helsinki-based DocPoint festival celebrates Finnish documentaries with DocPoint NYC – a program of 47 films hosted by its New York partners: The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Scandinavia House, 92YTribeca, UnionDocs and the Tribeca Film Institute. DocPoint is the largest documentary festival in the Nordic region. Finnish documentaries are enjoying an international boom, picking up awards, sales agents and distribution deals.

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With that in mind, content consultant Kelly Devine, currently in her fourth year with the Tribeca Film Institute’s web-based initiative TFI Reframe Collection, moderated an informative panel discussion that included key industry professionals discussing options and resources that the Finnish filmmakers present at the festival could use for connecting with audiences ranging from signing with traditional distributors to acting as their own distributor or doing a bit of both.

The esteemed panelists included:

Jason Leaf, Manager of Theatrical Distribution of Kino Lorber Films:

Kino releases approximately 20 films theatrically per year. They have three video labels: Documentaries, Fiction and Alive/Mind (spiritual). They also release films in non-theatrical markets such as educational.

Jonathan Marlow, Co-Founder and VP of Content Development & Acquisitions of Fandor.com:

He started as an exhibitor, eventually landed at Amazon.com, to help develop their film and video business, and he later ran GreenCine. Currently, California Newsreel is a partner of Fandor and is showing Shadow of the Holy Book, which DocPoint programmer Arto Halonen directed.

Sylvia Savadjian, film publicist and curator at New York’s Maysles Cinema:

Curates films at Maysles Cinema. Works in publicity and marketing on mainly films that already have distribution, and also films at festivals. Previously worked at Icarus Films, a documentary distributor.

* Technical Note: Due to audio issues and a loud broken air conditioner in the room where the panel took place, I was unable to pick up much of the discussion on my recorder, so below are highlights of the various topics raised. And what adevine job Ms. Devine did keeping the conversation rolling with humor and humility amongst the heat and humidity

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