SCANDINAVIAN FILM FESTIVAL Elysia Zeccola directs

Opening this week at Cinema Paradiso is the Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival. From July 20 to August 2 Perth will play host to the best films that the Nordic regions have to offer. DAVID O’CONNELL spoke to Festival Director Elysia Zeccola about what the festival has in store for us.

The Scandinavian Film Festival is still a relatively young festival, with 2017 marking only its fourth year. Zeccola has been involved since the start of the festival, seeing an area of cinema that was not getting a general release in Australia.

“I’ve been curating since the beginning,” she says. “It’s an idea that came about, as so many great Scandinavian films were coming out abroad that weren’t being screened here. They look so amazing on the big screen, with their stunning sense of place and great cinematography. So we organised the Scandinavian Film Festival.”

Zeccola’s own background in the industry goes back a long way, and has shaped her personal philosophy in film selection. “I’ve been ripping tickets and cleaning cinemas since the age of 12, and grew up in the business,” she says. “Always watching foreign films from a young age. I’m just a film buff. I try to chose films that other people would really enjoy seeing.”

Nordic Noir has become the most recognisable genre from the region, and is always one of the festival’s biggest draw cards. “Nordic Noir has been so popular with all the amazing TV series (The Killing, The Bridge). It really got people excited in that genre,” she says.

Over the years it has been well represented in the festival, and this year is no exception. “Films like A Conspiracy of Faith, which is the third in the Department Q trilogy, following from The Keeper Of Lost Causes, The Absent Ones which screened in previous years.”

However it is not just the Nordic Noir films that make up the festival. There are comedies, dramas, coming-of-age stories, and historical epics. Each nation in the region has its own unique cinematic culture displayed in the films represented here. Yet Zeccola feels that they do have a similar philosophy in there production.

“Lots of layers, the characters are really well drawn, the scripts are always at a very solid stage before anything gets made,” she says. “I think the standard from the region is very sophisticated in general. High quality, really well directed and acted. I think we like the great storytelling, and well drawn characters. There’s no bells and whistles, or special FX and explosions. Just good storytelling.”

With that in mind, we asked for some of Zeccola’s recommendations for the Scandinavian Film Festival, and here they are.

The Man – a film about an artistic rivalry between a father and son. This marks director Charlotte Sieling’s (Homeland, The Bridge, The Killing) return to big screen.

Small Town Killer – A Danish black comedy about two men who hire people to kill their wives, but the tables get turned on them. “A really darkly funny film.”

Darkland – a revenge thriller, with hues of Nicholas Winding Refn’s style. “Edge of the seat stuff.”

Heartstone – a coming of age story from Iceland about 2 boys growing up in a remote fishing village. One is starting to have feelings for one of the local girls. The other is starting to have feelings for his friend.

The Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival runs in Perth from the 20th of July to the 2nd of August. For a complete program, and listing of events go to the scaninavianfilmfestival.com.

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