21 - 24 JUNE 2021 / EDITION N°32


Sunny Side of the Doc

[Testimonial] The global journey of Finnish producer Minna Dufton at #SSD19

Let’s join Minna Dufton on her global journey outside the box as a Producer for Raggari Films (Finland)

The majority of feature films made in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland are co-productions between two or more of those territories relying heavily on production subsidies from the local film institutes. For documentaries aiming at a wider international audience, Nordic producers have to be creative and look else where for co-financing. And this where Sunny Side of the Doc can make a real difference, help raise awareness about global opportunities and strengthen co-production ties between European partners and the Nordic countries.

Minna Dufton was the only Finnish representative joining the 2019 Nordic Delegation supported by EDN and Nordisk Panorama at Sunny Side of the Doc last June (26 Nordic doc professionals in attendance in 2019). She successfully presented her feature-film project Big vs. Small in a series of engaging meetings. Let’s find out what happened next and how Sunny Side of the Doc facilitated new connections.

Sunny Side of the Doc allowed me to make great contacts with potential co-production partners and international distributors. It’s also the perfect place to celebrate Midsummer so I hope to meet more fellow Nordic professionals there in the next few years.

Minna Dufton, Producer/Director, Founder of Raggari Films

First time at Sunny Side of the Doc in 2019! 
Tell us about your overall experience and what followed on from your participation ?

Minna Dufton: My priority was to find the right distributor for the feature documentary “Big vs. Small”. I’m looking for a strong sales team that could help us reach both major festivals and TV and digital platforms around the world. I also wanted to make contact with some potential co-production partners I’d like to work with in the future and to learn to navigate funding options in the international documentary market. I made some great connections that I’m regularly in touch with now. Since the event I’ve also had some very good discussions with a number of international distributors.

Big Vs. Small

Poster designed by Barkland Design – Pictures by Elina Manninen

Your documentary project « Big vs. Small » tells the complex life story of big wave rider Joana Andrade and her personal journey through chilhood hurts, fear, self challenging and physical performance.
What makes it a story fit to travel across borders and who are the international partners involved?

Minna Dufton: “Big vs. Small” is a social story about a woman’s recovery. It connects two extreme sports women, Joana Andrade from Portugal and free diver Johanna Nordblad from Finland in a truly unique way. Based on the feedback I got at Sunny Side, the story will resonate well with viewers across borders. Industry feedback was one of the biggest reasons of my visit to La Rochelle last June.
The production team behind “Big vs. Small” is mostly Finnish with a strong international support: Ocean Cinematographer Tim Bonython from Australia, Sound Recordist and Impact Producer Ru Mahoney from the US (met at Sunny Side of the Doc) and water safety teams from the UK and Portugal. We also have two people on the team from Russia.

You’ve just finished shooting in Nazaré with your crew, for the most dangerous film sequences. Can you tell us more about the film’s impact strategy and the commitment required to produce social impact film campaign?  

Minna Dufton: With “Big vs. Small”, there is great potential for impact on a number of key issues, including the role of surfing in the empowerment of girls and women and the powerful tools that nature can offer to heal ourselves from past traumas.
“Big vs. Small” is very much a healing impact documentary. The film also provides ample opportunity to celebrate women in a traditionally male-dominated sport. This year is the first year of equal price money in professional surfing. We aim to make “Big vs. Small” the center piece of a multi-faceted impact campaign and are currently looking for suitable partners to join us.

© Photo credits: Elina Manninen 

International coproduction is not often considered as an alternative financing source for Scandinavian documentary films. What do you perceive as the main benefit for your independent production company Raggari Films?

Minna Dufton: I set up Raggari Films to drive forward independent female film-making and international co-production is just one of the avenues I’m interested in. I love working with an international team.
However, there is still work to be done in making public funding easier for us all to grab. I’m an experienced journalist turned author and director who hasn’t gone to film school.
As funding decisions are often made based on certain structures, I’m keen to find alternative ways of raising funds and am putting myself on the line physically, mentally and monetarily. In Finland, we don’t yet have a fund for women behind the camera so it pays to be proactive and think outside of the box.

★ We are still looking for funding to help us finish making the film “Big vs.Small”. For queries about the title, please get in touch: minna.dufton@raggarifilmi.com

You proudly represented the only Finnish company in La Rochelle last June. What’s your message to other Scandinavian professionals working in the field?

Minna Dufton: Sunny Side of the Doc coincides with midsummer celebrations in Scandinavia, which I believe could be one reason behind the small number of Finnish and Scandinavian attendees. I found that La Rochelle was the perfect place to celebrate midsummer: the location was beautiful, the atmosphere relaxed and the weather certainly warmer than back home! I hope to meet more Nordic delegates there in the next few years.

You created Raggari Films to encourage more female directors, producers and cinematographers to make documentaries that move, heal and transform lives.
Can you introduce us to another amazing woman met during our industry event?

Minna Dufton: Could I introduce three?
I’d like to introduce directors Maria Aizpuru, Iratxe Fresneda (Pimpi & Nella Films) and producer Katti Pochelu (Gastibeltza Filmak) from the Basque Audiovisual delegation and say thanks for some fun and inspirational discussions in La Rochelle.


Password : joana1


Minna Dufton is an award-winning journalist, documentarist and tv and film industry professional with a cause. She has learned her craft by working in big broadcasting corporations such as ITN, BBC and Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle for 20 years. Her longest post as Producer-Director lasted nine years at Yle and included making a number of successful TV series and documentaries such as “Docstop: Saara Aalto”, a biographical documentary about Finnish singer and songwriter Saara Aalto.

Continue the conversation: minna.dufton@raggarifilmi.com

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