25-year-old, Henrik Friis de Magalhães e Meneses (Portuguese/Norwegian) is not shy of a challenge. His company, HF Productions runs 25 film festivals around the world and is already dramatically changing the landscape of how film festivals are being curated. Championing inclusivity for important narratives and providing a platform for indie filmmakers, are some of the goals HF Productions aims to promote, in an industry that is otherwise seen as exclusive and difficult to maneuver around. The company is expecting to turn over $1 million dollars in only its second fully operational year and has offices in New York City, Copenhagen, Athens, and Jakarta.

Friis was previously embedded with Kurdish forces in the frontlines of Iraq, which is what ultimately led him to the film industry. “After documenting the war against ISIS, I made a few short films, and this is basically what led me to the film scene. I have always felt that film is the best way to inspire and spread messages across, and I felt there needed to be more platforms and representation out there”.

As Head of Production, film producer Benn Wiebe says, “we are international, inclusive, and there is such a unique opportunity here to use these platforms to champion the film world’s ability to drive action for important global goals”.

HF Productions recently hosted the Arctic Film Festival, which is the northern-most film festival in the world. When asked about why putting events in such remote locations, CEO Henrik Friis responds: “This is what we are all about. We want to reach filmmakers from all corners of the world and not only raise awareness but push on action items for important issues such as climate change”.

The festival is in partnership with the United Nations SDGs platform and had participants attending from all over the world. HF Productions are already looking to incorporate the SDGs into other festivals and initiatives that they run in Oslo, Copenhagen, Rome, Prague and many other cities.

Besides running festivals, HF Productions produces social impact content and provides consultancy for companies and filmmakers all over the world. Most recently, Friis & Wiebe were Co-Executive Producers for Women of the Gulag, which was shortlisted for an Oscar at the 91st Academy Awards.

HF Productions is also preparing to enter the streaming market. “We are already constructing FilmHub, our own internal streaming service that will share the same mission of providing an outlet for films long and short that come through our festivals and others”, Wiebe concludes. HF Productions expects to launch FilmHub in the beginning of 2020 and is also co-producing An Elephant in the Room, a feature documentary on child bereavement with Emmy-nominated director Katrine Philip and producing partner Katrine Sahlstrøm.


Check out Friis’ recent TEDx talk he gave in London here.


Published by Qais Ahmadi