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Cinenord planning heroic husky film

EXCLUSIVE: Heroic husky Balto famously led an expedition across the Alaskan ice carrying a life-saving serum for the victims of a diphtheria epidemic.

Oslo-based production outfit Cinenord is hatching a $10m live action, English language dog movie celebrating the heroic deeds of Siberian Husky sledge dog Balto.

The heroic husky is celebrated with its own statue in Central Park. Several animated features have been made about the mutt.

The new Balto movie is being scripted by James V. Hart, who also scripted Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula and Cannes Jury President Steven Spielberg’s Hook.

“He (Hart) wanted to write it because he lives next door to the statue in Central Park and he loves dogs,” commented Silje Hopland Eik, who runs Cinenord along with Tanya Nanette Badendyck.

Balto famously led an expedition in 1925 across the Alaskan ice carrying a life-saving serum for the victims of a diphtheria epidemic. Freak blizzards and storms prevented planes or trains from bringing medicine to victims. The only way to save the sufferers was for mushers and their dogs to brave the elements.

The film is being put together as a Norwegian-Canadian co-production and will shoot in Alaska. No cast is attached yet but Eik confirmed that the dog is likely to come from North America rather than Norway.

Cinenord is currently basking in the success of its kids movie Casper and Emma – Best Friends. The most popular film at the Norwegian box-office this year, Casper and Emma has posted over 200,000 admissions.

A rash of new Casper and Emma movies is in the works. Each budgeted at around $3m, they include Casper and Emma on Winter Holiday, Casper and Emma Celebrate Christmas and Casper and Emma on Safari (which will shoot in South Africa next January). The three films will all need to be completed quickly, before the lead actors, Nora Amundsen and Elias Søvold Simonsen, grow too old to play their roles.

All the Casper and Emma films are sold by Svensk.

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