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Sandberg, Ronning to follow Kon-tiki with Beatles

Norwegian directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning, who recently made Norway’s most expensive feature film, Kon-Tiki, are now ready to rock’n’roll.

Last week the Norwegian Film Institute decided to chip in $2.7 million (NOK 16 million) state support for their $6.6 million Beatles, the screen adaption of Norwegian author Lars Saabye Christensen’s 1984 novel – one of the best-selling books in Norway - depicting four 1960s teenagers in Oslo who are inspired by the Beatles to start a band.

Jørgen Storm Rosenberg, of Norway’s Storm Rosenberg production oufit, which most recently backed the two installmens of the Magic Mountain (Blåfjell/2009-2011) franchise, will produce the feature which will be scripted by Axel Hellstenius, who has previously adjusted the Elling books for cinema. Norsk Filmdistribusjon will handle the Sept 2013 release.

The institute, which shelled out $7.2 million (NOK 42.6 million) for four new features and three documentaries, also backed Lisa Marie Gamlem’s Grandma and the Eight Children – The Musical, a revival of the Norwegian kidpic classics written by and starring Anne-Cath Vestly (1977, 1979). Finn Gjerdrum, of Paradox, will breathe new life into the characters for Gamlem’s feature debut, which will be penned by Birgitte Bratseth. Nordisk Film will launch in Aug 2013.

Hans Petter Moland, who most recently signed the award-winning portrait of A Somewhat Gentle Man (En ganske snill mann/2010), has made an appointment with The Prize Idiot (Kraftidioten) for his next – and eighth – feature, which will also be produced by Gjerdrum and Paradox. The institute’s contribution to the $5.2 million (NOK 31.5 million) project was $1.9 million (NOK 11.3 million).

Moland who is also touting his – and Monster Film’s – The Bible II at the Co-Production Market during the upcoming Berlinale, will shoot The Prize Idiot from an original screenplay by Danish writer Kim Fupz Aakeson, about a family father and snowplough entrepreneur, who provokes a showdown between the Albanian mafia and established drug dealers in eastern Norway. Eurimages is also supporting the film which Nordisk Film Distribusjon has scheduled for a Feb 2014 release.

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