SF Norge - Norway's leading distributor, a subsidiary of Swedishmajor, Svensk Filmindustri - is establishing its own production department,with the ambition to produce two features annually, and co-produce another two.The first slate is topped by the $12.8m package of six films about Norwegian privatedetective Varg Veum, which has currently shooting.

Before flying its ownbanner, SF Norge - which, with Fox, controls 25%-30% of the market - iscelebrating the launch of its latest co-production, Norwegian director RoarUthaug's feature debut, Cold Prey,from Fantefilm. After 12 days in release, the thriller has exceeded 130,000admissions, as the distribbery's strongest opening of a domestic title.

"In Denmark and Sweden, local fare controls 20%-30% of the market. We thinkNorway has the same potential, and we want to increase ourcatalogue and be part of the growth," explained managing director GuttormPetterson, who has signed Norwegian producer Gudny Hummelvoll to head the newdivision, teaming with Hege Astrup and Line Sandsmark.

Petterson is himself executive-producingthe two features and four TV/DVD moviesbased on Norwegian writer Gunnar Staalesen novels about Bergen private eye VargVeum, with Trond Espen Seim in the lead. Staged with Denmark's Miso Film, the first film, Bitter Flowers, started shooting earlier this month under thedirection of Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen.

Production manager on suchfilms as Liv Ullmanns' The Garlandand Pal Sletaune's Junk Mail,Hummelvoll is currently working for 4 ' Productions, where she is finishingMarius Holst's third feature, Mirush,scheduled for a March 2 release. She previously worked on films including MortenTyldum's Buddy.