'Norwegian Dream'

Source: Patryk Kin

‘Norwegian Dream’

Rome-based True Colours has taken international sales rights to Norwegian-Polish director Leiv Igor Devold’s fiction feature debut Norwegian Dream, the winner of the Screen International Best Pitch Award at this year’s Polish Days in Wroclaw. The film is now in post-production and True Colours will start talking to buyers at the upcoming Ventana Sur in Buenos Aires. 

Norwegian Dream is about a 19-year-old Polish immigrant working in a fish factory in Norway to pay off his mother’s debts. He begins to develop feelings for a colleague who is very confident in his own sexuality in a way he is not.

First footage from the film was shown at the Nordic Film Market during the Goteborg Film Festival in February 2022. The project was subsequently presented as part of First Cut+ at Karlovy Vary’s Eastern Promises platform at the beginning of July before Devold, co-producer Bartek Glinski and screenwriter Justyna Bilik came to Wroclaw to show more scenes from the film at the Polish Days’ works-in progress section in July.

A closed industry screening of Norwegian Dream followed during the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund in August.

True Colours’ line-up includes Mario Martone’s Oscar submission Nostalgia and Locarno Piazza Grande premiere Delta. The company is also handling films with an LGBT+ theme including Austrian filmmaker Evi Romen’s Why Not You and Shariff Nasr’s El Houb - The Love.

True story

Norwegian Dream is Devold’s first fiction feature following theatrical documentaries My Norwegian Grandfather produced through his own Norweign outfit Aurora Film.  A move to the Norwegian city of Trondheim introduced him local producer Håvard Wettland Gossé of Spaett Film, who had shorts and documentaries to his credit.

They began developing a feature based on the real case of 70 Polish workers who had gone on strike for 34 days at a Norwegian fish factory to win a collective labour agreement.

The story resonated with Devold, born in Norway to Polish parents. He had just returned to Norway following a six-year stint in Poland studying film at the Polish National Film School in Lodz.

“As a second -generation immigrant, I saw there is another side to Norway, one with glass ceilings and social inequalities,” he explains. “Poles are the largest minority in Norway with 110,000 inhabitants. For some, life is really tough because often they don’t integrate and it’s hard for many to learn the language.”

For Gossé, the story was a revelation.

“It was an eye opener for me, as a privileged Norwegian, to see what Igor found out in his research about the Polish strikers and the particular angle he had on Norwegian society,” he says.

He secured backing from Trondheim fund Filminvest to support the first round of research and scriptwriting in 2017, followed by development funding from the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI).

Polish writer-director Justyna Bilik, who is a part of the queer community in Warsaw, joined the project as screenwriter in spring 2019. She and Devold attended the SOURCES 2 script development lab with the screenplay that autumn.

International appeal

Poland was a natural first choice to look for co-producers. Producer Anna Rózalska, one of Devold’s fellow students at film school, introduced them to Solo Film’s Bartek Glinski who came onboard as the Polish production partner and secured production funding from the Polish Film Institute in spring 2020.

The online version of the connecting cottbus East-West co-production market in November 2020 then gave Gossé an opportunity to pitch the project to Lennart Lenzing and Michael Eckelt of Hamburg-based Riva Film, who subsequently accessed funding from their local regional fund MOIN for the project.

Financing for the trilateral co-production between Spaett Film, Solo Film and Riva Film also then came from the Norwegian regional distributor storytelling media, German distributor Salzgeber, and smaller grants from the Norwegian workers union, among others.


Polish casting director Konrad Bugaj, who had worked on the Oscar–nominated Corpus Christi, introduced Devold to the young talents at the top Polish drama schools. Hubert Milkowski, who starred in Piotr Domalewski’s Operation Hyacinth for Netflix was cast as the Polish lead.

Local Trondheim actor Karl Bekele Steinland was cast opposite him.

The film shot in September and October 2021 in Norway, just as the country opened fully from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It was quite a busy schedule with 131 scenes in 23 days,” says Devold. “The production conditions were something new for the Polish cast and crew who are used to 12 or 15-hour working days in Poland, whereas we decided to only work a maximum of 10 hours in Norway.”

Post-production in Poland and Germany will be completed by the beginning of December. True Colours are aiming to launch Norwegian Dream to buyers at the European Film Market in February 2023.