Following the runaway success of Knut Erik Jensen's 2001 musical documentary Cool And Crazy, a slate of new Norwegian documentaries are enjoying both critical and commercial success at home.
The Norwegian Film Fund has just awarded $371,000 to local production outfit Barentsfilm for director Knut Erik Jensen's (pictured) new theatrical documentary Show Traditions At Mageroya. Jensen's $942,000 film will focus on an amateur ensemble from a remote arctic town. Distributor SF Norge will both co-produce and distribute the film, which is to be released in January 2004.
A growing number of Norwegian documentaries have been both critical and box office successes. Barentsfilm hit gold last year with Jensen's Cool And Crazy, a musical documentary about a male voice choir, which became 2001's second best-attended film in Norway.
Another documentary, All About My Father, (pictured) produced by Exposed Film and released by Oro Film in Norway, has so far taken over 75,000 admissions, an impressive performance for local niche product. The personal portrait of the director's troubled relationship with his transvestite father last week received the best film award at Norway's local Oscars, the Amanda ceremony.. The documentary previously collected a number of international awards, including the Best International Documentary at the Toronto Hot Docs, the main prize at the Munich film festival, the FIPRESCI award at Gothenburg and the Teddy Award in Berlin.
Meanwhile, production outfit Speranza Film is now readying the theatrical release of a twenty minute documentary called My Body where director Margreth Olin explores her traumatic relationship to her own body. Despite its short length, the film has been subject to huge media attention after it received the main prize at the Grimstad Short Film Festival.
Another very personal, theatrical documentary in the pipeline is the $460,000 film Gunnar Goes Comfortable produced by Agitator and directed by Elin Sander - about a young man who travels in an attempt to better cope with his own, difficult personality.
The success of Cool And Crazy prompted Barentsfilm and director Jensen to make a $1.2m follow-up to the success, with a full-length documentary on the choir's US tour.
However, Cool And Crazy On The Road has failed to attract local audiences. While the first film generated more than 600,000 admissions in its home territory, the second has only been seen by 20,000.