Major Norwegian production and facility houses Norsk Filmstudio (NF) and The Chimney Pot (TCP) will join forces in what they call “North Europe’s most modern and innovative full-service studio”.

Norsk Filmstudio CEO Knud Bjorne Larsen will become managing director, and Chimney Pot chief Martin Thorkildsen will become creative producer in the new company, based at Jar outside Oslo. With a combined staff of 55, the two outfits last year registered a turnover of $8.4m (NOK 55m).

A main reason for the merger is the need to meet international competition. “Norwegian producers are increasingly seeking finance abroad; we must strengthen our position, if we want to keep the productions in Norway,” said Bjorne Larsen.

“Combining the competences of both companies, we can now supply everything for a production, from the shooting of the first picture to the delivery of the finished film for theatrical release or television,” he added.

Norsk Filmstudio was established in 2002 after government-owned production entity Norsk Film at Jar was dismantled.

Norsk today is Norway’s leading professional film studio, with infrastructure from costumes to post-production facilities. It also offers financing and office facilities.

TCP started as a division of a production company, and has after 15 years become an independent enterprise, specialising in services from camera, lighting, and sound and picture post-production.

Both NF and TCP have serviced recent major productions including Joachim Rønning-Espen Sandberg’s local blockbuster, Max Manus, Arild Fröhlich’s Fatso and Stian Kristiansen’s The Man Who Loved Yngve (Mannen som elsket Yngve).

The board of the new company includes former TV2 chief Kare Valebrokk, producer Axel Helgeland, Thorkildsen, Geir Bergkastet and Cecilie Troan.

Today NF is fully owned by government-run Filmparken. After the merger Filmparken owns 60% of the business, with 40% left to TCP share-holders. The Norsk Film catalogue is controlled by Filmparken.