Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, has been accused by the local media of double standards in his election campaign.
Speaking passionately about film, music and cultural values, the PM praised the success of the crowd-pleasing documentary Cool And Crazy. Yet, according to Tom Remlov, former head of Norsk Film, which produced the film with Jan-Erik Gammleng's Barentsfilm, his praise stands in stark contrast to the fact that it was his very own government that recently closed down the state-run Norsk Film
The last film to be produced by Norsk Film was writer-director Thomas Robsahm's $3.9m (NKR35m) historic drama The Greatest Thing. "He practices a double standard, when using Cool And Crazy in his election campaign, when they were the ones who closed down Norsk Film," says Robsahm, who points out that the government's policy on film- and cultural matters is no better than the other parties.
Robsahm's The Greatest Thing has its premiere at the Norwegian film festival in Haugesund, which PM Stoltenberg opens this weekend. The film is set in the 1860s and based on The Fisherman's Daughter by acclaimed author Bjoernstjerne Bjoernson.
The director, who won the local Amanda Award for best film in 2000 for S.O.S., doubts the film, which was also backed by broadcaster NRK and Denmark's Nordisk Film, would have been made without Norsk Film. "The project was met with much scepticism from the start, which in part had to do with Bjoernson and that the script was based on a book. But Norsk Film not only meant a great deal to small films like Cool And Crazy, they also made a huge project like mine possible," says Thomas Robsahm.
In place of Norsk Film, the government has channeled its funding into the new Norwegian Film Fund, which will control the annual $18m of state subsidies.