SF Norge, Norway’s leading distributor, has decided to close its in-house production arm — just as Norway’s NRK-TV starts airing its most recent television series, Captain Sabertooth & Pinky, later this week.
After two local features — Maria Sødahl’s Limbo [pictured] and Kristoffer Metcallfe’s Cupid’s Balls (Amors baller) – and two TV series (the other Steinar Borge’s Young Fleksnes/Den unge Fleksnes), the company will start dismantling the department headed by producers Frederick Howard and Petter J Borgli during the autumn.
“Too much overhead for too few titles,” explained managing director Guttorm Petterson, of SF Norge, attending the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund. ”We have a huge supply of product, and these days it is difficult to make film production a profitable business.”
A sister company of Swedish major, Svensk Filmindustri, SF Norge releases Warner Bros and MGM titles in Norway, adding SF’s own acquisitions; domestic films come from part-owned Filmkameratene, deals with Cinenord-Cinenord Kidstory, Monster Film, Zwart Arbeit, and frequent collaborators such as 4½ Fiksjon and Mer Film.
Petterson had originally planned a feature spin-off from Captain Sabertooth & Pinky, which is itself a spin-off from Norwegian author-songwriter Terje Formoe’s character for an open air theatre performance in 1989, also an animated feature by Stig Bergqvist-Rasmus Sivertsen came out in 2008 – but public support failed.
SF Norge is still involved in the Varg Veum franchise, from Norwegian-Danish production outfit CineMiso – two packages, each of six features, from Norwegian author Gunnar Staalesen’s best-selling novels, with Trond Espen Seim as the Bergen private investigator.
With another three films to go, headed by Alexander Eik’s Varg Veum – At Night All Wolves Are Grey (Varg Veum – I mørket er alle ulver grå), which will be launched on Nov 4, the series has sold 500,000 cinema tickets and 700,000 DVDs. Eight of the 12 thrillers will have been theatrically released by next spring.