The Norwegian Film Fund's $3.1m backing hasgiven thegreen light for leading Norwegian producer John M Jacobsen's Max Manus, a WWII epic which will shoot from February. The fund also chipped in for two less expensive first features.
From a screenplay by Thomas Nordseth based on Manus' own books, and produced by Jacobsen and Sveinung Golimo for Filmkameratene on a budget of $9m (Euros 6.2m), the film will star Axel Hennie as the 25-year-old adventurer, whose experiences in the resistance marked him for the rest of his life.
The biopic will be directed by Roenberg, the director team of Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg who met at film school in Stockholm and went on to collaborate on - among others - commercials for Nokia and Budweiser, before their 2006 feature debut, the western comedy Bandidas, starring Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek.
'The artistic ambition of the film, combined with the commercial appeal of the story, could make Max Manus a project of reference in Norwegian film production,' explained drama and feature film consultant Ivar Kohn. It will hit the local market in January 2009 through Nordisk Filmdistribution.
Having fought the communists in Finland, Max Manus returned to Nazi-occupied Norway, to immediately join the resistance. He is arrested by the Germans, but escapes to England, where he is trained to become a special agent, and returns to Norway with his friend, Gregers Gram, on an assignment to blow up German supply ships.
Chased by the Gestapo, they become members of the Oslo Group, and participate in spectacular operations such as the sabotage of the Donau troop ship in December 1944. Several of his friends, including Gram, were killed in action, and he started to blame himself he was the survivor. Manus died in 1996.
Produced on a $2.3m (Euros 1.6m) budget by Tom Rysstad for his own Mirmar Film Production, Together (Sammen) is the feature film debut for Norwegian director Matias Armand Jordal, who has also written the family drama with Fridtjov Saheim in the lead role as Roger.
As he loses his wife, Kristine - and their son, Pal, his mother - he only wishes to die. Pal, however, does not give up hope they will become a family again. The fund will contribute $1.3m (Euros 900,000) to the costs of the film which Sandrew Metronome Norway will release domestically in February 2009.
Erlend Loe, who most recently scripted Norway's Oscar and Golden Globe candidate, Gone with the Woman (Tatt av kvinnen), has penned Rune D Langlo's first feature, North (Nord), which Sigve Endresen and Brede Hovland will direct.
Described as a road movie comedy, the $2.3m (Euros 1.6m) feature follows a former athlete returning by snow scooter to reality, his ex-girlfriend and his son, five years after a mental breakdown.
Backed by $1.3m (Euros 900,000) state funding the film will be launched in Norway early 2009 by Sandrew Metronome Norway.