”We will see some very interesting films, but also total flops and companies that suffer financially,” said the Norwegian Film Institute’s production chief

While in 2010, 25 Norwegian films controlled a record 23.4% share of the local market, from 11m admissions, the Norwegian Film Institute is today (Jan 11) presenting a slate of 21 new productions which will open during the first half of 2011, with another 20 scheduled before the end of the year.

”I do not expect the audiences for local films to increase as much as the number of productions,” said head of productions Ivar Køhn [pictured], of the Norwegian Film Institute. ”Some releases will not find space in the cinemas, or be discovered by the public. We will see some very interesting films, but also total flops and companies which suffer financially.”

The reason for the movie explosion is that from 2010 all domestic productions which exceed 10,000 theatrical admissions are now eligible for retroactive state support, up to $1.2m (NOK 7m) of total costs, or $1.5m (NOK 9m) for children’s films, depending on earnings from cinema, DVD and TV distribution.

While the institute still supports app 15 features and five documentaries annually before they go into production – these are also entitled to retroactive support – the new regulations seem more advantageous to the producers, because they will get state support from their films’  performance in all windows, as long as they sell more than 10,000 theatre tickets.

”In this way they reduce their risks, although I think a film will still have to exceed 100,000 admissions to cash in the maximum retroactive subsidy, no matter other income,” added Køhn. In 2010 the institute had calculated $16.2m (NOK 97m) for ex-post support; he expected the budget to go up for this year.

”The Norwegian market – neither the audiences nor the media - is not at all ready for 41 new films in a year,” said Norwegian producer Aage Aaberge of Neofilm. ”The boom is due to 10 years of growing success for local films, and mainly the change of subsidy regulations – but I am afraid some of the outcome is too amateurish, leaving the producers unable to meet their obligations.”

”In the end there will be a lot of bad publicity, before the rules undoubtedly have to be changed again.” In 2010 Neofilm produced Ploddy the Police Car Makes a Splash (Pelle politibil går i vannet); Aaberge is currently preparing the $13.3m (NOK 80m) Kon-Tiki, for Nordisk Film and the UK’s Recorded Picture Company.

“Among the 41 releases in 2011 there will probably be a few box office attractions, but a lot of them will certainly pass unnoticed,” agreed Norwegian producer Synnøve Hørsdal, of Maipo Film og TV Produksjon. “Most of the projects have been instigated because the producers now have a better idea how they will end financially, provided they pass the 10,000 limit at the theatres.”

Last year Maipo launched three Norwegian features – Lars Berg’s East End Angels (Asfaltenglene),Petter Næss’ Shameless (Maskeblomstfamilien), and Anne Sewitsky’s Happy Happy (Sykt lykkelig). For the 2011 release schedule Hørsdal is ready with Per-Olav Sørensen’s People in the Sun (Mennesker i solen).

People in the Sun was among the 21 films introduced today at Oslo’s Film House by the Norwegian Film Institute and the Norwegian Film and TV Producers’ Association. Hosted by former film consultant Vera Micaelsen, directors (including 11 first-timers), producers and cast told about their work and showed excerpts from their upcoming premieres.

The early slate comprised Stian Kristiansen’s I Travel Alone (Jeg reiser alene), Anne Sewitsky’s Jørgen + Anne (Jørgen + Anne = Sant) and Pål Sletaune’s Babycall, while Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters (Hodejegerne), Jens Lien’s Theory and Practice (Teori og praksis) and Joachim Trier’s Oslo, August 31 are all due after the summer.

”We will not know the result of this until the audiences have given their verdict. But we know that they have a rare variety of films to choose from, and that more filmmakers are able to realise their projects, which raises the level of film competence in Norway,” said managing director Nina Refseth, of the Norwegian Film Institute.