Having sold 1.2m tickets domestically for Max Manus, the WWII feature about Norwegian resistance during German occupation of Norway, Norwegian veteran producer John M Jacobsen has now started Theresienstadt Requiem, a $11.1 million (NOK 65 million) epic following Czech composer-conductor Raphael Schächter’s efforts to stage Verdi’s Requiem in the Nazi ghetto north of Prague.
The last stop-over before Auschwitz-Birkenau, Theresienstadt was set up in 1940 as a model Jewish settlement with artists from all over Europe, to show to the world that nothing happened to the Jews deported from their home countries. In fact it was a concentration camp; of the 144,000 Jews sent there, 33,000 died, 88,000 were forwarded to other extermination facilities.
The true story of Schächter and his Requiem performance is seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old Danish boy, and scripted/directed by Vibeke Idsøe. Jacobsen produces for Filmkameratene, and Nordisk Film Distribusjon will release in December 2012. ”It has also the potential of becoming an international success,” said film consultant Thomas Robsahm, of the Norwegian Film Institute.
The institute has supported the project with $1.6 million (NOK 9.5 million) as part of a $14.2 million (NOK 83 million) package which has sparked off seven new productions totalling $39.5 million (NOK 230 million), including new films by Nils Gaup, Erik Skjoldbjærg, Sara Johnsen, Arild Andresen, Mikkel B Sandemose and Dag Johan Haugerud.
After The Kautokeino Rebellion(Kautokeino-opprøret/2008) – a 19th century Sami revolt where one of his own family was executed as a rebel - Gaup will have a go at Sverre Brandt’s more peaceful play from 1924,Journey to the Christmas Star (Reisen til julestjernen). Last brought to the screen by Ola Solum in 1976, it will this time be scripted by Kamilla Krogsveen.
Sigurd Mikal Karoliussen and Jan Eirik Langøen will realise the $4.8 million (NOK 28 million) project for Moskus Film, in collaboration with Storm Rosenberg, and Walt Disney Norway has scheduled the premiere for November 2012. ”A film for children and family audiences, from a well-known classic and a well-established brand,” said head of production Ivar Køhn, of the Norwegian Film Institute.