Erik Poppe, Paul Mayersberg, Aage Aaberge team on painter biopic.

Erik Poppe is attached to direct a new biopic of Norwegian Expressionist painter Edvard Munch.

Poppe, whose latest drama A Thousand Times Goodnight took the Best Film Prize at this week’s Amanda Awards in Norway, will collaborate on the project with veteran UK writer Paul Mayersberg (The Man Who Fell to Earth, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence) and Norwegian producer Aage Aaberge (Kon-Tiki).

Aaberge, of Neofilm told ScreenDaily at Haugesund that the film is “a dream project” of his.

“For eight years I have wanted to make a film of Munch, Norway’s greatest artists,” he said. “After all, the latest effort, by UK director Peter Watkins, dates back to 1974.”

“But it was difficult to find the right way to approach the project, until I met writer-director Paul Mayersberg.”

Loosely based on Norwegian author Ketil Bjørnstad’s book, The Story of Edvard Munch, the film will concentrate on the period in the 1890s, after Munch met Tulla Larsen, the great love and artistic inspiration of his life.

Munch is remembered for iconic work The Scream.

Aaberge is aiming to start principal photography next summer on locations in Paris, Berlin, Oslo and Munch’s summer cottage at Åsgårdstrand.

The veteran producer was speaking during the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund where seventeen Nordic films get their world premieres in the respected New Nordic Films market.

Norway has supplied six of the entries: Peter Flinth’s festival opener, Beatles; Hallvard Bræin’s Børning, which Monday (18 August) had registered an impressive 136,451 admissions during its opening weekend; Ole Endresen’s Chasing Berlusconi (Jakten på Berlusconi); Eirik Svensson’s One Night in Oslo (Natt til 17.); and Ole Giæver’s Out of Nature (Mot nature), also on show at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Also on the schedule are Danish directors Mikkel Nørgaard’s The Absent One (Fasandræberne), the second installment in the Jussi Adler-Olsen franchise, and Niels Arden-Oplev’s Speed Walking (Kapgang); Icelandic director Baldwin Zophoníassons local blockbuster, Life In a Fishbowl (Vonarstræti); Swedish director Ella Lemhagen’s adaption of Max Lundgren’s best-selling novel, The Boy with the Golden Pants (Pojken med guldbyxorna).

The nearly 60 attending buyers, 20 international sales agents and 25 festival programmers will be introduced to 20 Nordic works-in-progress, such as Finnish directors Jörn Donners’s first feature in five years, Armi Alive! (Armi elää!), and Klaus Härö’s The Fencer; Norwegian directors Anne Sewitsky’s Homesick (Hjemlengsel), and Izer Aliu’s feature debut, Hunting Flies; Danish directors Michael Noer’s Key House Mirror (Nøgle hus spejl), and Kenneth Kainz’s The Shamer’s Daughter (Skammerens datter).

Another 20 Nordic projects will be pitched to find co-producers and co-financiers, including Danish award-winning writer (A Royal Affair/En kongelig affære) Rasmus Heisterberg’s directorial debut, In the Blood (I blodet), and Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland’s In Order of Disappearance (Kraftidioten) follow-up, The Indian Bride (Elskede Poona).