The most expensive film ever produced in Scandinavia had its world premiere in Norway on national release last week, after having been critically slated by the press.
I Am Dina, the $15.9m English-language film by Ole Bornedal (Nightwatch - both Danish and US versions), starring Gerard Depardieu and Christopher Eccleston, was roundly criticised for the standard of its acting, getting a particularly cool reception from Norway's largest newspapers. Only the film's star, Maria Bonnevie (Jerusalem, 13th Warrior) received plaudits for her performance, with some praising it as a career high.
But despite the unfavourable reviews, local audiences have embraced the film. Released on 58 Norwegian screens by Egmont Columbia TriStar, I Am Dina sold 50,000 tickets, grossing $359,757, taking top spot at the Norwegian box office during the first weekend of its release.
Nordisk Film, the production arm of Danish media giant Egmont, has stated that, as the principal backer of the film, it has to sell at least one million tickets in Scandinavia in order to break even, given the budget over-run of $2.2m .
Author Herbjorg Wassmo's best-selling Norwegian novel Dina's Book (which was published in 20 countries, selling 50,000 copies in Germany and 30,000 in the UK) is clearly responsible for much of the local interest in I Am Dina. The film is released in Denmark on March 15 and Sweden on March 22.
Sweden's Felicia Film, Germany's Gemini Film and Apollo Media and France's Mandarin Film are co-producers. The Norwegian, Swedish and Danish Film Institutes, along with the German state film subsidy board Filmstiftung NRW, together contributed funding of $4.4m. The Scandinavian public broadcasters NRK, SVT and Denmark's TV 2 also contributed financially to the film which is being sold internationally by TF1 International.