Some of the world’s most electric foreign-language titles are being made by Norwegian film-makers right now. Screen profiles a selection of new films and spotlights a trio of rising directors.
All That Matters Is Past
Dir: Sara Johnsen
This third film from the director of quiet festival favourites Upperdog and Kissed In Winter is based on an intriguing original premise by Johnsen and could signal her most commercial film to date. All That Matters Is Past is a $5.3m romantic thriller about a women who abandons her lover for an old boyfriend only to be found barely alive next to two dead men. Leading Norwegian actors Maria Bonnevie, Kristoffer Joner, David Dencik and Maria Heiskanen star in the project which is in post-production and set for release in 2012. Turid Oversveen’s 4½ Fiksjon is producing with Sweden’s Bob Film and Denmark’s Windelov-Lassen.
Sales: TrustNordisk - email@example.com
Dir: Vibeke Idsoe
John M Jacobsen’s Filmkameratene is developing this $12m true story of a Czech conductor’s efforts to stage Verdi’s Requiem in the Jewish ghetto of Theresienstadt, north of Prague, as seen through the eyes of a Danish boy. Theresienstadt was set up by the Nazis in 1940 as a model Jewish settlement with artists from all over Europe, to convince the world nothing untoward happened to those Jews deported from their home countries. In fact it was a concentration camp. The project is being written and will be directed by Vibeke Idsoe, whose credits include well-received local titles Body Troopers and 37½. The project has received backing from the Norwegian Film Institute and will be released by Nordisk in December 2012. Casting has yet to be announced.
Contact: Filmkamaratene - firstname.lastname@example.org
Journey To The Christmas Star
Dir: Nils Gaup
Moskus Film’s $5.2m family adventure film about a young girl’s search for the Christmas star is the first local film to be acquired by Walt Disney Company Nordic. Casting is yet to be announced on the project, which is being produced by Sigurd Mikal Karoliussen and Jan Eirik Langoen. Gaup’s last film was The Kautokeino Rebellion, about the 19th century Sami revolt.
Contact: Moskus Film - email@example.com
Dir: Petter Naess
Harry Potter star Rupert Grint heads an international cast which includes Germany’s Florian Lukas (Good Bye Lenin!) and David Kross (The Reader) with Norway’s Stig Henrik Hoff (Max Manus) in this film from Elling director Peter Naess. It is based on a true story about the improbable friendship between Second World War German and British pilots, shot down over Norway, who must survive the brutal winter. The $2.8m project is the first to come out of Zentropa Norway and is a co-production with Sweden’s Trollhattan Film. In post, it is eyeing an early 2012 launch.
Sales: TrustNordisk - (45) 3686 8788
Dirs: Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning
The Max Manus directors have reunited to shoot this epic adventure about explorer Thor Heyerdahl and five scientists who travelled from South America to the Polynesian islands on a wooden raft called Kon-tiki. A $17m co-production between Nordisk Film Production and Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company (UK), it has pre-sold to Momentum for the UK and Transmission for Australia and is shooting in Norway, Sweden, Malta, Bulgaria and Thailand. It is due to wrap this autumn. The cast is headed by Pal Sverre Valheim Hagen and Odd-Magnus Williamson.
Sales: HanWay Films - (44) 20 7290 0750
Fjord focus: directors to watch
Trier blazed on to the international festival scene with his Reprise in 2006 about two would-be novelists. His melancholy second film, Oslo, August 31st, about a man suffering an existential crisis, debuted at Cannes this year to admiring reviews. Now Trier’s career is ready to step up a gear after winning slate funding from the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI) for his next two or three features to be made with his regular producer, Motlys. The funds will cover up to 75% of each total budget or between $1.3m-$1.9m. Trier plans to shoot a film in 2012 (possibly family drama Louder Than Bombs) in the US with a US partner.
Contact: Motlys - (47) 2280 8370; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jannicke Systad Jacobsen
Trained at Prague’s FAMU and the London Film School, documentary-maker Jacobsen’s acclaimed first feature, Turn Me On, Goddammit, is a smart comedy about teenage girls looking for love. Tribeca Film Festival gave it the best screenplay award in April. It opened in Norway on August 19 via Norsk.
Contact: Motlys - email@example.com
Sewitsky’s debut film Happy, Happy, a delicately directed comedy drama about two couples and two sons in a snow-bound cabin over Christmas, won the grand jury prize at Sundance in 2010. Her next film, Totally True Love, a children’s film, screened at the Berlinale and was well-received on release in Norway this year. Now, Sewitsky has received a VIP grant from the NFI to develop new projects.
Contact: Spille Film - firstname.lastname@example.org