Norsk filminstitutt

NFI grants three Norwegian production companies a total of  NOK 6.6 million to co-produce with a foreign delegate producer.

Erik Poppe Foto Paradox-ny
Erik Poppe. Photo: Paradox Film 

Erik Poppe will direct the Swedish feature film The Emigrants, produced by SF Studios and Paradox, while Norwegian Ape&Bjørn and Filmkameratene will co-produce with Sweden and Denmark.

A total of eight applicants participated in this round.

Very strong projects

“We had several excellent applicants; as always, many more than we could support,” says Lars Løge, NFI Head of Department Development & Production.

“That said, three very strong feature films receive Norwegian production grants in this round, from a historical costume drama to a highly socially relevant contemporary story. Hopefully, all three films will appeal to large audiences both at home and abroad, and show the international film industry the high level of Norwegian collaboration ability.”

Løge adds: “Co-production is important both for generating international, preferably long-term cooperation and for preparing Norwegian producers for the international market, as well as promoting our expertise internationally. Hopefully, the funding will also stimulate greater earnings for our production companies and contribute to a high international quality in the Norwegian film production.”

These films receive support:

The Emigrants

Paradox Rettigheter AS receives NOK 3,500,000 in grants to make The Emigrants (Utvandrarna), its co-production with Swedish SF Studios. The film will be directed by Erik Poppe, and based on Vilhelm Moberg’s popular Swedish novel of the same name.

The previous film adaptation was directed by Jan Troell in 1971, an international hit that won five Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress (Liv Ullmann).

The Emigrants is the story of the Nilsson family who, in the 19th century, left their lives in Sweden behind to embark on the risky journey across the Atlantic ocean to America in the hope of a better life. Director Erik Poppe is developing the new adaptation in collaboration with screenwriters Siv Rajendram Eliassen and Anna Bache-Wiig.

About the director and the screenwriters

Erik Poppe is one of Norway’s most experienced and productive directors, with successes such as Troubled Water (2008), A Thousand Times Goodnight (2013), King’s Choice (2016) og Utøya – July 22 (2018) to his credit.

With The Emigrants, the author duo Siv Rajendram Eliassen and Anna Bache-Wiig consolidate their position as socially engaged storytellers. Together, they received great acclaim for their work in two seasons of the TV-series Frikjent as well as for Erik Poppe’s critically acclaimed Utøya July 22. Next, their work will be featured in the drama series Witch Hunt.

Paradox, with producers Stein B. Kvae and Finn Gjerdrum, is one of Norway’s biggest and most experienced production companies, and have worked with Poppe for many years. They have produced and co-produced several international films, including Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark and most recently the American remake of Kraftidioten, Cold Pursuit, with Liam Neeson in the lead.

The film will be produced by Sweden’s SF Studios and its producer Fredrik Wikström Nicastro, best known for the film series Snabba Cash and the international feature Borg vs McEnroe. Originally, the project was developed with the Norwegian production company Fantefilm and producer Martin Sundland, with screenwriter Petter Skavlan (Kon -Tiki and The 12th Man) attached.

Queen Margrethe

Filmkameratene AS receives NOK 1,1122,698 in grants to help produce Margrete I, the company’s co-production with Danish SF Studios. Queen Margrethe is a grand epic drama about the first Nordic Queen, the fight for the Nordic throne, and our common Nordic history. The film is being directed by Charlotte Sieling.

The year is 1402. At the head of Europe’s greatest empire sits a woman. Queen Margrethe has united the three Nordic kingdoms in one union, which she governs independently through her adoptive son Erik. The Union is surrounded by enemies, and Margrethe plans a marriage alliance between Erik and an English princess to secure the Union’s status as a superpower. But a conspiracy is brewing, which may place the Queen in an impossible dilemma that might cost her life’s work: the Kalmar Union.

About the director and the screenwriter

Director Charlotte Sieling became known through her work on the Danish drama series Mordkommisjonen (2000-2002) and Better Times (Krøniken) (2004-2007). After working on TV series like The Killing (Forbrytelsen), The Bridge (Broen) and Borgen, she headed for the US, where she directed episodes of Graceland (2013), The Americans (2014) and Homeland (2014-2018). Back in Denmark, she directed the feature film Mesteren (2017) with, among others, Norwegian actor Jakob Oftebro, a production that also received grants from the NFI.

Jesper Fink was a researcher on The Bridge, then worked as screenwriter, consultant and episode writer on several Danish drama series between 2015 and 2019. Michael Noer’s Before the Frost (2018) was his first feature film screenplay. The production had its world premiere in Toronto in September 2018 and opened in Denmark and Sweden in January 2019.

Filmkameratene AS is among Norway’s most experienced production companies, with a large number of films and TV series to its credit. Among the company’s many productions: the Oscar-nominated feature film Pathfinder (1987), the Emmy-nominated children series Elias: The Little Rescue Boat (2005-2008), the features The Troll Hunter (2010) and Operation Arctic (2014), the mini-series The Saboteurs (Kampen om tungtvannet) (2015) and the Børning films (2014, 2016 and 2020 ). 

The Opponent

Ape & Bjørn AS receives NOK 2,000,000 in grants to make The Opponent, its co-production with the Swedish production company, Tangy. The film tells the story of an Olympic wrestler, a family man who, after an incident in Iran, has fled with his family to Sweden, where he takes up the wrestling again. Then his past catches up with him.

The film is being directed by Milad Alami; whose previous film was the acclaimed The Charmer (2017).

About director, screenwriter and producer

Milad Alami graduated from the Danish Film School in 2011. After making several short films, all of them receiving awards, as well as two miniseries for television, he debuted with the feature Sjarmøren (The Charmer) in 2017. The film won awards at film festivals in San Sebastian, Chicago, Warsaw and Lübeck. He is about to complete the drama series Når støvet har lagt seg (When the Dust Settles) for DR, for which he directed two episodes and is the conceptual director.

The film’s Norwegian co-production company is Ape & Bjørn. Producer Ruben Thorkildsen has previously made such films as Mer eller mindre mann, Vann over ild (Lake over Fire), and the youth-orientated Psychobitch. The latter was a great success in Norway, winning two Amanda awards. Ape & Bjørn has also produced several award-winning TV series, short films and international co-productions. This is the company’s first collaboration with Sweden’s Tangy AB and producer Annika Rogell.

The Opponent. Illustration: Tangy