Director Kajsa Næss and Mikrofilm AS will receive 460.000 euros in funding from Council of Europe’s Eurimages.

Titina film Amundsen
Illustration: Siri Dokken

The animation feature Titina was the only Norwegian project to receive Eurimages’ co-production funding this year. Co-produced by Norway’s Mikrofilm and Belgium’s Vivi Film, it was awarded 460 000 euros from the European Cinema Support Fund.

Titina is the (essentially) true story of two honourable men and their companion dog Titina trying to conquer the North Pole by airship.

The film is being directed by Kajsa Næss, one of Norway’s most experienced animation directors. Producers are Mikrofilm’s Lise Fearnley and Tonje Skar Reiersen. Kristine Knudsen and Axel Helgeland are executive producers, and the Belgium production company Vivi Film is the international co-producer. Norwegian illustrator Siri Dokken, known from her work for the newspaper Dagsavisen, has designed the film’s characters, while Per Schreiner wrote the screenplay.

The story of Titina:

Polar superstar explorer Roald Amundsen wants to conquer the last undiscovered area on the map, but after several unsuccessful attempts, he is tired of skiing and gets a startling idea: he will fly to the North Pole by airship.

Despite being a Continental man with a love of comfort, Italian Air ship engineer Umberto Nobile agrees to design and pilot Amundsen’s airship Norge. On the adventure, Umberto brings along his beloved fox terrier Titina, even though he knows well the dog’s preference for a comfortable city life to the challenges of the wilderness.

But will the North Pole be large enough for the oversized egos of Roald Amundsen and Umberto Nobile? And how will Titina tackle the tough Artic conditions?

A lasting impression

“With the tiny fox terrier Titina as the narrator of Amundsen’s and Nobile’s amazing journey to the North Pole, we get an insight into great egos and their achievements and failures; an unusual perspective usually not told in biographical films,” says feature film consultant Ståle Stein Berg at NFI, earlier also Norway’s representative in Eurimages. “The film offers a smart, inventive screenplay by Per Schreiner and cinematic, multifaceted animation by film-Nestor Kajsa Næss. Produced by the Oscar-winning Mikrofilm will guarantee that this almost entirely true story about an amazing Arctic drama will make a lasting impression on audiences both in Norway and abroad.”

Adds Berg: “The film’s international appeal is now being confirmed by Eurimages’ financial support. Eurimages noted that the film not only is an adventure drama, but that it conveys European cultural history, organically as well as innovatively. The production also justifies references to films made by cinema greats like Jacques Tati, Buster Keaton and Hayao Miyazaki.”

Titina has received a total of 15 million Norwegian kroner in development- and production grants from NFI. The film’s total budget is 72 million kroner.

What is Eurimages?

Established in 1989, Council of Europe’s Eurimages supports independent film production by providing grants for feature films, animation and documentaries. It also aims to encourage co-production between companies in different countries. Currently, Eurimages consists of 38 members from European countries, in addition to Argentina and Canada. This year it supported eleven fiction films, one documentary and four animation projects.

Several other Norwegian films have received grants from Eurimages previously, Eskil Vogt’s The Innocents, and Maria Sødahl’s Hope among them. In this round, 16 of the 48 projects applying for grants, were rewarded.