‘Norwegians love to make fun of themselves,’ says film industry official / Entertainment / The Foreigner

‘Norwegians love to make fun of themselves,’ says film industry official. Norway has experienced an up to par film year in 2013. Several moviemakers from the country have earned international praise for their contribution to the film industry. These successes have not been limited to feature films but also to series. One is Lilyhammer, which premiered its second season in October this year. The Foreigner talked to Stine Helgeland, the Norwegian Film Institute’s (NFI) Executive Director for Promotion and International Relations. She talked about this year in film, and the characteristics of recent films that have seemed to appeal to a wider audience.  

norwayfilms, norwegiancinema



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‘Norwegians love to make fun of themselves,’ says film industry official

Published on Friday, 15th November, 2013 at 13:42 under the entertainment category, by Linn Schjerven.
Last Updated on 15th November 2013 at 15:41.

Norway has experienced an up to par film year in 2013. Several moviemakers from the country have earned international praise for their contribution to the film industry.

Frank Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt)
Frank Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt)
Photo: Rubicon/NRK


These successes have not been limited to feature films but also to series. One is Lilyhammer, which premiered its second season in October this year.

The Foreigner talked to Stine Helgeland, the Norwegian Film Institute’s (NFI) Executive Director for Promotion and International Relations. She talked about this year in film, and the characteristics of recent films that have seemed to appeal to a wider audience.  

Has a more international focus been a significant shift for the Norwegian film industry?

“Big successes like Headhunters, The Trollhunter, Kon-Tiki and Oslo 31st of August have both reached a big international audience and received acclaim in the form of nominations for international prizes like the Oscar, BAFTA and César,” she said.

According to her, it is happening “mainly because their ambitions have grown and they need to finance their films also with money outside Norway.”

“It has also been an official government policy to encourage producers to go outside Norway for money and collaboration – in order to become more professional and make better films that can travel abroad from Norway.”

This year’s range of genres has been good. Ms Helgeland explains some of the big films that have come out in 2013 have some things in common. These seem to attract more of an international audience.

“It’s a "Nordic" take on well-known genres and an edgy twist to crime, dramas and adventure films.”

How does the distribution process nowadays differ from how Norwegian films were distributed before?

“In many ways, it’s quite unchanged. But at the same time new windows are opening up. It’s the theatrical distribution of the films that gets the most attention, as it is the first and most important window to position the film for further revenues from DVD, VOD, TV etc.”

What are some of the support systems that have help to develop and promote recent films? 

“The DVD market is drastically going down, though, so it takes time for new revenue streams from new platforms to pick up. The digitalization of the theatres has also made the market more divided, as the biggest films get even more of the cake, the good art-house films are still going well, but the mid-sized films are losing,” she explained. 

The NFI’s 2013 budget is NOK 550 million (approx. EUR 68.7 million), of which NOK 446 million (approx. EUR 55.8 million) is earmarked for audiovisual development, production and distribution.

The Institute also offers personal grants (external link), training, and talent development for the film industry.

Moreover, it represents and promotes Norwegian feature films, shorts, documentaries, games and TV-series at festivals and film cultural events, both nationally and abroad, and provides statistics and facts about Norwegian film and cinema.

How can these movies shape Norway's image in the world?

“Well, Norway's image is not really my concern, but certainly I want our films and filmmakers to have a good reputation internationally,” said Ms. Helgeland.

So what do you think are the main significances of such a good year in film for Norway? 

“That it proves that we have earned the trust and faith of our audience, which is important considering we use their tax money to produce stories that represent their life and reality and should give them meaning. This is also important for the future public funding of our film production.”

Shifting focus to influences from foreign origins, it is directors Iram Haq and Hisham Zama and documentarist Deeyah Khan that have gained considerable success and attention this year.

How is Norway's ethnic diversity helping to shape the country's film industry? 

“It’s very interesting to see how the second-generation immigrants have entered the film scene in Norway. Hisham Zaman's film Before Snowfall is the top winning film this year at international film festivals. He, Iram Haq, and Deeyah Kahn tell stories that give film a meaning to a lot of people in Norway and also abroad,” Ms Helgeland declared.

Several sequels are being released, such as Kill Buljo 2 and Dead Snow 2. What can people anticipate from both comedies? 

“Fun, action, original twists to worn out genres, and good production value.”

Both Kill Buljo 2 and season 2 of Lilyhammer poke fun at several aspects of the Norwegian life. Why does that hit so well here in Norway, especially in the Lilyhammer’s case? 

“Norwegians actually love to make fun of themselves, at least when they end up looking good at the same time. Ok, these films poke fun, but at the same time they show off our values and our beautiful landscapes in a positive way.”

These sorts of comedies could definitely also find an audience outside Norway too, she thinks. 

“Absolutely. [NRK’s programme] Lilyhammer is a success for Netflix and they have proved that they want to keep on investing in the series. Dead Snow is sold to many territories for a significant amount of money, and I am sure Kill Buljo will also strike a chord with specialized audiences everywhere.” 

Which films would you recommend people keep an extra eye out for? 

“It’s difficult to pick a few when there is so many” remarked Ms Helgeland, “but I have to mention Hans Petter Moland's In Order of Disappearance, with Stellan Skarsgaard in the lead."

“[There is also] Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder, based on a children's book by acclaimed author Jo Nesbø, 1001 Grams by Bent Hamer, Miss Julie by Liv Ullmann and Beatles, based on the book by Lars Saabye Christensen,” she concluded.




Published on Friday, 15th November, 2013 at 13:42 under the entertainment category, by Linn Schjerven.
Last updated on 15th November 2013 at 15:41.

This post has the following tags: norwayfilms, norwegiancinema.





  
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