After a first half of the year that saw admissions for Norwegian films climb to their highest level in five years, the strong Autumn line up of 15 new local films introduced by the Norwegian Film Institute on Tuesday has all the right ingredients to bring in record admissions.
The first title to open with a roar this week is Norway’s first car chase movie Børning produced by veteran film mogul John M. Jacobsen and launched with a marketing splash by SF Norge. But other crowd pleasers should be Haugesund’s opening film Beatles, based on Lars Saabye Christensen’s eponymous novel, the crime comedy The Hunt for Berlusconi by Ole Endresen of King Curling fame, and not less than three children and family movies: Captain Sabertooth and the Treasure of Lama Rama, Operation Arctic and Casper & Emma’s Christmas, follow up to the 2013 hit Casper & Emma Best Friends.
Arthouse films with strong names attached include the three Toronto selected titles: 1001 Grams by Bent Hamer, Liv Ullmann’s English languageMiss Julie and the recently announced Out of Nature by Ole Giæver added to the Contemporary World Cinema programme. Also on the autumn collection are the dramedy Here is Harold, pre-sold by TrustNordisk to half a dozen world territories,Haram by crime TV series specialist Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen (Taxi, Varg Veum), follow up to his 2005 debut feature Izzat, and three documentaries including Unni Straume’sREMAKE.me.
For the full description of the Norwegian film autumn releases, check:www.nfi.no/english.
Q&A with Stine Helgeland, Executive Director, Promotion & International Relations at The Norwegian Film Institute.
Q: Would you say this Autumn line up is one of the strongest in years with recognisable names directors and actors, subject matters (Beatles, car chase movie) that the general audience can relate to and the all so important kids movies?
SH: Yes, I would say that the autumn line-up is one of the strongest in many years and the comments from the press and audience today after seeing the presentations confirms that impression. We have a good mix of projects and expect a strong national market share for Norwegian films by the end of the year. I am especially happy that we have so many strong films for the younger audience, and I suspect that in addition to them attending the typical children’s films, we will see a lot of interest from younger audiences in films like Børning and Beatles. In addition to the broad commercial films we also have three very interesting documentaries, and we see that there is a growing interest in good documentaries in theatres.
Q: The so called middle films suffer on screens today and some hardly reach 1,500 admissions. Do you think Norwegian producers working on those middle films should be incentivised to spend more time – and money – on the marketing as consumers are harder to drag out of their home?
SH: Yes, I think Norwegian producers should be incentivised to spend more time on market and audience research and have realistic expectations and plans when they develop projects. Success is not only a matter of spending more money on marketing, it is more a matter of defining an audience for your project, make a good plan to reach that audience through outreach, social networks, partners etc. and hard and time consuming work. The bigger block-busters have quite robust marketing budgets for Norwegian films and they are often much easier to market. For smaller arthouse films or genre films a theatrical release does not always have to cost that much money. The projects that fall through are mostly either struggling to define their audience or they are simply not good enough.
Q: How do you think 2014’s final admission count will be?
SH: I hope and expect 2014 to be record breaking year for Norwegian films in their home market and think we will end up somewhere around a 25% market share.