"I make films that intrigue me"
by Annika Pham
- Jens Lien chose Jørgen Storm Rosenberg as his producer because of the way he reacted on the script
Young producer Jørgen Storm Rosenberg, who graduated from the Norwegian Film School in Lillehammer in 2002, had only produced one feature film before – Norwegian actor Aksel Hennie’s directorial debut Uno [+see also:
film profile] in 2004 – that, however, became a huge box office success in Norway (300,000 admissions). He produced The Bothersome Man [+see also:
interview: Jens Lien
interview: Jørgen Storm Rosenberg
film profile] for Tordenfilm AS (which he had founded with Eric Vogel in 2003) and simultaneously financed Erik Richter Strand’s directorial debut Sons [+see also:
film profile]. Rosenberg has now left Torden Film to head the Drama department of one of Norway’s most established television companies, Rubicon. One of his first films for Rubicon is Nils Gaup’s epic drama The Kautokeino Rebellion.
Cineuropa: How did you get involved in The Bothersome Man?
Jørgen Storm Rosenberg: It was quite an unusual situation because it was Jens Lien who approached me with the script. It was written by Per Schreiner, who won a prestigious award for it in 2004, the Ibsen Prize. The Bothersome Man was based on Schreiner’s radio and theatre play and he and Lien had already worked together on two short films shown in competition at Cannes. So I read 10 pages of the script, which completely blew me away. It totally corresponded to the type of projects I like. Jens liked the way I saw the script and he basically chose me for his film!
How did you put the financing together?
Our film had a NOK 16.7m (€2m) budget, which is quite small for this type of project. Sixty percent of the financing came from the Norwegian Film Fund, but I had to use some money I had earned on my previous successful film, Uno to finance The Bothersome Man. Icelandic Filmcompany came in with 4% of the budget to cover the shooting in Iceland then other private investors got involved.
Putting together the last 20% of a budget is often hard in Norway: the domestic market with its 4.6m inhabitants is very small and many people only go to the movies to see US films. What is important is to make Norwegian films that can travel around the world.
What were the main challenges on such an unusal project?
Finding the right location was probably the biggest challenge, so we spent a lot of time in preparation. Then filming in Iceland was very hard. First of all, the weather conditions were a big problem because we had a sandstorm. Then we had language barriers between our Norwegian and Icelandic crews, who had to work together for five days. In Norway, we faced another problem with the train company, which didn’t want us to shoot the suicide scene. In the end, the film stayed within budget but it was very, very hard to make it for that little money.
In general, what type of films do you like to produce?
The story has to intrigue me first. If I like the idea behind a particular scene, I will go for it. I have to feel so mething for the story. I like to find projects and see in them a potential that no one else sees and follow them all the way through. I’m not a typical art film producer – I like Hollywood films and would like to produce bigger, English-language projects.