Torfinn Iversen’s Berlinale short to become a feature debut, shooting next month
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- The Norwegian director’s family film Oskar’s America will star 11-year-old Odin Eikre as a boy who wants to find his mother in the US
Norwegian writer-director-cinematographer Torfinn Iversen had auditioned more than 200 boys before he decided that 11-year-old Odin Eikre from Stokmarknes should play the lead in his feature debut, Oskar’s America, which will start principal photography next month (23 May). “Odin has a strong presence – he can express a wide range of emotions that makes you become interested in his character. Selecting your star is always a great challenge, but sometimes you just know you are right,” Iversen explained.
With a BA in Visual Culture - Film and Television from Lillehammer University College, adding a year at the Hawaii Pacific University, and graduating from the Nordland College of Art and Film in 2009, Iversen started making shorts at a very young age – in 2011, he wrote and directed Levi’s Horse, which was selected for Generation 14plus at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2012 and later received the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award at Amsterdam’s Cinekid.
He has since developed the story of the intellectually disabled Levi and his little horse for the script of Oskar’s America, where the main character is ten-year-old Oskar, who has always dreamed of riding across the prairie with his mother. Just before the summer holidays, the mother tells him that she must go to America, but he cannot come – he must stay at home with his grumpy grandfather. It’s not fair – but he and Levi, who lives nearby with his near-sighted horse, come up with a wild plan to row across the Atlantic and catch up with the mother.
“As you can understand, this story has been with me for a long time, and I look forward to finally realising it. Oskar’s America takes children seriously, and I am especially happy that it will be staged in this wild and beautiful countryside of Northern Norway,” Iversen added. Produced by Mona Steffensen, of Tromsø’s Original Film – her first feature after ten years with the company – it will be filmed in the Andøy and Målselv provinces; the local release is set for 2017.