Espen Sandberg’s Roald Amundsen gets €1.6 million in state backing
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Three films about the Norwegian Arctic explorer had applied for government funding, but Sandberg’s project has received the go-ahead
Three Norwegian feature-film projects about Norwegian Arctic explorer Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (1872-1928) – the first man to reach the South Pole in 1911 – had applied for government funding, but the Norwegian Film Institute has decided to back Norwegian director Espen Sandberg’s Roald Amundsen by €1.6 million.
One of the other two films in development was Norwegian director Roar Uthaug’s Amundsen, scripted by Mikael Olsen, to be produced by Christian Fredrik Martin and Asle Vatn, for Friland. Uthaug most recently made The Wave [+see also:
interview: Roar Uthaug
film profile], a local blockbuster that sold 832,649 tickets in Norway and was awarded an Amanda, Norway’s national film prize, for Best Norwegian Feature. Nordisk Film’s bid was The South Pole, written by Christopher Grøndahl, and set to be directed by André Øvredal for Norwegian producers John Einar Hagen and Aage Aaberge. After having directed the award-winning Norwegian box-office smash The Troll Hunter [+see also:
interview: Andre Øvredal
film profile] in 2010, he was signed up for the UK production of The Autopsy of Jane Doe, which has just been released.
Amundsen, who raced against British explorer Robert F Scott to be the first to the South Pole, was also the first to arrive at the North Pole, in 1926. In Ravn Lanesskog’s script, he is described as a man who would lie to and cheat his nearest and dearest to achieve what he wanted; he succeeded professionally but paid a heavy price as a human being. His support for more than 20 years was his brother Leon, who died without any recognition.
The €8.1 million production will be staged by Norwegian producers Espen Horn and Kristian Sinkerud, for Motion Blur Films. Sandberg’s previous films include local blockbusters Max Manus [+see also:
film profile] (2008) and Kon-Tiki [+see also:
film profile] (2012, both co-directed with Joachim Rønning); most recently, he has (with Rønning) directed the fifth film in Walt Disney’s US franchise Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).
Roald Amundsen was supported after an evaluation of its market potential, and so was Norwegian director John Andreas Andersen’s The Quake, which received €1.5 million towards its €5.6 million budget. Scripted by Harald Rosenløw Eeg and John Kåre Raake, who also delivered the screenplay for The Wave, among others, The Quake is based on a 1904 earthquake (measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale) that hit Oslo and the surrounding areas.
Andersen’s directorial debut will be produced by Martin Sundland and Are Heidenstrøm, of Fantefilm Fiction; he has previously worked as a cinematographer on such films as Tomas Alfredson’s The Snowman (2017), Hans Petter Moland’s A Conspiracy of Faith [+see also:
film profile] (2016) and Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters [+see also:
film profile] (2011), besides co-directing two Norwegian films.