The Battles of Narvik to shoot for Nordisk Film
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- “The greatest battles in history on Norwegian soil” will become a €11 million+ TV series and most likely a feature film produced by Norwegian producer Aage Aaberge
This week (on 13 December), Norwegian producer and the head of Norway’s Nordisk Film Productions, Aage Aaberge, who is already working on Norwegian Hollywood-director Harald Zwart’s €7 million World War II action-drama 12th Man signed the contract to produce another WW2 epic, The Battles of Narvik, in what will become a €11 million+ TV series and most likely a feature film.
Norwegian producer Storyline NOR and the Narviksenteret WW2 museum have been working for years towards a film about the historical battles of 9 April-8 June following Nazi Germany’s occupation of Norway: first the naval battle between the British Royal Navy and Germany’s Kriegsmarine, then the two-month land campaign between Norwegian, French, British and Polish troops and German mountain troops and paratroopers.
“It is an issue of considerable international interest, and we know that for instance Germany, the UK, France and Poland, in addition to the Nordic countries, will be interested. The advantage of a television series is that we can tell several stories at once – for example the experiences of UK naval officer Patrick Dalzel-Job, have been mentioned. But we have many more interesting stories,” says Storyline NOR producer Tom Vidar Karlsen told Norway’s Fremover.
Aaberge admits that he was not aware of just how important the Narvik battles were until he read Norwegian author Bjørn Bjørnsen’s book Narvik 1940. “To be asked to produce a film about them is an adventure of a project for me – it is extensive and ambitious, and we could not have recreated the fighting in a way that would do it justice 10 years ago. But now we have the digital tools we need to do it,” he added.
”The Battles of Narvik were the greatest battles in history on Norwegian soil, and are a glorious part of the Norwegian Army's history. So we’re interested in presenting the military history part in a dignified manner – for example major general Carl Gustav Fleischer never got the place in history he deserved. This story is completely underestimated” said the army’s lieutenant colonel Stig Magne Hagen.
Aaberge expects it will take another year to complete the script, then two more to produce the TV series/movie. Norwegian regional film centre FilmCamp Måselv has contributed to the pre-production of the poject, and is also expected to benefit from the production. “Besides any direct involvement, a €11 million+ budget will usually have a 20% spin-off effect on the local community,” concluded Kjetil Jensberg, of FilmCamp Måselv.