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Bjarne Bjørndalen • Producer

Cylinder Productions' challenge

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- The head of the Norwegian company production talks about Erik Gustavson's new film, Playing Ibsen, an international co-production that'll be made in Italy

Bjarne Bjørndalen • Producer

Bjarne Bjørndalen, the head of Cylinder Productions, is currently finalising the pre-production of Norwegian director, Erik Gustavson’s new film originally known as The Norwegian and now known as Playing Ibsen.

It would appear that Playing Ibsen has finally been green-lighted as an international co-production...
“We began work on Playing Ibsen five years ago. What began as a project for the domestic market soon became an international project in the English language and set in Italy during the War of Independence in 1860. Making a film outside of your country of origin means having to rely on the financial resources you find in that location and working together with local companies. Our principle partner on this project is Italian: Prometeo, although the financial side of the project is a joint venture with the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark. If everything goes to plan we should be ready in two years’ time and before 2006, the centenary of Ibsen’s death.”

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What kind of support did you receive from the Nordic Film Fund?
“The film production situation in Norway is not the rosiest even though things are definitely improving. The strong>Norsk Film Fund was recently reorganised and the novelty lies in a redistribution of funding that means less money for more films and no support at all for bigger projects like Playing Ibsen. Compared to the rest of Scandinavia, the Norwegian system is the weakest and gives us minimal support. You can go about requesting funds in two ways: one is commercial and the disadvantage is that you have to guarantee the audience that your film will attract. This allows you to access up to 50 per cent of the production costs with an upper limit of DKR10m (Euros1.347m). But this is always risky and you need extremely accurate book-keeping. The second way is simpler, because the film is analysed from an artistic point of view but the funds you are assigned are much smaller.”

What are your next projects?
“When you are looking at a five-year period of preparation for a film you have to have other projects in the pipeline. At present, Cylinder is producing commercials, documentaries and smaller productions as well as other feature films. Continuity is important in this profession.”

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