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TELEVISION Norway / Lithuania

Norwegian series The Oil Fund about to wrap its shoot in Vilnius


- Created by Harald Zwart, the upcoming series intends to share what is happening behind the closed doors of the world’s largest state oil fund, while benefiting from Lithuanian tax incentives

Norwegian series The Oil Fund about to wrap its shoot in Vilnius
Harald Zwart on set with his lead actors Thomas Gullestad and Kathrine Thorborg Johansen

Norwegian director Harald Zwart (12th Man [+see also:
interview: Harald Zwart
film profile
) is working on his first TV project, a comedy-drama series entitled The Oil Fund (Oljefondet in Norwegian). After starting its shoot in Oslo, the series is currently close to wrapping principal photography in Vilnius before shifting production activities to Los Angeles. Earlier this month, the 10x25-minute series also received support from the Nordisk Film & TV Fond, totalling NOK 1.7 million (€180,000).

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The Oil Fund aims to offer viewers a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at the Norwegian State Oil Fund as well its employees’ ups and downs. The series follows the largest state fund in the world, whose assets are valued at over €1 trillion, a symbol of hardcore capitalism and the clash with its averagely paid, social-democratic public sector. The heroes are civil servants who must strike a balance between their ordinary, minimalistic “Scandinavian” lives back home and their luxurious multi-million-euro investments that they make on a day-to-day basis when they are working. On the approach to the subject, Espen Horn, producer at Motion Blur, explained: “The humour comes from the contrast between our social-democratic values that led to the creation of the Oil Fund for future generations, and the business-minded guys who run it and are trying to double and triple its value.”

Co-created and co-written by Zwart and his long-time collaborator Tom GuldbrandsenThe Oil Fund has recruited Norwegian actor-musician Thomas Gullestad – who also stars in 12th Man – and actress Kathrine Thorborg Johansen in the lead roles, while Petter Holmsen is the episodic director.

On the Norwegian-Lithuanian partnership, Lithuanian producer Violeta Daubarienė of Artbox, stated: “It’s always nice when foreign filmmakers visit Lithuania and consider it as a potential partner. Harald Zwart liked the fact that Vilnius is multifaceted, and it can create the same atmosphere as various cities around the world, such as Oslo, Stockholm, Paris, London, New York, Singapore or even Dubai.”

The Oil Fund is being produced for SBS Discovery Norway/TVNorge by Zwart’s production company, Zwart Arbeid, which is headed up by his wife, producer Veslemoøy Ruud Zwart, together with Espen Horn and Terje Strømstad (Motion Blur), in co-production with Violeta Daubarienė and Kęstutis Drazdauskas of Lithuanian company Artbox. Apart from the Nordisk Film & TV Fond, the series has also received support from the Norwegian Film Institute, and it is benefiting from the Lithuanian tax incentive scheme offered through the Lithuanian Film Centre. The local release is planned for 2019 on TVNorge, and Wild Bunch is handling the international sales.

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