Jens Lien’s sci-fi series Beforeigners gets funded by NFI
by Vassilis Economou
- Created by the Lilyhammer writing duo, Anne Bjørnstad and Eilif Skodvin, and produced by Rubicon TV, this is the first Norwegian Original Series for HBO Nordic
HBO Nordic is currently adding to its line-up of Original Series hailing from the studios of northernmost Europe. Sweden was the first with Lukas Moodysson’s Gösta (read news), which started shooting last month and is scheduled for release in autumn 2019, and now it is the turn of Norway to be given a slot for the science-fiction series Beforeigners, directed by Jens Lien (The Bothersome Man [+see also:
interview: Jens Lien
interview: Jørgen Storm Rosenberg
film profile]) and backed by the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI).
Costing a total of NOK 69 million (€7.2 million), this series consisting of 8 x 45-minute episodes and produced by Rubicon TV received NOK 9.5 million (€1 million) for development and production from the NFI in its latest round of funding. Earlier this year, in February, Beforeigners (Fremvandrerne in Norwegian) also received a smaller incentive grant of over NOK 4 million (€400,000) for shooting the film in Norway.
It bodes well for Beforeigners that Lien, one of the best-known Norwegian filmmakers, has already tested the waters of TV drama with the Swedish, Morrissey-inspired series Viva Hate and a few episodes of Norwegian political thriller, Occupied. Beforeigners’ co-creators are Anne Bjørnstad and Eilif Skodvin, widely known as the writing duo behind the Netflix hit - and one of the platform’s first international original series - Lilyhammer, starring Steve van Zandt in the lead role. As with Lilyhammer, Beforeigners is produced by Rubicon TV with Jan-Erik Gammleng (Into the White [+see also:
film profile], Dead Snow [+see also:
film profile]) heading up the process.
The film follows the story of two individuals who make an unexplained appearance in Oslo, under peculiar circumstances. As it turns out, they are time-travellers from the past who are seeking refuge in modern-day society, and they won’t be the only ones… The series then leaps forward in time seven years, when many more of these “new-old refugees” have arrived, transforming the local community beyond all recognition. Everything is seen through a prism of absurdity, including the social and existential issues that affect societies today.
As NFI film and drama commissioner, Silje Riise Næss, explains: “Beforeigners is an incredibly original science-fiction series which is at once smart and entertaining, thought-provoking and satirical.”
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