The Nordisk Film & TV Fond announces its June funding slate
by Vassilis Economou
- By offering its biggest grant in its history for a single project, the Nordic fund is supporting two ambitious TV series, the upcoming project by Ninja Thyberg and two documentaries
The Nordisk Film & TV Fond has recently announced its May funding slate (read the news) and today it has released the names of the June recipients of its financial support. The ambitious Norwegian TV series Atlantic Crossing becomes the project to receive the highest grant ever from the Oslo-based fund, while members of the team behind the Icelandic hit Prisoners are in the process of preparing The Valhalla Murders, a new crime series. Finally, Ninja Thyberg’s debut feature Jessica, will be supported, as well as two feature-length documentaries. The budget totals 9.8 million Norwegian kroner (€1,000,000).
The ambitious WW2 miniseries Atlantic Crossing has made history in production grant records. after receiving 5 million Norwegian kroner (€527,000), the highest ever grant, from Nordisk Film & TV Fond. Consisting of eight one-hour-long episodes, the drama is based on the true story of Norwegian Crown Princess Märtha, who escaped to the USA after the Nazi occupation of her country in 1940. There she became close to President Franklin D Roosevelt, whom she tried to persuade to join the war.
Acting as the series’ showrunner and director is Alexander Eik, which has been co-written by Linda May Kallestein. The series was produced by Silje Hopland Eik for Norway’s Cinenord Drama commissioned by the NRK. All Nordic pubcasters (SVT, DR, Yle and RÚV) are co-financers. Co-producers include Sirena Film (Czech Republic) and Beta Film (Germany), which is also handling worldwide distribution. Earlier this year, the series received a total grant of 27,275,000 Norwegian kroner (€2.8 million) from the Norwegian Film Institute’s filming incentives scheme (read the news). The full cast and crew will be announced shortly, with shooting due to start in November between Prague, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the US, with plans to wrap next June. The premiere on NRK is set for September 2020.
The other series that was supported is the Icelandic crime drama The Valhalla Murders. Consisting of eight 50-minute episodes, the series follows Arnar, an Icelandic-born police profiler who lives in Denmark. He must return to his country to investigate the first serial killer case in Reykjavik. Upon his arrival, he has to team up with a local senior inspector, Kata, who wants to be the lead detective in the case. However, everything is somewhat perplexing, as the murders don’t seem to be connected and are related to events that date back to the 1980s.
In the lead roles are Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir and Björn Thors – both well-known for the hit TV series Prisoners. The Valhalla Murders was created and will be directed by Þórður Pálsson and the script is by Margrét Örnólfsdóttir (also a writer for Prisoners) and crime fiction author and poet Óttar M. Norðfjörð. The series has received 2.5 million Norwegian kroner (€263,000) and was produced by Kristinn Thordarson and Leifur B. Dagfinnsson of Truenorth (Iceland) for RÚV, with Davíd Óskar Ólafsson (also producer of Prisoners) of Mystery Productions. International sales are being handled by DR Sales and filming will start in October, with a release date scheduled for autumn 2019.
The slate’s only feature film is Jessica, Ninja Thyberg’s debut. The Swedish director is well-known for her award-winning short films (Pleasure, Hot Chicks). The film follows 20-year-old Jessica, whose dream is to enter the adult film industry. To pursue her dreams, she leaves Sweden behind and touches down in LA, aiming to become the next big porn star. There she will find out that things are less than ideal, and will have to make compromises by choosing to support her female colleagues or obey men’s rules. The film received 1.3 million Norwegian kroner (€137,000) and was produced by Plattform Produktion (Sweden) with Lemming Film (Netherlands), and Logical Pictures (France), in association with Film i Väst. It has also received support from the Swedish Film Institute and the Netherlands Film Production Incentive fund (read the news). French outlet Versatile (read the news) is handling international sales.
Finally, the two documentaries that have received 500,000 Norwegian kroner (€53,000) each from the fund are: Aalto by Virpi Suutari, produced by Euphoria Film (Finland); and War of Art by Tommy Gulliksen, produced by Norsk Fjernsyn (Norway).
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