This is an overview (in alphabetic order) of notable Norwegian Fil Directors who in one way or another have crossed borders. Norwegian filmmakers have only won two Oscars in the history of the Academy Awards, one for the documentary Kon-Tiki and another for best animated short film, The Danish Poet. The selection and descriptions here are a humble attempt by the Daily Scandinavian team to list important cross-boarding Norwegian film directors. Enjoy!
The Quake: In 1904 an earthquake of magnitude 5.4 on the Richter scale shook Oslo, with an epicenter in the “Oslo Graben” which runs under the Norwegian capital. There are now signs that indicate that we can expect a major future earthquake in Oslo.
Knut Andersen (9 May 1931 – 17 June 2019)
Knut Andersen was a director and writer, known for Nydelige nelliker (1964), Skjær i sjøen (1965), Scorched Earth (1969), Ballad of the Masterthief Ole Hoiland (1970), Marikens bryllup (1972), Under a Stone Sky (1974), Den sommeren jeg fylte 15 (1975) and Karjolsteinen (1977).
Scorched Earth was entered into the 6th Moscow International Film Festival, where it won a diploma.
Arild Andresen (Born 1967)
Kompani Orheim directed by Andresen is a strong, human tale about a boy growing up with an alcoholic father, but also an energetic story about teenage lust, pain and passion – about liberation and redemption.
Since 1992 Asphaug has primarily worked in Sweden, in several cases with SVT, directing episodes of Rederiet and the first season of Skärgårdsdoktorn. Since 2000, Asphaug has worked on several projects from author Håkan Nesser, the first films of the Van Veeteren series (adaptations of The Mind’s Eye, The Return and Woman with Birthmark) and the 1962 period film Kim Novak badade aldrig i Genesarets sjö of 2005. In 2007 he directed the first two films of the Irene Huss series by Helene Tursten.
In 2002, Norwegian film-maker Even Benestad’s documentary Alt om min far/All About My Father (2002), featuring Benestad together with his transvestite father, premiered at several film festivals. The film soon won several awards, and was nominated for many more. It can be classified as a foundational piece within a Scandinavian context: it blazed the way for other more genuine, more serious, representations of transgender issues on film.
Anja Breien (born 12 July, 1940)
Anja Breien is the director of Hustruer (“Wives”). She and Vibeke Løkkeberg (see under L) were the two most prominent female directors in Norway in the 70s and early 80s.
They were both influenced by the auteur concept; Breien through her use of a modernist artistic style and Løkkeberg through her pursuit of the role as a creative artist. At the same time, they were both marked by the typical 70s’ idea that art was supposed to be both political and socio-critical.
Some international critics asked whether Anja Breien was Scandinavia’s “new Bergman”; others referred to Norway as “the land of female directors”. Breien’s body of work in fiction and documentary explores social and political issues, notably women’s rights within the context of Norwegian society.
Rasmus Breistein (16 November, 1890 in Bergen – 16 October, 1976 in Hollywood, USA).
Rasmus Breistrein is director of Brudeferden i Hardanger which marked the annals of Norwegian cinema history in more ways than one. Most importantly Breistein played a huge part in the period 1920-1930, that later was known as “the national breakthrough for Norwegian films.”
He was a farmer’s son and learned to play fiddle in his youth, playing for dances at weddings in Western Norway. Later in life, in addition to directing films, he also performed on the Hardanger fiddle.
When the Norwegian Theater opened in 1913, he started acting at the theater. He became engaged with the new medium of film after seeing Peter Lykke-Seest’s productions, and he decided to produce films in a completely different way. His first film was Fante-Anne (Gypsy Anne, 1920). In an interview he stated that “the film was the beginning of something, a Norwegian production with a more national character.” This marked the beginning of the Norwegian heyday of the silent film age.
Breistein is considered the most important Norwegian filmmaker of the silent film era. During the period known as the “national breakthrough” in Norwegian film (1920–1930), he directed five feature films: Fante-Anne (Gypsy Anne, 1920), Felix (1921), Jomfru Trofast (Miss Faithful, 1921), Brudeferden i Hardanger (The Bridal Procession in Hardanger, 1926), and Kristine Valdresdatter (1930). With these films, he challenged Swedish films’ former position of power and pleased both critics and audiences.
After audio films were invented, Breistein solidified his reputation as a director of the popular films Ungen (The Child, 1938) and Trysil-Knut (Knut from Trysil, 1942). The documentary films Jorden rundt på to timer (Around the World in Two Hours, 1949) and Tirich Mir til topps (To the Top of Tirich Mir, 1952) are classics in the history of Norwegian documentary film.
He died in Hollywood, and his urn was brought to Norway.
Ivo Caprino (Born February 17, 1920)
Caprino was a director and writer, known for Ugler i mosen (1959), The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (1975) and The Steadfast Tin Soldier (1955). He was married to Liv Bredal. He died on February 8, 2001 in Snarøya, Oslo.
He is, however, best known for his puppet films. His most famous film is Flåklypa Grand Prix (“Pinchcliffe Grand Prix”), made in 1975.
Edith Carlmar (15 November, 1911 – 17 May, 2003)
Carlmar was an actress and director, known for Døden er et kjærtegn (1949), Bedre enn sitt rykte (1955) and Fools in the Mountains (1957). She died on May 17, 2003 in Oslo.
Edith Carlmar (born Edith Mary Johanne Mathiesen) (15 November 1911 – 17 May 2003. Her 1949 film, Døden er et kjærtegn (Death is a Caress), is considered to be Norway’s first film noir. The last film she directed, Ung Flukt, introduced Liv Ullmann, Norway’s most famous actor internationally, to the silver screen.
Carlmar came from a poor family in the working class districts of East Oslo. However, she did manage to take dancing classes and made her debut on stage at the age of 15. From 1936 she worked as an actress in various theatres. Here she met the film director Tancred Ibsen who introduced her to the world of cinema.
In 1949 she and her husband started Carlmar Film A/S, and began writing scripts, directing and producing films. They made ten feature films over a ten-year period. After a decade of film-making Carlmar retired as a director. In the last part of her life, she accepted only minor acting roles in plays and movies. Carlmar’s films often tackled such social issues as abortion, drug addiction, mental illness and out of wedlock births. Her films often pushed the boundaries of censorship at that time.
Eva Dahr (30 October 1958 – 12 May 2019)
Eva Frederikke Dahr is a director and writer, known for Trio – Jakten på Olavsskrinet (2017).
Dahr was one of Norway’s most prolific directors of short films. She studied at the Volda University College and the Bela Balaz studio in Budapest, Hungary.
Dahr was the conceptual director of the TV drama Himmelblå. Dahr has directed the film drama Brennende blomster (1985), where she edited together with Eva Isaksen the drama comedy Mars & Venus (2007) and the drama Appelsinpiken (2009). Together with her sister, the actress Juni Dahr, she made two short films, Dolce Vita (1989), where Juni Dahr plays a cobbler, and Troll (1991). In 2008, Dahr directed her first TV series, NRK’s drama series Himmelblå. She also made many children’s films.
Dahr won many Norwegian and international prizes, including an Amandastatuett and Gullstolen at the Kortfilmfestivalen i Grimstad for the short film En mann (1997).
Dahr was short film consultant for the Norwegian Film Institute and Norwegian Film Fund from 1998 to 2002.
She died at age 60 following long-term illness.
Trygve Allister Diesen (Born 11 July 1967)
Trygve Allister Trig Diesen is a TV and film director, producer, and screenwriter. He has mostly worked in Scandinavia and the US.
Trygve Allister Diesen graduated from USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles. He started his professional career as a journalist in Kristiansand. Diesen has a comprehensive background in screenwriting and directing for film and TV, in Europe and the USA. He has also translated plays for theaters. In 2010, he was the first to be awarded a practice-based doctorate in directing from the Norwegian Film School, with the project “Being the Director – Maintaining your Vision While Swimming with Sharks”, where he explored the nature of keeping a personal, artistic vision in a collective and commercial art form.
Diesen’s second feature film, Hold My Heart, was Norway’s official submission for the 2003 Academy Awards, and was screened at festivals globally. Diesen is also the creator of the Scandinavian thriller miniseries Torpedo. His first American film Red, starring Brian Cox and Tom Sizemore, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008.
Diesen is the director and pilot (conceptual) director on the Norwegian TV series Det tredje øyet/The Third Eye (2014). He directed two of the episodes of the ABC Networks US series The Assets (2014).
In 1974 he produced the musical Bør Børson Jr. Düring also chaired the trade union Norsk Filmforbund.
Alexander Eik (Born 8 January, 1972)
Alexander Eik is an award winning Norwegian film and TV series director, TV series creator and screenwriter. Eik is also the Head of Development and Partner in Cinenord Drama, a leading film production company in Norway and Scandinavia.
Educated in fine arts, Alexander Eik started making short films…
Based on true events and starring Sofia Helin and Kyle MacLachlan, Atlantic Crossing is the untold story of the Norwegian Crown Princess becoming an influential figure in world politics during World War II.
1940. Norway is occupied by Nazi Germany. Crown Princess Märtha and her children find shelter as political refugees in the White House. Her presence in Washington soon influences President Roosevelt’s views on the tragic events unfolding in Europe and eventually changes the dynamics of U.S. politics significantly. What starts as a friendship turns into affection and turmoil when Märtha speaks out publicly against the Nazi tyranny. In an attempt to fight for her country, she puts her marriage at risk and convinces the President to support Norway – a first step in the struggle that will lead to the U.S. joining the War. However, Märtha’s actions cause her to make many enemies, some of them even closer than she thinks: within the walls of the White House.
However, after airing some episodes, headlines became merciless: ‘Atlantic Crossing’ puts NRK’s credibility in play, claimed one in newspaper Aftenposten. False story-telling disguised as drama read another, while a commentary written by history professor Tom Kristiansen and royal biographer Tore Rem was headlined: NRK gives viewers a fundamentally untrue story.
It’s a widely held belief by many that comedy doesn’t travel well. Comedies from Hollywood often face more uncertain futures when it comes to international takings than other genres, particularly action films, and non-English speaking comedies seem to struggle to find an audience outside of their native countries. There are of course exceptions and I for one frequently enjoy comedies that just happen to have a line of subtitles running along the bottom of the screen, but it does seem like a rarity for comedies not made in English to achieve success in the UK or America.
Norway appears to have bucked this trend somewhat in the past years, with Troll Hunter and, to a lesser degree, Norwegian Ninja getting favorable reviews outside of their country of origin, but this could well have more to do with aspects aside from the films’ comedic merits. Clearly looking for crossover potential and to appeal to a broad market comes King Curling, a Norwegian comedy that focuses on the sport of curling. Speaking in terms of ‘potential’ and ‘markets’ seems entirely appropriate for a film that appears so consciously targeted at a broad audience, with all the lowest common dominator dumbing down that this could possibly entail.
Drawing on the dumbest that Hollywood comedies have to offer King Curling adds a thick layer of ‘quirk’ that is clearly also derived from a number of American films. Whilst the premise, a niche sport with a group of misfits attempting to win a big prize to save their mentor, and a lot of the comedic execution is entirely derivative of Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Kevin James and so on, there is a concerted effort to draw on the likes of The Coen Brothers (The Big Lebowski) and Wes Anderson (notably The Life Aquatic, but King Curling is dripping in attempts at Anderson’s style).
Åsleik Engmark (27 December, 1965 – 12 February, 2017)
Åsleik Engmark was an actor and director, known for Brødrene Dal og mysteriet med Karl XIIs gamasjer (2005) Knerten (2009) and Twigson Ties the Knot (2010).
He became known during the 1990s through Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), especially on the weekly satire Egentlig, an equivalent to Saturday Night Live. He was also well known for his many dubbing film voices, such as Timon in the Norwegian version of The Lion King.
In 2009 Engmark made his debut as a film director, with the children’s movie Knerten. The movie became a box office hit and was seen by more than 375,000 viewers in Norway. Among many festivals, it participated in the official Generation K Plus section of the Berlinale 2010. Knerten was awarded Best Children’s movie, Best Art Design and Best Visual Effects at the Norwegian Film Awards 2010 Amandaprisen.
In 2010, he won the Norwegian version of Strictly Come Dancing, in Norwegian called Skal vi danse.
Engmark directed, performed and wrote in many different artistic directions. He performed comedy in both Norwegian and English, and won the Norwegian Stå Opp-Prisen (Stand Up Award) in 2001.
Mathias Nordli Eriksen
The directing duo Mathias Eriksen & Matias Rygh is currently writing their first feature and recently made a strong mini-docu on the air pollution crisis in New Delhi.
Oddvar Einarson (born 7 February, 1949)
Oddvar Einarson made his debut with the film Time i nyttelære in 1967 and has since directed a number of films, some of the best known being: Kampen om Mardøla (1972), Prognose Innerdalen (1981), X (1986), Karachi (1989) and Havet stiger (1990).
In 1987 he won the Norwegian movie award Amanda for best Norwegian film: X.
Stefan Faldbakken (Born January 13, 1977)
Faldbakken is son of famous Norwegian writer Knut Faldbakken. He grew up on Ridabu, some kilometers away from Hamar. He’s currently working in MotionBlur, an advertising agency started by director Harald Zwart, where he’s making commercials.
He received his Bachelor of Arts in History of Philosophy and Media Science from the University of Oslo in 1995. Faldbakken graduated from Dramatiska Institutet College of Film and Television in Stockholm in 1999. having completed the three-year producer program. He has worked as production manager, director`s assistant, and producer on several short and feature films. Most notable is his graduation film from DI – “Major and Minor Miracles“, which was nominated for Oscar in the best live action short film category in 2000, and which won awards for best script, best film, and a young talent award at the International Film School Festival in Munich summer 1999.
Miracles, in Sweden? A village curate with paltry attendance at his services gets a call one Sunday in December to meet an emissary from the Vatican who has come to test a child for special powers (he’s the young son of a farming couple in the curate’s parish; he’s come to the Vatican’s attention via a roundabout chain of odd events). The curate takes the visitor to the farm, convinced that nothing is out of the ordinary. Then, event by event, the curate comes to think otherwise and must figure out a way to save the child from a life in Rome. Are miracles afoot? The very fact the curate’s car starts in mid-winter may be a sign of things to come.
Fastvold is a New York and Oslo-based writer-director. In early 2012 Mona received a prestigious development grant from the Norwegian Film Fund followed by production support for her directorial feature debut, “The Sleepwalker,” which went on to premiere at Sundance in the U.S. competition.
“The World to Come” screened at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival.
Somewhere along the mid-19th century American East Coast frontier, two neighboring couples battle hardship and isolation, witnessed by a splendid yet testing landscape, challenging them both physically and psychologically.
Frode Fimland holds adegree in media from Volda University College (1986). He has worked with video and TV production in Bergen since 1986, mainly as a photographer and producer, but later with directing and filmmaking as well.
NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and TV 2 have been primary clients.
Most recent productions are the “Siblings are forever” films. The first one a slow and beautiful documentary, winner of Best Feature at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Montana, USA. It is the most watched documentary of all time on TV 2 in Norway.
The sequel “The Grand Journey” was released in cinemas the fall of 2015, and shown on Norwegian TV 2 in February 2016.
Arild Fröhlich (Born September 22, 1972)
Arild Fröhlich is a director and writer, known for Folk flest bor i Kina (2002), Pitbullterje (2005) and
Fatso (2008) and “Doctor Proktor: Bubble in the bathtub” (2014).
Arild started his career in NRK (The Norwegian Broadcaster). Recently graduated from Volda University College with a degree in TV- and documentary studies, it was a short way to NRK. In NRK he got the possibility to express himself creatively, and he took part in some of NRKs most successful humor-series ever.
This made the foundation for his humorous and playful narrative style. In 2005 he had his feature film debut with “Pitbullterje”. It won the prize for Best Children- and Youth Film during the Amanda Award (The Norwegian Oscar). Since then he has directed several feature films, among them “Doctor Proktor”, based on a novel by Jo Nesbø.
Arild’s humorous and playful style is also an important ingredient in his commercials, which are known for great charm and warmth.
Nils Gaup’s 1987’s Oscar-nominated Pathfinder is depicting a famous dramatic episode from the country’s 13th-century civil war, The Last King features enough exciting swordplay and skiing — yes, skiing — to keep viewers satiated, especially fans of the not-dissimilar Games of Thrones, whose Kristofer Hivju plays a lead role here.
Set in 1204, the story involves Haakon, the illegitimate infant son of a recently assassinated Norwegian king, who becomes the object of pursuit by the Baglers, largely comprised of the aristocracy and the clergy and intent on seizing the throne. Attempting to spirit the toddler to safety are Torstein (Hivju) and Skjervald (Jakob Oftebro), two soldiers representing the Birkebeiner, the impoverished faction of the people whose name was derived from the birch bark they supposedly used to make their shoes and skis. Their treacherous journey through the snowy wilderness has become legendary in Norway, which still honors it today via such sporting events as an annual ski run.
American viewers would be wise to not attempt to follow the convoluted political intrigue and numerous subsidiary characters but rather simply enjoy the vigorously staged action sequences that are vividly rendered in Peter Mokrosinski’s handsome widescreen cinematography.
The Telegraphist (is an adaptation of Knut Hamsun’s novel Dreamers which was entered into the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.
In addition to his feature films, Gustavson has directed and produced approximately four hundred commercials world-wide for a variety of international markets. Gustavson has published articles and produced documentaries about the craft of filmmaking, and occasionally teaches the subject in Norway, Cuba and Argentina.
Among the international awards that Gustavson has received are: Seven nominations for the Amanda Award, and three Amanda wins including Best Norwegian Short Film (1985), Best Norwegian Feature Film (1991), and Best Nordic Feature Film (1993); Two Golden Pencil Awards for Best Norwegian Commercial, one Gold Award for Best Nordic Director; and three Eurobest Awards in different categories for commercials.
Since 2002 Gustavson has been based in Norway and in Italy and is now creative director and partner in the cross-media company Small Screen AS, developing interactive quality content for the international Smartphone market.
Itonje Søimer Guttormsen (Born 1979)
Based in Oslo, Itonje produces most of her work in her company ANDROPIA, and is currently completing a feature film, Burning Man, which follows the protagonist of her film Retrett on a new adventure.
Line Halvorsen (Born 1969)
Halvorsen was educated at the University of Trondheim and in the documentary film department at Volda University College.
She has directed and edited more than 20 documentaries and travel films since 1997. Halvorsen lived in Bethlehem in the West Bank from 2002 until 2004. During that time she wrote, edited and directed the award-winning documentary A Stone’s Throw Away (2003) about the lives of three young Palestinian children. In 2004, she moved to the United States where she made USA vs Al-Arian (2007) about the trial and imprisonment of Sami al-Arian. After a six-month trial in 2005, the jury found Al-Arian not guilty of raising funds for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In 2010 her documentary “Living Without Money” was released, portraying the life of the German woman Heidemarie Schwermer who has been living without money since 1996.
Bent Hamer (Born December 18, 1966)
Hamer’s last film, Factotum, was actually shot in the United States, starred Matt Dillon and Marisa Tomei, and was adapted from a book by Charles Bukowski. Hamer has managed to develop a worldwide audience with largely character-driven films such as O’Horten, and Kitchen Stories, which have visuals and elements that feel very specific to Norwegian, or at least Scandinavian, culture.
Dag Johan Haugerud (Born December 30, 1964)
Dag Johan Haugerud is a Norwegian writer and director. Coming from the small town of Eidsberg, Norway, he started out making documentary films and shorts, before moving into the minimalist tradition of Scandinavian film-making.
Dag Johan Haugerud likes a challenge. His 2014 film I’m the One You Want was a 53-minute, straight-to-camera monologue about a schoolteacher who fell in love with one of her 15-year-old students. His latest, Beware of Children (Barn), which clocks in at two and a half hours, suggests he has plenty more to say about the world of education and its rules for both kids and the adults that teach and accompany them.
Aksel Hennie (Born 29 October, 1975)
Hennie is an actor, writer and director. He has acted in a number of successful Norwegian movies, and has received several awards. Hennie grew up in Lambertseter in Oslo. In his late teens he was sentenced for tagging, and became an outcast in the community.
He was admitted to the Norwegian National Academy of Theatre after applying four times. He graduated in 2001, and has acted both at Teatret Vårt in Molde (2001–2002) and at Oslo Nye Teater (since 2002), where he has been in plays such as Hamlet and Kvinnen Som Gifftet Seg Med en Kalkun (The Woman Who Married a Turkey).
Hennie’s most notable success has been as a film actor. He made his debut starring in the feature film Jonny Vang in 2003. Although the director, Jens Lien, originally thought Hennie was too young for the role, the actor convinced him he was the right man for the film. That same year, he also acted in the films Buddy and Ulvesommer. The next year, Hennie made his debut as a director and writer with the film, Uno, in which he also acted. For this role, Hennie and his co-star, Nicolai Cleve Broch, undertook six months of hard physical training in order to perform convincingly as bodybuilders.
In 2001, Hennie was named “Theatre Talent of the Year” by the newspaper Dagbladet. Hennie won the Amanda Award (an important Norwegian film award), for “Best Direction” for Uno in 2005. That year he was among the nominees for “Best Actor” and “Best Film.” He won an Amanda Award for “Best Actor” for Jonny Vang in 2003. He was named one of European film’s “Shooting Stars” by the European Film Promotion in 2004.
In 2008, Hennie starred in Max Manus, where he played the Norwegian war hero of the same name. The film had a large budget by Norwegian standards. In 2011, Age of Heroes was released, a World War II film primarily shot in Norway. On 30 August 2013, Pionér, a docudrama, was released. Hennie plays the main role as a commercial offshore diver in the North Sea during the 1970s who witnesses an accident while diving under extreme conditions, prompting him to search for answers.
On 1 December 2013 Hennie won an Angela Award at the Subtitle European Film Festival in Kilkenny, Ireland, for his role in the film 90 Minutes. That evening he appeared at a showing of Headhunters, and did a question-and-answer session with the audience in the theatre after the film.
Thor Heyerdahl (Born on October 6, 1914)
Heyerdahl was a director and writer, known for Galapagos (1955), Aku-Aku (1960) and Kon-Tiki (1950). He died on April 18, 2002 in Colla Micheri, Liguria, Italy.
In 1947 Heyerdahl and five fellow adventurers sailed from Peru to the Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia in a pae-pae raft that they had constructed from balsa wood and other native materials, christened the Kon-Tiki. The Kon-Tiki expedition was inspired by old reports and drawings made by the Spanish Conquistadors of Inca rafts, and by native legends and archaeological evidence suggesting contact between South America and Polynesia. The Kon-Tiki smashed into the reef at Raroia in the Tuamotus on 7 August 1947 after a 101-day, 4,300-nautical-mile (5,000-mile or 8,000 km) journey across the Pacific Ocean. Heyerdahl had nearly drowned at least twice in childhood and did not take easily to water; he said later that there were times in each of his raft voyages when he feared for his life.
Heyerdahl’s book about The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas has been translated into 70 languages. The documentary film of the expedition entitled Kon-Tiki won an Academy Award in 1951. A dramatized version was released in 2012, also called Kon-Tiki, and was nominated for both the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 70th Golden Globe Awards. It was the first time that a Norwegian film was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe.
Cabin Fever (Norwegian: Når nettene blir lange) was the first attempt in Norway at a Dogme film. The film portrays an extended family vacationing together in a cabin in the mountains, and the internal conflicts that emerge.
The film begins during Christmas in Norway. A family and all of their relatives decide to stay at a remote cabin to celebrate the holidays. Their Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth relatives join them. When they arrive, the Polish relatives are annoyed that there is a lack of water and no electricity. As family arguments begin to break out, the film reveals the characters reasoning’s and grudges against one another. Secrets are revealed. One of the children has severe asthma problem which is made worse by the presence of a dog. The father, additionally, cannot control his alcohol problem. He then becomes aggressive making the situations worse than it is. Towards the end of the film the father drinks so much alcohol that he collapses. The family throws him out into the freezing cold where he is never found again. The family members are heartbroken that father Gunnar is gone.
Marius Holst’s latest film KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND (2011) has deservedly got a load of positive reviews. The story follows the imprisonment of newcomer, Erling on the island of Bastøy – a notorious Norwegian reform center for young boys, famous for its harsh conditions (ironically Bastøy today boasts one of the most liberal prisons around).
Marius cleared up an internet rumor that the film had been shot in 54 days. “Actually, that’s a false rumor”! he says. “It was shot in 47 days. I don’t know when but it ended up on the net somewhere. We shot it in 47 days.”
Tancred Ibsen (11 July, 1893 – 4 December, 1978)
Tancred Ibsen was the son of Sigurd Ibsen (1859 – 1930), Prime Minister of Norway 1903-1905, and grandson of the world-famous playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906).
He directed Friends (Venner) in 1960 about two old friends climbing the Eagle Peak mountain and revealing an intelligent story about a friend trying to get rid of another and getting revenge, take the glory of friend’s achievement, get his leading job in the firm, and even his woman.
For a short period Tancred Ibsen stayed in the United States and Hollywood in the 1920s. According to his autobiography, his purpose was to ‘Ibsenize cinema’, but his stay in Hollywood was brief. New information on Ibsen’s Hollywood period is found by examining the outlines and synopses he wrote for MGM in 1924 and 1925, with a closer look at the synopsis Kin of Fame, a drama about identity and recognition with clear references to his own life.
After an 11 year absence, Norwegian writer/director Vibeke Idsøe came back with the lavish period drama Løvekvinnen (The Lion Woman).
The film is based on Erik Fosnes Hansen’s best-seller (2006) and Idsøe realized it had a huge visual potential for the silver screen. She had a wonderful collaboration with Erik, and he liked the choices she made, the focus on the father-daughter.
Regarding the directing job, she admits it was hard work, but she really wanted to do it. Still, she needed the time to let the project grow in her. Back in 2006 she wasn’t ready to make the film. What helped a lot was the long pre-production period to feel safe before production.
Eva Isaksen (Born 22 May, 1956)
Eva Isaksen directed her first feature film Burning Flowers (Brennende blomster) (1985) with Eva Dahr, and has worked as an assistant on a number of films, including Sweetwater (1988) by Lasse Glomm, Wayfarers (Landstrykere) (1989) by Ola Solum, and The Dive (Dykket) (1989) by Tristan de Vere Cole. In 1990 she directed Death at Oslo Central (Døden på Oslo S), about the two boys Pelle and Proffen, based on the novels for young people by Ingvar Ambjørnsen, a Norwegian author living in Hamburg. Two years later she presented her third feature film Homo Falsus (Det perfekte mord) (1992).
Jensen’s experience as a filmmaker has encompassed every medium including feature flms, documentary and television. He has received numerous international awards including four Amandas (Norwegian Oscar) in his native Norway. His surrealist storytelling approach combines past and present into a unique and compelling visual language.
Knut Erik Jensen is a truly unique Norwegian artist and world-class filmmaker. A survivor of the German occupation of Norway in World War II, as a child he witnessed the reconstruction of his native Finnmark after it was burned to the ground by the Nazi scorched earth policy. Many of Jensen’s films attempt to reconcile this important history of Northern Norway.
Stella Polaris is a poetic, beautifully shot meditation on childhood, growing up, love, and death, set in the arctic region of Norway during the German invasion of World War II. The engrossing drama Burnt by Frost reflects over the lives and romance of Simon (Stig Henrik Hof) and Lilian (Gørild Mauseth) in Northern Norway as World War II gives way to the Cold War. Simon worked with Russian partisans against Nazi occupiers during the war, but in its aftermath his old friends are now enemies, and former enemies have become friends – what side should he choose?
Matias Armand Jordal (Born 24 November, 1970)
Matias Armand Jordal, film director and script writer, known for 35 episodes of the TV series Hotel Cæsar (2004-2005), Sammen (2009) and The Birds (2019).
Sammen (Together) is the story of a father, a mother and their son looking forward to go on vacation. On the way they experience an accident, and their lives are suddenly and unexpectedly turned upside down.
This is a story about a father and his son’s journey through a landscape of sorrow, after they tragically lose the one person they love the most. It’s about how they deal with their new everyday life without her, and their strain to win control over the new situation. The woman who dies was the “glue” that kept the family together, and without her they feel like they have to make a new start, a situation that exhausts them both. They realize that they haven’t spent much time together, and have a hard time trying to communicate with each other. Even simple things like making a meal becomes a challenge. The father experiences the loss of this woman so strongly that he isn’t able to pull himself together and take responsibility of his own and his son’s life. In pure desperation he meets with the children welfare service, and when his son is temporarily sent to an orphanage, he isolates himself from his surroundings and rejects every attempt for contact, even from his own son. But the son refuses to give up hope that they can become a family again, and fights bravely to get his father back to life.
The film is a drama about loss and love, told in a realistic style with a great deal of humor and warmth.
Stian Kristiansen (born August 09, 1972)
Kristiansen is a director and actor, known for Taperaksje (2004), The Man Who Loved Yngve (2008 and Kiss Me You Fucking Moron (2013).
His first feature film was Mongoland (2001, as Stian). He was 28 when he starred in this movie. Since 2001, he has appeared in 7 feature films. The last one is Videoboy (2011).
Yenni Lee (Born 18 November, 1986)
Yenni Lee has made several award-winning short films and is currently in the pre-production phase of her first feature film, which is set for release in 2021. Her Locarno Shorts-nominated short, Explosions in the Heart is a tender and visually evocative film about a young girl who lost her twin sister in an accident.
Jens Lien (Born 14 September, 1967)
Lien left his native country, Norway, for London in 1990. His initial intention was to play rock music in the British capital, but three years later, he was back in Oslo after graduating from the London International Film School. His graduation project was the short film Montana, that was featured at the short film festival in Grimstad that year. in 1995 he again participated in this festival, with the entry Mitt elektriske kjøkken (My Electrical Kitchen). Lien went on to make the short films Døren som ikke smakk (Shut the Door, 2000) and Naturlige Briller (Natural Glasses, 2001). Both of these films were based on scripts by Per Schreiner, and both were featured at the Cannes International Film Festival. In addition to this Lien has also made a number of commercials.
In 2003 he had his feature film debut with the movie Jonny Vang. The movie was selected for the Berlin Film Festival. The movie was awarded an Amanda Award for “Best Actor” (Aksel Hennie) in 2003. It was also nominated in the category “Best Film”.
Lien’s next major film project was Den brysomme mannen (The Bothersome Man) (2006). This film was again the result of a cooperation with Per Schreiner; it was based on a story originally written for radio theatre, recorded two years before it was adapted for the screen. Lien later said in an interview that the script made such a great impression on him that he was unable to sleep after first reading. The film was awarded three Amandas in 2006: for “Best Direction”, “Best Screenplay” and “Best Actor” (Trond Fausa Aurvåg). It was also nominated in the categories “Best Film” and “Best Actress” (Petronella Barker). Den brysomme mannen has won more than 20 international awards, including the ACID Award (Agence du Cinéma Indépendant pour sa Diffusion) at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 2011 his next feature film Sønner av Norge (Sons of Norway) premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. The film features a cameo performance by John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten). It premiered in Norway at the same time.
In 2014 he directed the mini-series Viva hate for SVT (Swedish television). The series was three 60-minute episodes, and was a romantic comedy about rock ‘n’ roll set in Gothenburg’s vital music scene in the early 1990s.
Vibeke Løkkeberg (Born January 22, 1945)
Vibeke Løkkeberg is an actress and director, known for
Norway was once the land of female directors. Then they vanished. New research shows how female Norwegian directors were sidelined by a small French word.
Imagine Norway in the seventies, perhaps the early eighties. Flared trousers and high hair. In the cinemas they’re showing Norwegian films such as Hustruer (“Wives”), Løperjenten (“Betrayal”), Arven (“Next of Kin”) and Åpenbaringen (“The Revelation”). Directors Vibeke Løkkeberg and Anja Breien are highly successful both nationally and internationally. They are among the best Norwegian examples of so-called “auteurs” – cinematic artists.
No one would imagine that a few decades later, these women would be regarded as representatives for a misdirection in Norwegian film history, a “misunderstanding” that would affect women’s status within the Norwegian film scene for a long time to come.
“Internationally, the term ʻauteur’ has primarily been used as a badge of honour, but in Norway it became a negatively charged term, an insult,” says Johanne Kjelland Servoll, who defended her PhD thesis about the Norwegian auteur shortly before Christmas 2014.
In order to understand why this happened, it is necessary to realise what it meant that Løkkeberg and Breien were regarded as so-called auteurs. Moreover, we need to understand the significance of this small, seemingly insignificant French word both in Norway and globally.
(Excepts from an article “Information and News About Gender Research in Norway” by Karine Gullvik in KILDEN
Gunhild Westhagen Magnor studied at Surrey Institute of Art and Design. Her documentary series have both been nominated for Best Documentary Series in Norway 2011; Karanba (NRK, YLE) and Thaifjord 2 (TV Norge). Previous works includes numerous audience favorites, like the doc series Thaifjord 1 (Winner of the TV prize Gullruten 2008, TV Norge/SVT), and her single docs Rabbit King (2007 NRK/Krakow Int. Film Festival), Wings under Water (2005 NRK), Norwegian Wood (TV2) and The Day of The Dead, (Rain Dance international film festival, 2001). She has shot the theatrical doc Nemesis (2006), which was nominated for Best Cinematography for Songs from the Street (Audience Award, Norwegian Doc Festival/ Krakow Int. Film Festival). She has worked as 2nd unit on several major Norwegian fiction features.
Rebels, one of ten films nominated for the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA 2015, is about the problems faced by disenfranchised youths in Norway. Filmmaker Kari Anne Moe takes a tough yet sympathetic look at the struggles of Norwegian dropouts enrolled in a special social welfare program created to help them renter the mainstream.
Hans Petter Moland (Born on October 17, 1955)
Moland is a director and writer, known for Aberdeen (2000), In Order of Disappearance (2014) and Zero Kelvin (1995). He has received awards for his commercials at major festivals, including Cannes, before he made his feature debut in 1993 with The Last Lieutenant. He followed up with Zero Kelvin (1995), Aberdeen (2000) and The Beautiful Country (2004), which was selected for Competition in Berlin.
He is also well known for his collaboration and deep friendship with Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård, having directed him in three movies; Zero Kelvin, Aberdeen and En ganske snill mann (2010), the latter being nominated for the Golden Bear at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival.
A fourth collaboration with Skarsgård, In Order of Disappearance, had its premiere in the competition section of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. Moland made his Hollywood debut in 2019 directing a remake of In Order of Disappearance, named Cold Pursuit, and starring Liam Neeson in the Skarsgård role.
Halkawt Mustafa directed El clásico (2015) about two brothers in Iraqi Kurdistan who embark on a risky trip to Spain to meet a soccer hero Cristiano Ronaldo.
The production is notable as the first screen project permitted to film in Baghdad’s Green Zone, or international sector, where the filmmakers were never far from falling bombs. According to the movie’s production notes, the bombings usually stop during big soccer matches, given Iraqis’ love of the sport. The film’s title refers to the name applied to any face-off between archrivals Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Played by real-life brothers who are first-time actors, Alan (Wrya Ahmed) and Shirwan (Dana Ahmed) come down on different sides of the Spanish football divide.
The screenplay, by Mustafa and Anders Fagerholt, benefits from touches of irreverent humor as it sets the brothers on a challenge-riddled path. Beyond such ordinary pitfalls as running out of gas for their four-wheel ATV, Alan and Shirwan confront curfews, diplomatic red tape and far worse. At an especially desperate moment, an accommodating Baghdad hotel owner connects them with a black marketeer (Nassr Hassan) who offers a lifeline of sorts when all hope might otherwise be lost.
In spite of its over-the-top dramatic twists, El Clásico is winningly heartfelt, drawing upon the lead actors’ natural chemistry and especially the understated performance of Wrya Ahmed. With fine camerawork by Kjell Vassdal and a mournful score by Trond Bjerknes, Iraqi-Norwegian filmmaker Mustafa has crafted a visually striking road trip.
He is also a comics artist. He is especially known for his subcultural depictions. Nielsen got his first comics printed in 1980 after entering a competition in the Norwegian anarchist magazine, Gateavisa. Only three years later he got his first album published. Generally, he works in a rough and direct style, inspired by the American underground comix tradition.
His most famous cartoon, To Trøtte Typer (Two Wasted Wankers), depicts the life of the two drug users and petty criminals Odd and Geir living their relatively boring lives in Oslo, Norway. This cartoon has been made into a feature for television, running for 13 episodes plus a Christmas special. They also star in the animated movie Free Jimmy (Slipp Jimmy Fri) along with several others of Nielsen’s more famous characters. Another well-known character is the notorious Hold Brillan (Hold My Glasses), a huge “redneck”-like character who terrorizes his so-called mates and always gets into fights. Thus “Hold My Glasses” – he cannot fight with them for fear of breaking them.
Petter Næss (Born 1960)
Originally Næss worked as a writer, director and actor for the theatre, staging close to 30 productions. In 1997 he was appointed director of Oslo Nye Teater (Oslo New Theatre) and he quickly made a mark for himself promoting contemporary Norwegian plays.
Scandinavian filmmakers are known for making somber, heavy opuses drenched in angst and metaphysical meditations, like the great Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. But the truth is there has always been another strain of Scandinavian films, whimsical comedies like “Kitchen Stories” and the Oscar-nominated “Elling” (2001).
When his mother, who has sheltered him his entire 40 years, dies, Elling, a sensitive, would-be poet, is sent to live in a state institution. There he meets Kjell Bjarne, a gentle giant and female-obsessed virgin in his 40s. After two years, the men are released and provided with a state-funded apartment and stipend with the hope they will be able to live on their own. Initially, the simple act of going around the corner for groceries is a challenge. Through a friendship born of desperate dependence, the skittish Elling and the boisterous, would-be lover of women, Kjell Bjarne, discover they can not only survive on the outside, they can thrive. But as their courage grows, the two find oddball ways to cope with society, striking up the most peculiar friendships in the most unlikely places.
His film “Gone With the Woman” (2007) is in much the same sly comic mode. It has enough appealing touches to score on the festival circuit, though it’s a little too mild and precious to capture any significant audience in American theaters. The film is Norway’s official submission for this year’s foreign-language Oscar.
“Woman” begins with a gob of narration by the sad-sack hero (Trond Fausa Aurvag) describing the strange onset of his romance with Marianne (Marian Saastad Ottesen), who moves in with him despite his indifference. After a series of misadventures, the hero (who is never named) announces, “I decided to fall head over heels in love with her. I would start in the morning.”
The course of true love never did run smooth, and after the hero meets an enticing new flame during a whirlwind trip to Paris, and after Marianne takes up with a lover of her own, matters finally wind their tortuous way to the right romantic conclusion.
Næss has unmistakable visual talent, and there are striking images, alternately ironic and idyllic, throughout the movie. There’s even a deft bit of animation marking one of the key transitional sequences. Technical credits are strong, and the use of music is inventive. Despite its likable cast and inventive visuals, the film desperately needs a few bold laughs in addition to its mild chuckles.
Margreth Olin claims the film Angel is based on a friend’s story and you can clearly feel her compassion for her troubled heroin-addict played by several actresses at different ages culminating in Maria Bonnevie’s flat-out space cadet. The only interesting twist here is that she does the right things — gives up her precious child until she gets clean.
The film is a tough slog through spousal and child abuse, alcoholism, prostitution, degradation and dysfunction without the intervention of art — you know, that thing that makes you understand why you’re on such a familiar journey.
It’s Only Make Believe introduces viewers to a woman whose intention to be a loving and devoted mother keeps getting derailed by circumstance and iffy decision-making. Buoyed by charming performances and enough violence to balance its wistful tendencies, the stylish Norwegian film would be welcome in American arthouses and is all the more impressive given that Ommundsen filled nearly all the major behind-the-camera creative roles.
Silje Salomonsen plays Jenny, a curly-headed, large-eyed young woman first seen telling boyfriend Frank that she thinks she’s pregnant. The news goes over well, and Frank responds with a sweet proposal, before the couple gets back to the mischief they’d planned for the evening — a minor break-in that goes badly awry, with Jenny trying to save Frank’s life and shooting him instead.
Ommundsen constructs sequences with an enjoyably choppy editing style, moving the story forward while pausing now and then for hazy, happy montages accompanied by gentle-voiced indie songwriters.
Ommundsen is as unsparing with sudden violence as he is with the deployment of a little girl’s smile, and it’s hard not to get worked up while guessing which elemental force will carry the day. In a performance that combines optimism with a frank way of confronting life’s unfair obstacles — and this life has more than its share — Salomonsen seems capable of enduring until things go her way.
Born as Benedicte Maria Orvung, she is a director and writer, known for Calling Killer Whales (1999), Lille store Trude-Mette (2001) and Disa Moves to Japan (2003) and Strictly Confidential (2010).
About Strictly Confidential: Every family has their secrets. But for director Benedicte Orvung, theirs is one that hid a brutal dark story with grave historical consequences. Benedicte’s great uncle was Karl Marthinsen, the most prominent Norwegian Nazi collaborator during the Second World War. This information had been kept a secret from her until she discovered who he was by accident at the age of thirty. What she uncovers is the shocking and harrowing story of a man her family felt was best forgotten through shame.
This visually striking film weaves together personal testimonies with archived footage, and uses the words from documents he had written to paint a shocking picture of the actions of a man who was a fanatical National Socialist. Responsible for coordinating the round up of Norwegian Jews, Karl Marthinsen was eventually assassinated by the resistance. But even in death, he caused more bloodshed, in the form of brutal reprisals.
Erik Poppe (Born 24 June, 1960)
Poppe is regarded as one of Europe’s most experienced and compelling directors recognized for his work with actors and impeccably well-crafted multi-pronged narratives.
His latest fil is the first fiction film about the terrorist attack in Oslo and at a youth summer camp on Utøya island that claimed 77 lives. The film follows an 18-year-old girl and her friends as they try to survive minute-by-minute.
Questioned why he chose fiction to documentary filmmaking, he says that fiction, based on thorough research and interviews (as he did with more than 20 youngsters) can be more truthful to the incidents and tell a story that will resonate to more people.
He directed The King’s Choice as a biographical WWII film in 2016. It is a co-production of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland and was selected as the Norwegian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards. In December 2016, it made the shortlist of nine films to be considered for a nomination at the 89th Academy Awards.
His feature debut, An Ordinary Day at Work (En helt vanlig dag på jobben), about the daily life of an unscrupulous journalist, is based on the 2006 book by Håvard Melnæs, which describes his time as a journalist at Norway’s biggest weekly magazine, Se & Hør.
The film detailed how Melnæs became the top reporter at Norway’s biggest weekly magazine. It looks at his methods, including cheque-book journalism, and his fake friendship with the ageing father of Norway’s crown princess, Mette Marit.
Leidulv Risan (Born 1948)
Director of Fire høytider (1995) (Waiting for Sunset USA / The Sunset Boys)
The 1995 Norwegian film made headlines in Norway as it was the first Norwegian film to star several respected Hollywood stars, namely veteran actors Robert Mitchum and Cliff Robertson. It also boasted some of the biggest acting names from Sweden (Erland Josephson), Germany (Hanna Schygulla and Ernst Jacobi), Austria (Nadja Tiller) and Norway.
The movie was directed and co-written by Leidulv Risan and shot on location in Oslo (Norway) and the German cities of Cologne and Heidelberg. Its budget of 5,000,000 USD was above average for a Norwegian movie at the time. Aging Norwegian doctor Carl (Espen Skjønberg) collapses in the streets of Oslo, and awakens in the hospital. To his great surprise he finds himself surrounded by his old buddies Ernest (Mitchum), Ted (Robertson) and August (Josephson).
Taking matters into their own hands they “kidnap” the dying Carl and embark on an emotional journey back to Heidelberg, where they met studying medicine before World War II. Their plan is to fulfill Carl’s final wish but soon find their cheerful trip overshadowed as they reveal a plot dating back to the pre-war Nazi era.
The movie received mainly fair reviews although many seemed to agree that the Nazi-subplot was too melodramatic, and got in the way of its feel-good nature.
Nini Bull Robsahm (Born 18 June, 1981)
Nini Bull Robsahm is a director and screenwriter, known for Manhunt (2008), Hjelp, vi er i filmbransjen (2011), Amnesia (2014) and Lake of Death (De dødes tjern) (2019).
“Lake of Death (De dødes tjern)” is a mildly creepy Norwegian thriller about a “haunted” lake and a young woman (Iben Akerlie) haunted by guilt over her long-missing twin brother.
It’s built on horror conventions that go back to Edgar Allan Poe, and worn out by every “Friday the 13th” variation since. But this time, it’s five good looking young Norwegians who head to the cabin in the woods to face the strange goings-on, bumps in the night, getting yanked under the water by “something” while swimming, visions of the missing brother and “Wait, who made us all breakfast?”
One of them, Bernhard (Jakob Schøyen Andersen) is a horror/ghost story podcaster, gathering audio on the legends of this lake, joking around with “Cabin Fever,” “Evil Dead” and a certain unfinished “Project” about an American witch movie references, and playing scary tricks on his fellow cabin campers.
And when they unwind, the kids rock out to “Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll,” because “Don’t Fear the Reaper” is entirely too on-the-nose for anybody to get away with these days.
There’s a dog, because of course there is.
“Anybody seen Totto?”
The foreshadowing is trifle obvious. Even the finale is guessable. But of-course there are twists, a mild chill here and there, and not just from the lower depths of the lake in question.
Oslo-based writer-director Nini Bull Rabsahm has reimagined a haunted lake novel by André Bjerke, previously filmed in 1958. She has a little fun with the conventions she’s working with. Just not enough.
Thomas is the son of actors Ugo Tognazzi and Margarete Robsahm. Robsahm has produced a large number of documentaries and short films. Films he has directed include the crime drama Svarte pantere (1992), and Myggen (1996), a documentary about Norwegian footballer Erik Mykland. His 1999 comedy S.O.S. was awarded the Amanda Award for best Norwegian film.
The documentary Modern Slavery is about the 27 million slaves in the world today, who we find in the sex industry, as child soldiers, as unpaid housekeepers and in production and as shop workers. According to Robsahm, we have all a responsibility for this.
Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen (Born 4 May, 1972)
Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen is a director and writer, known for his action drama IZZAT (2005), the crime thriller Varg Veum – Bitter Flowers (2007), the slacker comedy The Last Joint Venture (2008).Taxi (2011), documentary films Voluntarily Forced (2014), In the Dark (2017) and Recruiting for Jihad (2017).
Rolfsen often addresses national- and global discussion concerning immigration and racism both in his films as well as being an outspoken newspaper columnist and television debater.
The directing duo Mathias Eriksen & Matias Rygh is currently writing their first feature and recently made a strong mini-docu on the air pollution crisis in New Delhi.
Joachim Rønning (Born 30 May, 1972)
Growing up in the eighties in Sandefjord, Joachim Rønning spent his free time making short films with his dad’s 30 pounds home video camera – one of the few burdens for being the first of the video generation.
In 1992 he attended Stockholm Film School in Sweden. In 2006, Rønning and Espen Sandberg directed their feature film debut, Bandidas, starring Penélope Cruz and Salma Hayek.
His 2012 film Kon-Tiki is the first Norwegian film to be nominated for a Golden Globe, and a Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards. The duo directed the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).
In October 2017, it was announced Rønning would direct Maleficent: Mistress of Evil from a screenplay written by Linda Woolverton and Jez Butterworth, with Angelina Jolie reprising the role as the titular character. The film was released in 2019.
Sandberg co-directed the French-produced comedy western Bandidas in Mexico together with Joachim Rønning, starring Salma Hayek and Penélope Cruz; it tells the tale of two very different women who become a bank robbing duo in an effort to combat a ruthless enforcer terrorizing their town.
In Norway, Rønning and Sandberg are best known for directing the 2008 blockbuster movie Max Manus: Man of War, with Aksel Hennie in the leading role; the story follows Manus (Aksel Hennie) from the Winter War against the Soviet Union, through the outbreak of World War II and the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany until peacetime in 1945. In the same year they won Lions at Cannes for their Hydro Commercials Train Loop.
In 2012, Sandberg and Rønning was concerned with a new big movie about Thor Heyerdahl and the Kon-Tiki expedition. The development of this new film was shown in an exhibition at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo. The film was released in 2012 with great reviews.
Mikkel Brænne Sandemose (Born 4 September, 1974)
Mikkel Brænne Sandemose is a director and writer, known forI Killed a Cyclist (2001), Cold Prey III (2010,) Ragnarok (2013), Askeladden I (2017) and Askeladden II (2019)
The tales in Ragnarok come from the belief that nature contains miracles in a sense. Norse mythology and folk tales are full of inspiring classic stories of good vs evil, individual achievement and bravery. Sandemose has been keen to bring back the traditional Norwegian storytelling to today’s younger audiences and adults.
The tone of the film is light, playful and humorous. The original tale from the 13-14th century comes from the oral tradition and in the 19th century they were written down by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe.
The original story was not humorous and had a strong notion of punishment. If you made the wrong choice, your skin would be peel off, you would end up in a pit with a snake or your ears would be chopped off.
Showing this on screen would have been gruesome for the young audience in the target group. So Sandemose tried to retain the realistic feel in the dialogue and in the situations. He wanted the characters to change and grow through the journey and create a real family adventure movie.
On 18 March 2010, Seim was cast in the film The Thing, which premiered on 14 October 2011 in the United States and 2 December 2011 in the United Kingdom.
Anne Sewitsky (Born 12 January, 1978)
Anne Sewitsky is a Norwegian-American filmmaker who won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2011 with her debut film from 2010 “Happy Happy”. She was Norway’s Academy Award entry in 2011. Her next film, “Homesick” (2015) premiered at Sundance and was Norway’s submission for the 88th Academy Awards.
“Sonja – The White Swan” (2018) premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
“Sonja – The White Swan” is a portrait of Sonja Henie, the inventor of modern figure skating who went to Hollywood to become a movie star on skates in the 1940s. It is a rise and fall film about stardom, money, and a family tragedy between a brother and sister.
“I guess what drew me to this story was Sonja’s odd, ambitious character”, says Anne Sewitsky. “An athlete and film star who got everything she pointed at and who seemingly had the perfect life, Sonja’s life went downhill when her lack of interpersonal skills reached the surface and revealed a very lonely person. Sonja didn’t understand how to deal with problems. Instead, she kept going, pushing every close person in her life away”.
She admits that there’s a challenge making a “Hollywood” biopic movie from the ’40s on a Norwegian budget. It often feels like an impossible task. The film was funded by the Norwegian Film Institute with co-production funding from Ireland and Scandinavia. It was shot in Spain and Romania, creating LA and Mexico locations there.
Rasmus A. Sivertsen (Born 26 September, 1972)
Rasmus Siversten is known for his work on Kurt Turns Evil (2008), Ploddy the Police Car Pelle Politibil på sporet (2013) and Solan og Ludvig – Jul i Flåklypa.
Sivertsen has an impressive lineup of award-winning films and B.O hits to his credit, from Kurt Turns Evil, Ploddy the Police Car, Two Buddies and a Badger (2015) the stop motion trilogy Louis & Luca and the Snow Machine (2013) Louis & Luca-The Big Cheese Race (2015) and Louis & Luca-Mission to the Moon (2018) and In the Forest of Hucky Bucky(2016).
Captain Sabertooth & the Magic Diamond was co-directed with Marit Moum Aune for Sivertsen’s company Qvisten Animation. Nordisk Film handles Scandinavian distribution, Sola Media world sales.
Rasmus A. Sivertsen says he grew up with animation. His father was an animator who inspired his brother and himself. “We would spend our time drawing, make short films, discussing animation. As an animator, I want to get back to the feeling I had as a child. Somehow, that feeling is still embedded in me and I want to give that back to the general audience. I’m looking for films that have humor, warmth, adventure to grab the audience’s attention”, he says.
Annette Sjursen (Born 2 September, 1979)
Annette Sjursen directed several short films before she started post-production on her feature film debut with Min misunnelige frisør (My jealous barber) (2004).
Her movie is about Bent, a man who finds comfort in stability and safety, but when a woman moves into his building, he decides to make a change in his life, something his hairdresser does not like one bit.
Sølve Skagen (Born 17 February, 1945)
Sølve Skagen is a Norwegian film director. Among his films are Hard asfalt (1986) and Brun bitter (1988). Hard asfalt was Norway’s submission for the 59th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was entered into the 15th Moscow International Film Festival.
Occupied was one of the most anticipated Norwegian TV dramas of 2015 of which Erik Skjolbjærg was the show’s co-creator and director of the two first episodes.
Nokas portrays the real life NOKAS robbery that took place in Stavanger, Norway in 2004. In 2011, the film was screened at the Norwegian International Film Festival, where Skjoldbjærg won the award for best director and screenwriter.
Insomnia takes place in a Norwegian city with a 24-hour daylight cycle where a Swedish murder investigator has been brought in on a special case. Sleep deprived, he makes a horrible mistake which is discovered by the killer he has been hunting.
Arne Skouen (18 October, 1913 – 24 May, 2003)
Arne Skouen had three distinct career careers: journalist, author and filmmaker, partly at the same time. After the war, Skouen began working in film. His first film Gategutter (Street Boys) was released in 1949.
He received international fame for his 1957 film Ni Liv, about Jan Baalsrud’s survival following a failed WWII commando raid in occupied Norway, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also shown at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Monitor (original title: Babycall; titled The Monitor under US release) is a thriller film written and directed by Pål Sletaune and starring Noomi Rapace. The original title, Babycall, is the Norwegian/Swedish term for a baby monitor; the film maintained this title upon release in Europe and Australia. The film was released on October 7, 2011 in Norway.
Solum began his career as a director in the early 1960s, writing and directing short documentary and educational films primarily for Norsk Documentarfilm A/S, by whom he was employed beginning in 1964, but also for other companies, such as a film about the Norwegian State Railways in 1966. In 1968 he co-directed Bare et liv (Only One Life – the Story of Fridtjof Nansen), a Norwegian-Soviet co-production.
He made his solo feature-film directing début in 1976 with Reisen til julestjernen (Journey to the Christmas Star), a children’s film with a stellar cast which has since been shown on NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Company) every Christmas. In 1978, he made Operasjon Cobra (Operation Cobra), which was intended for older children and successfully used their language. He was therefore given the assignment to direct Carl Gustav, gjengen og parkeringsbandittene (1982) in connection with Norsk Film’s 50th anniversary.
In 1985 Solum directed Orion’s Belt. The film was a big success both in Norway, where it was seen by some 700,000 people, and abroad. It won four Amanda Awards, including best Norwegian film of the year. It had an effect on the Norwegian film industry, sparking the so-called “helicopter period” of films marked by internationalization (partly as a result of the need for international financial support for such large projects) and emphasizing suspense and special effects. His next film, Turnaround (1987), was not even shot in Norwegian and was therefore ineligible for state financing.
In 1989 he replaced the original director of Wayfarers (Landstrykere) after he became ill.
After this, he directed only two more feature films before his death from cancer in Oslo, Kvitebjørn Kong Valemon (1991), a well-received children’s film, and Trollsyn (1994), for which he again took over directing duties.
Mats Stenberg is a director, known for Fritt vilt II (2008). It takes place in the ’80s where a group of teenagers go to visit an abandoned hotel, only to find themselves hunted by a psychotic killer through the Norwegian woods. An investigation into the original 1993 Michael Jackson allegations brought by the Chandler family. Jannicke wakes up in the hospital. A beautiful and mysterious woman helps an inept scam artist get his game together… but is their meeting purely coincidence?
Øystein Stene is an associate professor at the Academy of Theatre at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, and an author and director. He has created graphic novels and written works of fiction that have been translated into several languages. His films have been shown at more than 20 film festivals in Norway and internationally. The Art of Acting is his first non-fiction book.
Erik Richter Strand (Born 17 September, 1974)
Erik Richter Strand is an award-winning director with a reel containing feature films and tv series successes among short films and commercials. Valkyrien, which he wrote and directed, is one of NRKs all time most seen drama series ever and a British remake is in production.
Erik is a passionate director that adds logic, humor and smartness into any script. Besides having a good reputation for writing, he is also a great instructor for any actor.
Eirik Svensson (Born 19 October, 1983)
Eirik Svensson is the producer of among other films, Natt til 17. (2014).
On the Eve of The Norwegian Day of Liberation – a whole nation is gearing up to get drunk and disorderly. Sam and Amir, two 15-year-old boys, have decided their night is going to be an epic. The boys have known each other almost all their lives, and are closer than brothers. But the next 24 hours will test the bonds of brotherhood. Sam has fallen for Thea, Amir’s ex-girlfriend. He knows he has to tell Amir, but doesn’t know how. When Sam finally summons up the courage to confess, Amir’s reaction is far worse than he could ever have imagined. The long night turns into chaos as Amir embarks on a revenge-fueled journey of violence and destruction. Can Sam and Amir forgive each other or is this the end of their friendship?
One of Eirik Svenssons goals was to express the feeling of the group of boys having a very strong friendship that goes back to their childhood. To achieve this, he had a couple techniques that he used for his benefit. During the selection process he tried and managed to choose actors who were friends in real life and who could already cope together with a comfort that he later could keep working on. He also decided not to use a fixed script for the movie but to rather tell the actors what he wanted to get out of the scene and let them use their own vocabulary. He mentioned his open attitude towards the actors and the positive surprises they sometimes brought him. This while he also had to challenge not to get confused in what he was looking for.
The environment is the city of Oslo. You get to see the low-class apartment buildings where the two head characters Sam and Amir lives as well as the middle/high class neighborhoods where the party is at. It’s all filmed during the typical sunny summer days or cozy summer nights that every single Scandinavian can relate too.
In 2008 Syversen was at the leading edge of the current wave of Scandinavian genre film with his indie slasher Rovdyr – released here as Manhunt – and has since relocated temporarily to the US to direct the After Dark film Prowl. Syversen was a busy man on these shores, connecting with fellow expat Marie Kristiansen to shoot something entirely different – the indie drama Exteriors.
The two LA based directors met through mutual friends, and were inspired by the many out of work people with dreams of making it big. Together, they decided to document and dramatize their experiences.
Yngve Sæther joined Motlys, one of Norway’s leading Norwegian production houses, in 2001. His first feature film production was the critically acclaimed The Man Who Loved Yngve , winner of four national Amanda awards, including Best Norwegian Film and Best Director.
In AN interview, Sæther said, “Film has always been in my life, ever since my childhood, when I was shooting Super-8 films. I started to shoot and direct and produce my own short films and music videos. Later on, when I worked as programmer at the Cinematheque at the Norwegian Film Institute, I initiated a collection of short films, The Seven Deadly Sins, that turned into a feature. During development of the next project, Motlys asked me to join them as a producer”.
In 2011 he produced Oslo, 31. August and the three-episode TV series Buzz Aldrin, What Has Become of You? In 2012 came The Orheim Company. He has directed several productions between then and 2020, when he produced A-ha – the movie.
Maria Sødahl (Born 31 December, 1965)
Maria Sødahl is a film director known for the movie Limbo (2010) starring Stellan Skarsgård Andrea Bræin Hovig.
A nine-year gap separates Sødahl’s breakthrough feature debut Limbo and her sophomore film Hope (2019),a sensitive and honest drama based on the Norwegian writer/director’s own experience.
Set between Christmas and New Year, we follow Anja (43) and her husband Tomas (59), parents of six biological and stepchildren, as they try to deal with the bombshell news that she has a brain cancer and only three months to live. While Anja goes through an emotional turmoil and her treatment starts to affect her physical state, the couple’s relationship is put to the test.
Telling a story about cancer is challenging in itself, but a story about your own experience with cancer is all the more challenging.
“In a way it’s a film made against my own will”, says Sødahl. “When I was told that I could prepare to live again, after being initially diagnosed with terminal brain cancer nine years ago, it still took me years to get better”.
Four years later, she was contacted by a Danish producer to make an international film in Stockholm with an American actress. She said: “haven’t you heard what happened to me?” The producer said: “Yes, but I believe you’re fine now”. She was not, but that awoke in her a great lust to be able to go back to work.
In an interview she Said, “My husband did read all the drafts and helped me gather some facts together, and he respected the fact that in the film everything is seen through Anja’s point of view. As for the children, I had one-to-one ‘meetings’ with them. We discussed particular moments in the film and how they remembered my own behavior. It was quite extraordinary to see how each one of them had different recollections of events”.
The award-winning novel Halvbroren (The Half Brother), by Norwegian author Lars Saabye Christensen, has become an eight-part television series. This $10 million production, directed by Per Olav Sørensen features Erika Lemay acting as the Chocolate Girl (Sjokoladepiken)
More than a million Norwegians tuned in Sunday evening to the much-hyped premiere of the new television series based on Lar Saabye Christensen’s epic novel. It becomes more than just a TV series with so many watching
“Half Brother” was nominated for the coveted award “World’s Best TV Series. With actors like Frank Kjosås, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Mariann Hole and Agnes Kittelsen in the leading roles, taking NRK series fight against major international TV series’ most famous challenger is American “Homeland” with Hollywood stars like Claire Danes and Damian Lewis in the lead roles.
Sørhaug’s feature drama 90 Minutes debuted at the Toronto Film Festival. Her TV credits as director include Netflix series Occupied, Starz show American Gods, Hulu’s Reprisal and hit Danish series Witch Hunt. She is currently directing episodes of Showtime series Your Honor.
In 2020, Sørhaug has been set to direct feature thriller Edge Of Normal, based on the novel by Carla Norton.
The film follows a woman named Reeve LeClaire who has managed to piece together a normal life as an adult, but remains haunted by memories of being held captive by a sadistic man in her teens. When her psychiatrist asks Reeve to mentor another young survivor, she finds herself in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a more powerful force.
Kaveh Tehrani (Born 1978)
Kaveh Tehrani is a Norwegian/Iranian filmmaker living in Oslo whose previous project have appeared on National Norwegian Television and BBC Persian. The Manchador is his latest short film project that was officially selected for 2020 Göteborg Film Festival.
Joachim Trier (Born 1974)
Joachim Trier is one of present Scandinavia’s most interesting film directors. He actually comes from a filmmaking family background – his grandfather is a well-known Norwegian film director from the 60s and 70s, and his parents have worked on film production as well, thus film sets have been a pretty familiar environment to him from a young age.
His first movie, Reprise (2006), was bought by Miramax and became sort of a cult film in North America. Then came Oslo, August 31st (2011), which was screened at Cannes, acquiring praise and international recognition. During the Stockholm Film Festival, he presented Louder Than Bombs (2015) – his third film and first one in English,– the day before he won the Bronze Horse for Best Film.
Louder Then Bombs was filmed in New York, and its Hollywood-ish cast achieves an interesting balance between heavy weighs from the industry, like Isabelle Huppert and Gabriel Byrne, and some popular new faces such as Jesse Eisenberg and Amy Ryan.
His Maria Marusjka from 1973 was awarded the Norwegian Film Critics’ Prize. His film Streik! from 1974, based on a novel by Tor Obrestad, was presented at the Cannes Film Festival. Tuhus was manager for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation‘s department NRK Drama from 1994 to 2000.
One of the most interesting voices to emerge in the last few years in Norway is that of writer-director Paul Tunge. He has made a string of micro budget feature films, as well as documentaries on architecture. His latest feature Du (You), is about a dysfunctional couple channelling the darker sides of contemporary popular culture. It has been described as a stunning achievement.
Tyldum built his career directing film and TV series in his native Norway before he caught the eye of Hollywood with his local hit Headhunters. He went on to direct the wartime drama The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.
His latest work is the legal drama series Defending Jacob with Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery and JK Simmons for Apple TV+. The filmmaker’s further credits include the sci-fi romance Passengers, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Tyldum lives with his girlfriend and son in Los Angeles.
Liv Ullmann (Born 16 December, 1938)
Liv Ullmann’s father was a Norwegian engineer who used to work abroad, so as a child she lived in Tokyo, Canada, New York and Oslo. In the mid-’50s she made her stage debut and in 1957 made her film debut. She really became successful, however, when she began to work for Swedish director Ingmar Bergman.
Ullmann made her New York City stage debut in 1975 also in A Doll’s House. Appearances in Anna Christie and Ghosts followed, as well as the less than successful musical version of I Remember Mama. This show, composed by Richard Rodgers, experienced numerous revisions during a long preview period, then closed after 108 performances. She also featured in the widely deprecated musical movie remake of Lost Horizon during 1973. In 1977, when she appeared on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre in Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie
In 2004, Ullmann revealed that she had received an offer in November 2003 to play in three episodes of the popular American series, Sex and the City. She was amused by the offer, and said that it was one of the few programs she regularly watched, but she turned it down. Later that year, Steven Soderbergh wrote a role in the movie Ocean’s 12 especially for her, but she also turned that down.
Ullmann’s first film as a director was Sofie (1992); her friend and former co-actor, Erland Josephson, starred in it. She later directed the Bergman-composed movie Faithless (2000). Faithless garnered nominations for both the Palme d’Or and Best Actress category at the Cannes Film Festival.
Later she directed Blanchett in the play A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, at the Sydney Theatre Company in Sydney, which was performed September through October 2009, and then continued from 29 October to 21 November 2009 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., where it won a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Non-resident Production as well as actress and supporting performer for 2009. The play was also performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York.
In 2013, Ullmann directed a film adaptation of Miss Julie. The film, released in September 2014, stars Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton. It was widely praised by the Norwegian press.
Roar Uthaug (Born 25 August, 1973)
Uthaug was graduated from the Norwegian Film School in 2002. His director debut was Fritt Vilt in 2006. Then came Flukt (2012), The Wave (2015) and in 2018 he directed Tomb Raider starring Alicia Vikander, Dominic West and Walton Goggins.
Netflix has greenlighted Troll, a Norwegian monster movie from Tomb Raider and The Wave director Roar Uthaug. Netflix plans to release Troll worldwide in 2022. An exact release date is still to be announced.
The film, inspired by Scandinavian legend, imagines a gigantic creature awakens from within the Norwegian mountains, where it has been trapped for 1,000 years. Enraged, the huge troll rampages through the countryside, en route to the Norwegian capital of Oslo.
Gunnar Vikene (Born 23 March, 1966)
Gunnar Vikene directed his first feature film, FALLING SKY (HIMMELFALL) in 2002 which received both critical acclaim and was a box-office success. In 2005 he directed all episodes of the TV-series «RAN» – (Gullruten – «Best TV-drama 2005») His following feature films – TRIGGER (2007), VEGAS (2009).
Tobias Santelmann (Marcella, Acquitted) and Ellen Dorrit Petersen (Blind) had the title roles in Falling Sky. The story focuses on policeman Nikolai Andreassen (Santelmann), asked to investigate a suicide in his hometown. When he discovers that the suicide is in fact a murder, Nikolai is faced with a dilemma that forces him into the grey area between right and wrong, and away from his moral principles.
Vegas (2009) is the story of Thomas, Marianne and Terje – three teenagers with nowhere to go. After witnessing his mother being beaten up, Thomas is sent to a young people’s refuge. No one will tell him where his brother is, and Thomas vows to find him. At the refuge, he meets Marianne, who is always screwing up, and Terje, who seems like he’s from another planet altogether. The three of them find they share a common dream, and together they embark on a journey of love, hate and trust. No one ends up where they planned, but everyone finds a home.
Except Blind, All of the three other films were directed by Joachim Trier from scripts written by Vogt and Trier. He wrote and directed the drama film Blind, which was screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and received the World Cinema Screenwriting Award.The film was awarded the Europa Cinemas Label at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.
Wirkola is an established filmmaker who easily takes on various roles in the filmmaking process. Raised in Norway and being of Finnish Sami heritage, Wirkola tends to create movies about his culture. His career began in 2007 when he wrote, directed, produced and starred in the satirical action-thriller Kill Buljo: The Movie, a Norwegian parody of Quentin Tarintino’s Kill Bill movies. Two years later, he again took on the role of writer, director, producer and actor for the zombie horror comedy Dead Snow about an army of Nazi zombies haunting the woods in contemporary Norway.
Wirkola made his English-language directorial debut with Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton in the title roles. He both directed and wrote the screenplay for the movie. His next projects are sequels to both Dead Snow and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.
73-year-old Edvard Hægstad starred in the film “Tuba Atlantic,” bought a tuxedo and traveled to LA to join in the Academy Awards celebrations.
“I’m neither disappointed nor sorry, well, maybe both, but really not,” a slightly dazed Hallvar Witzø told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) after the film he’d made as a student in Lillehammer, Tuba Atlantic, failed to win an Oscar.
“Just being nominated is something I’ll always be, and the journey the film has been on is so fantastic that not actually skimming the cream isn’t such a big letdown as one might think,” Witzø added in a press statement.
Losing to an Irish short film didn’t stop Witzø, his family, colleagues and friends from partying at the Four Seasons Hotel n Los Angeles with around another 100 Norwegian guests.
The film tells the story of an elderly farmer named Oskar who lives alone on a wind-swept island off the Norwegian coast. One day he falls ill near his tractor, goes to a doctor and is told he only has six days to live, and then desperately tries to renew contact with his estranged brother who emigrated to the US. The two hadn’t been in contact for 30 years, following a dispute over inheritance.
Oskar tries calling his brother in New Jersey but the number he had was no longer valid. With the help of a young social worker sent to help Oskar get through the dying process, he uncovers and uses a giant tuba he and his brother had made as children. The goal is to send a message through a tuba so large that it will be heard on the other side of the Atlantic.
Hisham Zaman (Born 1975)
Zaman is a director and writer, known for Bawke (2005) and Before Snowfall (2013). A sixteen-year-old boy gets wrapped in plastic, and lowered into a tank truck full of crude oil. That’s how Hisham Zaman’s long awaited feature film debut begins. Then comes Letter to the King (2014). Letter to the King portrays five people on a day trip from a refugee camp to Oslo, a welcome change in an otherwise monotonous life. But we soon realize that each and every one of them has an agenda for their trip. All five will make decisive choices on this day, as they discover happiness, humiliation, love or fulfill a long-awaited revenge. The five stories are tied together by a letter, written by eighty-three- year-old Mirza. Mirza wants to hand over the letter to the King personally.
Kurdish-Norwegian director Hisham Zaman’s low-budget second film won the top Dragon Award at the Goteborg Film Festival, a five stories featuring Kurds from a refugee center who are allowed to roam the Oslo streets for a day are woven together to form a rich tapestry in Letter to the King.
The film’s only 75 minutes long, which means that each of the five interconnected storylines has less than 15 minutes to introduce the characters, develop their conflicts and bring their stories to a close. But Zaman does so beautifully, further confirming he’s a storyteller of significant economy and observational skill as well as talent.
Short film The Boy in the Picture (2016) and producer of Half Dog (2019).
Harald Zwart (Born as Harald Johan Zwart 1 July, 1965)
Harald Zwart is a director and producer, known for Agent Cody Banks (2003), The Karate Kid (2010) The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013) and The 12. Man (2017)
About “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”: When her mother disappears, Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called the Shadow World.
Having directed hundreds of commercials since 1998, André made the transition to feature films with his critically acclaimed film “The Troll Hunter” in 2010. This caught the attention of Hollywood and led to his international debut, directing the horror feature “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” starring Emily Hirsch and Brian Cox. Author Stephen King included this film on his list of all-time favorite horror movies along with classics such as Alien, Jaws and Psycho(!).
In 2018 he was busy with post-production on his next big feature “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark”, produced by Guillermo Del Toro.
Cross-Boarding Norwegian Film Directors, compiled by Daily Scandinavian
Feature image (on top): From Netflix’ Troll, directed by Roar Uthaug