What is your film commission’s mission?
We work to promote Western Norway as a destination for international film and tv productions. We help international producers finding locations, production partners and local film professionals, and help identifying and evaluating financing opportunities (such as cash rebates and co-production funds). We also work in tandem with the regional film fund, who supports local production and skills development of the local workforce.
What makes your film commission unique?
Western Norway – and all of Scandinavia – is an extremely film friendly region. Scandinavia is after all the global benchmark for the quality and expedience of public services. Local communities roll out the red carpet for visiting film crews. Scandinavia has many unique qualities: The special Nordic light and midnight sun, lean and efficient film crews, not to mention cities boasting a very interesting cultural life: It’s no secret that Scandinavian creatives are pushing the envelope in film, gastronomy, music, and fashion.
Western Norway’s hallmark is the unique fjord landscape with glacier-clad mountains, towering waterfalls, exciting architecture and coastal cities, and numerous locations still to be discovered by the global film industry. You can go from summer to winter, from city to mountains within an hour. Western Norway might be at its best when being itself, but can double for Greenland, Alaska, the Himalayas, Siberia, Antarctic and more. Come May and June and you can still shoot snow scenes in the mountains, and colourful summer scenes an hour’s drive down to the fjord. And the sun is up over 20 hours.
What are some perks to filming in your location?
Norway introduced a new 25% cash rebate in 2016 targeting large-scale projects. The response has been remarkable, and we are expecting to see an even stronger incentive programme in 2017.
For independent filmmakers there are several selective co-production funds. If you tick the right boxes and find the right Norwegian partner, you can find soft money to cover over 50% of the Norwegian production spend, and this goes for feature films as well as documentaries.
Are there any projects you would like to promote? Links?
We are extremely happy with the success of Alex Garland’s stunning Ex Machina. It shot with us in 2013, became a cult hit, and propelled the location, Juvet Landscape Hotel, to global stardom. Ex Machina shows that the right location can give a project a unique production value, outweighing potentially cheaper locations.
I would also like to mention Sunshine Superman, an indie feature documentary by Marah Strauch. Sunshine Superman shows that Norway can be a fertile ground for independent filmmakers, creatively, technically and financially. The doc managed to access public funding from four different funds in Norway.
Last, but not least, we are very proud of the first two projects shooting in Norway with the new cash rebate, The Snowman from Universal Pictures / Working Title Films, and Downsizing from Paramount Pictures, helmed by Tomas Alfredson and Alexander Payne respectively. Two remarkable and interesting directors with amazing films, and a fantastic start for the new cash rebate programme.
What marketing materials did you submit to the Creativity Awards?
We submitted our new location teaser: www.theaudienceawards.com/films/wnfc-83953
We found that the footage and the locations speak for themselves, so we didn’t add any fancy graphics or promotional blurbs. We left it as a kind of «blank canvas», giving the audience some space to weave their own characters and location needs into the story.
Anything else you would like the world to know about your film commission?
The cash rebate shows that there’s a very interesting position for Western Norway on the global production map. We are excited about 2017, and we will host several location and familiarization tours to introduce our undiscovered and easily accessible locations to the industry. So, if you are a filmmaker excited about taking your project to spectacular locations bathing in eternal daylight – and backed by generous incentives, get in touch!
Voting for the AFCI Creativity Awards opens Aug 02, 2016 at 8:00am PDT (America/Los Angeles) and closes Aug 19, 2016 at 8:00pm PDT (America/Los Angeles.)
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