Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Norwegian epic to open Film Festival

On January 25, Norway's Oscar entry, Kon-Tiki, will open the 36th edition of the Göteborg International Film Festival. Kon-Tiki was made by the directors behind the previous film success, Max Manus, and is Norway's biggest and most expensive film production to date. For the first time, the festival's opening film will be screened at several theaters simultaneously. Both the directors and actors will be visiting the festival.

Kon-Tiki is about the young Norwegian researcher and adventurer, Thor Heyerdahl, who in 1947 sets out on a sensational expedition to prove that the small islands in Polynesia were populated by people from South America—not from Asia as the prevailing theory claims. Despite his fear of water and poor swimming skills he gathers a crew to sail 4,300 nautical miles on Kon-Tiki, a raft built according to an ancient design of balsa wood, reeds, bamboo shoots and banana leaves. For three months the isolated crew sails the ocean while fighting sharks, raging hurricanes and scorching sun. The journey is punctuated by dramatic twists where they risk losing all, but in the end, as we already know, Heyerdahl proves that faith can move mountains.

– Kon-Tiki is a classic and inspiring adventure that will seize the public with its visual innovation, its ingenuity and its delight in filmmaking, the festival's artistic director, Marit Kapla, says.

Visiting the festival and attending the opening ceremony are the film's directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning, producer Aage Aaberge, executive producer Lone Korslund and actor Gustaf Skarsgård. A press conference with all guests from the film will be held at Stora Teatern on Saturday, January 26.

By tradition, the opening film will be shown at Cinema Draken, the film festival's main theater and largest auditorium. However, we have exciting news – the opening film will be shown at three other locations: Stora Teatern in Göteborg, Röda Kvarn in Borås and Biograf Odeon in Skövde. The opening ceremony will take place at Draken before the film, but each theater will broadcast the opening speech and awards live, thanks to the festival's sponsor Telia.

– Tickets to the opening film usually sell out in just a few minutes, so we're happy to be able to offer three extra auditoriums this year and to use new technology to spread Draken's festival mood to other places. The audience in the greater Västra Götaland region is important to the festival and for that reason it's a lot fun to be present in Borås and Skövde for the first time, Marit Kapla says.

The festival will also screen the documentary Kon-Tiki från 1950, which was made by Thor Heyerdahl himself. The film won an Oscar for the best documentary in 1951. The festival, in cooperation with the Kon-Tiki Museum, will show an exhibit with pictures from the expedition. 

The Göteborg International Film Festival is the largest film festival in the Nordic countries. Each year circa 450 films from about 70 countries are shown to around 34,000 visitors. The next festival runs from January 25 to February 4, 2013. 

Facts about Kon-Tiki:
Director: Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning
Screenplay: Petter Skavlan
Starring: Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen, Odd-Magnus Williamson, Tobias Santelmann, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Jakob Oftebro and Gustaf Skarsgård.
Producers: Aage Aaberge, Nordisk Film Production and Jeremy Thomas, Recorded Picture Company. 
Distribution: Nordisk Film 
Swedish cinema release: March 22, 2013

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