‘Kon-Tiki’ sets sail for the Oscars

Norway selects adventure drama for foreign film race

LONDON — Norway has selected Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning’s “Kon-Tiki” as its candidate in the foreign-language film Oscar contest.

The pic follows the 1947 expedition of anthropologist and explorer Thor Heyerdahl, as he sailed from South America to the Polynesian Islands on a wooden raft.

“‘Kon-Tiki’ is an adventurous account of a single man’s ambition to make his mark on history by drawing a map larger than himself,” said the Norwegian Oscar Committee, which also had Arild Andresen’s “The Orheim Company” and Dag Johan Haugerud’s “I Belong” on its shortlist.

“Sandberg and Ronning emphasize the narrative format of the epic, with space for the detail, the individual and the small story set in a universal context. Strong performances, especially by lead actor in Pal Sverre Hagen, contribute to create intimacy in a broad history,” the committee added.

The pic premiered in August at the Norwegian Film Festival in Haugesund, and also screened at the Toronto Film Festival.

It is on course to become the biggest Norwegian film of the year. After its third weekend, it has pulled in 551,000 admissions and grossed $8.82 million from 118 screens, which in a country of fewer than 5 million people is a major feat.

The pic is Norway’s most expensive feature ever, with a $16.1 million budget.

It was scripted by Petter Skavlan, and produced by Aage Aaberge for Nordisk Film, and Jeremy Thomas for Recorded Picture Company, whose sales arm, Hanway Films, is handling international sales.

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