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Nordic films trending toward wild fantasy

A new wave of Nordic noir hits markets

Norwegian Ninjas, Swedish vampires and a Finnish pic about a bunch of Nazis on the moon: a colorful nightmare, or the latest crop from the Nordic film industry?

Alongside the Scandi crime movie wave, there’s plenty more northern European weirdness headed to screen.

Norway’s “Troll Hunters,” Andre Ovredal’s debut about a group of men hunting down giant trolls the government wants kept secret, is just the tip of a Nordic fantasy iceberg.

The film debut was picked up by UPI for Europe and Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Mangolia for U.S. and has been playing to packed cinemas in Norway since it opened there in October, with 280,000 viewers so far.

But there’s more on the way for film fans who like their reality smorgasbord-style.

“Norwegian Ninja” — local title “Kommandor Treholt & Ninjatroppen” — is another Norwegian debut, by Thomas Cappelen Malling. Sales agent Celluloid Nightmares has told it to territories that include U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany and Austria.

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It goes a step further and uses Norway’s biggest ever espionage case — the 1984 trial of Arne Treholt, a diplomat convicted of spying for Russia and sentenced to 20 years in prison – as the starting point for a fantasy about a U.S. military attempt to take over Norway.

“Perhaps this is a generational thing,” says producer Eric Vogel or Torden Film. “We grew up during the Cold War and have a nostalgia for a certain kind of film and society.”

Vogel says the Norwegian horror movies, such as slasher pic “Cold Prey” and “Dead Snow” — where Nazi zombies bring a chill to a skiing holiday — have laid the ground for the new wave of Nordic noir.

Sweden — where more old fashioned crime stories are currently dominant — has also done its bit. Tomas Alfredson’s stylish vampire picture “Let The Right One In” has already spawned a US remake.

But it might be the Finns — known for filmic weirdness (titles such as sci fi Santa Claus romp “Rare Exports” spring to mind) — who take the biscuit.

“Iron Sky” a $10 million Finnish-German-Australian comic fantasy about Nazis on the moon hell bent on invading earth to take revenge for defeat in World War Two wrapped shooting a week ago.

Producer Tero Kaukomaa, of Blind Spot Pictures, who has been filming the reaction of market buyers to his two minute promo trailer to put up on the web for the delectation of the film’s million strong on-line fan base, says the Finns can find humor in anything.

“It was a bit of a challenges with German distributors at first and our teaser got pulled from the German site for YouTube, but I’m sure all shall be fine for the world premiere in Tampere, next year,” he said, referring to the provincial Finnish city that is home to the film’s director Timo Vuorensola.

Pic has already notched up by the UK’s Stealth Media Group for Australia, New Zealand, much of Europe and some Asian territories, he added.

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