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‘Lilyhammer’ Producer Rubicon To Shoot ‘Maniac’

Head of Scripted Anne Kolbjornsen explains Norwegian TV rise

‘Lilyhammer’ Producer Rubicon Shoot ‘Maniac’

GOTEBORG — Anne Kolbjornsen at Rubicon TV has in production the internationally acclaimed ”The Third Eye” and the Norwegian shows ”Kasim Bader” and ”Maniac,” the latter a new TV series to be shot in ten 30-minute episodes beginning in early March.

Behind “Maniac” are Hakon Bast Mossige and Espen PA Lervaag, both of whom will write, direct and star in the drama, which carries the tagline “everyday loser/fantasy hero.”

”It will be a high-quality drama about a young man who’s living a fantastic life, but only in his dreams, in his fantasy world,” said Kolbjornsen. “In real life, he gets locked up at an institution, with a psychologist trying to win him back to reality.”

“The American dream has gained its foothold in Norwegian culture. It is this issue we want to investigate. Espen, of course, takes this to an extreme, of imagining being loved by everyone around him. Every day appears like a party, and there’s no limit to what he was experiencing. But it’s simply too good to be true.”

“Espen has escaped into his own head and lives out his dream life there, which he shares with Hakon, his best friend. But is it really that bad? At present, he is the top. Until Mina, the new psychologist begins to needle him. And Espen must redefine what life he wants to live.”

Budgeted at NKr 10 million ($1.3 million), the series will air on TV2 Norway, and be sold internationally by Nordic World.

Kolbjornsen<http://www.giff.se/en/keynote-speakers-0> has previously worked for the two of the largest broadcasters in Norway, TV2 and pubcaster NRK.

At TV Drama Vision, a seminar taking place at the Nordic Film Market at Goteborg Film Festival, she will give her views on rising Norwegian TV drama.

”Norwegian drama is experiencing a super boost internationally, where Swedish and Danish drama – the Scandi Noir – has paved the way,” said Kolbjornsen.

Another important trend Kolbjornsen sees is film producers going into TV, and she underlines Netflix’s importance and the central role of Internet distibution, as on “Lilyhammer,” a stellar example of programming for a global audience.

“At Rubicon TV we believe in taking universal themes and adding a more local, quirky twist. ‘Lilyhammer’ is the prototype, as well as ‘Fargo’ abroad. In this specific landscape, we believe there’s an audience need to satisfy.”

Rubicon TV will continue to work exclusively with original ideas, “to great advantage in the long run,” according to Kolbjornsen. The creators of “Lilyhammer”, Eilif Skodvin and Anne Bjornstad, are currently working on developing a new drama series. And the author and creative producer Ole Marius Araldsen behind “The Third Eye” is also developing a new international series, political thriller “Svalbard.”

Shine International has sold the first season of “The Third Eye” to Latin America, Scandinavia and New Zealand, and the second season will start shooting in mid-February and air locally in TV 2.

Both Norwegian TV and film are experiencing a rise in quality. Won’t Rubicon enter the film industry?

“There’s been many fine examples of Norwegian films lately, but the audience doesn’t go to the theaters. TV and Internet distribution is growing steadily stronger, and therefore we’re happy to be in the landscape we’re currently in because drama series is a format where we have more time to tell our stories and explore the characters,” said Kolbjornsen.