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‘The Snowman,’ ‘Downsizing’ Tap Into Norwegian Film Incentives

Swedish director Tomas Alfredson’s U.K.-U.S. production of “The Snowman,” starring Michael Fassbender, and “Downsizing” from U.S. helmer Alexander Payne directly spent $24 million in Norway during their Norwegian location shoots. They were the first two international features shot in Norway to receive funding from the new state incentive program to attract foreign film and TV productions.

According to a preliminary report by Norway’s Olsberg SPI Consultancy, which was published Aug. 22 at a production seminar during the 44th Norwegian Intl. Film Festival in Haugesund, the two productions also created 142 full-time equivalent jobs with a total of $12.7 million payroll costs (generating $4 millon tax income for the state).

Financial consultant Andrew Barnes, of Olsberg SPI, presented the report, which was based on the budgets of the two films, recommending the incentive scheme be expanded from $5.5 million in the first year started March 1, 2016, to cover up to four international productions. It should also back a program to increase the skill level of local film workers.

International productions filming in Norway can apply for 25% reimbursement of approved expenditure in the country.

For the first round the Norwegian Film Institute received four applications totaling $46.6 million; “The Snowman” received the lion’s share of its budget, $5 million, while the money went to “Downsizing.” ” ‘The Snowman’ stood out due to the international market potential, the size and quality of the Norwegian share of the project,” said Stine Helgeland, he institute’s director of promotion and international relations.

Starring Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Val Kilmer and Charlotte Gainsbourg, with Norway’s Jakob Oftebro and Sweden’s Sofia Helin, “The Snowman” is scripted by Hossein Amini and Matthew Carnahan from Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s thriller about the anti-authority, anti-sobriety Oslo detective Harry Hole.

Hole is searching for a missing woman — the only trace left of her is her pink scarf, worn by a snowman in the yard. He finds out that over the last decade, 11 women have vanished on the day of the first snow; then he receives an anonymous letter signed the Snowman.

Shooting took place between Jan. 18 and early March with a 160 crew — including 100 Norwegians and up to 1,700 local extras — in Oslo, Bergen and Rjukan (in the Telemark region). Produced by the U.K.’s Working Title and Hollywood’s Universal Pictures, the film will open on Oct. 13, 2017.

Reducing the Norwegian shooting period after limited incentive funding, Payne’s “Downsizing” was filming earlier this month August around the Troll fjord the Flo fjell in Western Norway, and Lofoten further up north. Payne and Jim Taylor wrote the social satire about a man who realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself. Matt Damon stars Kristen Wiig, Alec Baldwin, Christoph Waltz, and Neil Patrick Harris. Pic did the bulk of its shooting in Nebraska and other North American locations. “Downsizing” is produced by Annapurna Pictures and Paramount Pictures, and will be launched late 2017.

 

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