HAUGESUND, Norway — Amanda winner and Nordic Council Film Prize Norwegian nominee Izer Aliu is directing the new film “Teacher Ilaz and the Lottery Heist” in Skopje, Macedonia. LevelK is handling international sales.
Albanian-born, Norway-based writer-director Aliu has just been bestowed at Haugesund’s Norwegian Intl. Film Festival, with the Amanda award for best director for his feature debut “Hunting Flies,” also nominated for the coveted Nordic Council Film Prize for 2017.
His third film, with the working title of “Teacher Ilaz and the Lottery Heist “ mixes for the first time a string of local non-professional and professional actors including Astrit Alihajdaraj (“Agnus Dei”), and well-known Kosovo actor-producer Naser Rafuna.
Using “Hunting Flies” techniques of improvisation to catch a spontaneity in acting, the crime drama will challenge the traditions of genre cinema and question the true meaning of friendship.
The project is produced by Aliu’s usual partner Khalid Maimouni for his newly-founded company The End, with backing from sales agent LevelK and Norwegian distributor Europa Film.
“We ‘ve started shooting a pilot in Kosovo and are now applying for support from the Norwegian Film Institute, the producer told Variety. He is hoping to deliver the film in 2019.
Both Maimouni and Aliu share a similar path in life as immigrants who settled in Norway, driven by a passion for important stories to tell.
“We share a lot, but perhaps the most important is what we don’t share. Izer is a brilliant visionary storyteller and director,” noted the Morocco-born producer.
Maimouni has two other Aliu feature films in his pipeline, starting with “12 Dares”, currently in post-production. Described by the producer as Aliu’s most personal film, set in the multi-cultural community of Ryd in Sweden, the coming-of-age story focuses on a 16 year-old boy who has to do 12 misdeeds to prove his loyalty to his mates. “12 Dares” is co-produced by Norway’s Mer Film and Sweden’s Zentropa International, with co-financing from Film i Väst among others. Delivery is set for early 2018.
The next Aliu project and his most ambitious to date is “Song of Scabs”, an elevated historical drama about one of Norway’s biggest mining strikes at the turn of the last century. “At its core, it’s a film about loyalty and trust,” said the producer who cites Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” as a key source of inspiration.
Another feature project in The End’s line-up is the first Sami feature for children, “Savé-the Last of the First”, inspired by ancient Sami legends. The adventure fantasy film is handled by LevelK and scheduled to start production in 2019.