Zürich- and Berlin-based sales outlet First Hand Films has acquired world rights (excluding Norway) for Håvard Bustnes’ “Name of the Game” ahead of its world premiere in IDFA’s Frontlight section, Variety has learned. The director’s previous credits include IDFA 2017 competition entry “Golden Dawn Girls” and “Two Raging Grannies.”
Bustnes’ new effort centers on controversial politician Trond Giske, who was for many years the “crown prince” of the Norwegian Labor Party. When his left-wing party loses popularity and the #MeToo movement raises awareness about sexual harassment, however, the tide turns for the once so popular Giske. Long-standing rumors of inappropriate behavior toward young party members are thrown into sharp relief when a number of women accuse him of sexual assault. The flood of media attention, leaked videos and testimonials, and the ensuing political power struggle, bring about his downfall.
Nevertheless, Giske decides to travel the country in a self-refurbished caravan painted red to convince his voters that he deserves a second chance. Bustnes follows him in this tour, while at the same time interviewing politicians and journalists who look back on the political drama. The director wrestles to understand how he himself has become an object of Giske’s game of power and seduced into this political world of grooming, gaslighting and manipulation.
Bustnes said: “To me, this film is about how easy it is for powerful people to maintain consensus through silence and suppression. It is a film about a political culture with its own set of laws. A culture where abuse of power for one’s own personal gain has gone on for decades. A culture that does not live up to our current moral standards.”
Commenting on the acquisition, First Hand Films’ founder and CEO Esther van Messel said: “We are mesmerized by the craft and the dramatic storytelling of Håvard Bustnes’ latest film. We’re always curious to get a look behind the scenes and ‘Name of the Game’ is an absolutely captivating one.”
“Name of the Game” was produced by Christian Aune Falch, Ingrid Galadriel Aune Falch and Bustnes for Oslo-based UpNorth Film. The feature is set for a theatrical release in Norway in March 2022. First Hand Films’ recent acquisitions include festival hits such as Thomas Robsahm’s “A-HA – The Movie,” and Joonas Neuvonen and Sadri Cetinkaya’s “Lost Boys.”