Norwegian Ninja: Year One

Hi all,

the Norwegian Ninja show is still on the road, with the US release today the 30th of August and loads of festival screenings ahead. Nevertheless, a year has passed since the Norwegian premiere and I’d like to share some moments with you!


The official Oslo premiere was preceded by an unofficial premiere in my 20.000 man strong hometown of Kongsvinger, the Fortified town by the Glomma knee! It was fulfilling to finally offer something other than teenage delinquency to the community. The sensation of hanging out with actors Mads and Amund, composer Gaute, producer Eric, distributor Kjetil, family members, several generations of friends from the hometown and a bunch of friends from Oslo at the after-party in the very house my family has lived in for some 140 years… was very special. The energy of a music festival combined with the intimacy of a camp-fire made me feel like my 12-year-old self and my great grandfather at the same time.

Above: After-party at Malling gården in Kongvinger. Thanks again to everyone who took the time!

A couple of days later there was the party for the cast and crew – the official premiere at the Colosseum, Oslo. Having been away from the cast and crew during a long post-production period, it was great to have the team back together again.


In my mind, Q&A’s are the reason for attending a festival. Q&A’s tend to be a lot of fun, and I’m sure you can imagine what a privilege it is to get feedback and thoughts on something you care a lot about in direct conversation with people from around the world. The one in Trieste, Italy was amazing. If you were there, you’ll agree that for a while we felt like “We could take on the whole Empire ourselves” (here referring to Berlusconi’s Italy) to quote the best movie ever made. Which reminds me, the screening in LA was at the Chinese Mann Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, the same place Star Wars premiered in 1977. No tabi imprints next to R2D2’s wheels though.

The most exotic screening however must have been at Sommerfesten, Giske where we screened at the world’s only row-in cinema! People in yachts and kajaks were watching from
 the water and the rest of us were watching this huge screen from land. An amazing outdoor experience with people drinking and smoking what they had brought with them. You must go there next year!

Fantastic Fest in Austin 2010 was amazing. We won best Actor for Mads and best Director in the Next Wave competition. Founder Tim League and the rest of the FF Austin people really know how to put on a show – you must go there! However read producer Eric’s festival tips first.

Above: Fantastic Fest 2010. Founder Tim League to the left, Elijah Wood in there somewhere. Representative from Norway is the guy with two mugs because Mads nailed best actor for us.

The movie has screened at:

Fantastic Fest 2010, Austin, USA (International Premiére); Sommerfesten 2010, Giske, Norway; New Nordic Films, Haugesund, Norway 2010; Slash Film Festival 2010, Vienna, Austria; Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival 2010, Sitges, Spain; Science + Fiction 2011, Trieste, Italy; Indonesia Fantastic Film Festival 2010, Jakarta, Indonesia; Festival du Nouveau Cinema 2010, Montréal, Canada; AFI Fest 2010, Los Angeles, USA; Norwegian Cinema Days 2011, Moscow, Russia; Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival 2011, Tallinn, Estonia; Spies On Screen Special Event, International Spy Museum, Washington DC, USA; New Horizons Film Festival 2011, Wroclaw, Poland; Rio Fantastic Festival 2011, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Espoo Ciné 2011, Espoo, Finland, Fantasy Film Fest 2011, various cities, Germany.

Next up is Lund International Fantastic Film Festival 2011, Lund, Sweden. There are lots more to come, but they are not announced yet.


Reviews and ratings are important to a debuting filmmaker because he/she needs some third party evidence to prove that he/she isn’t a (here:) raving lunatic!! Other than that – what do we think of reviews? I don’t know. How about you? A Facebook-friend clustered movies with the same ranking as us just for fun. And according to our biggest National newspaper’s list of their 250 most recently reviewed movies, Norwegian Ninja is…

…Better than:
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, “Captain America”, “Cars II”, “Green Lantern”, “The Bambi Effect”, “Help we’re in the Movie Biz”, “Hanna”, “Transformers III”, “X-Men: First Class”, “Thor”, “Amors Balls”, “Pax”, “Norwegian Wood”, “The Mountain”, the “Varg Veum” movies, “Sykt Lykkelig”, “Troll Hunter” and more.

…As good as:
“Oslo, 31. August”, “Hodejegerne”, “Harry Potter 7 part 2″, “Blue Valentine”, “Castaway on the moon”, “Rango”, “Anne + Jørgen = True”, “Melancholia”, “Black Swan”, “King of Bastøy”, “Nokas”, “Inception” and more.

…Worse than:
“Navals Secret – Indecencies”, “The King’s speech” and “I en bedre verden”.

Hmm – if nothing else, reviews – like statistics and other things that are assigned a value – can be a deceptive tool. Remember the camp-fire scene where coachman reached enlightenment – Every hot dog is “best”…

Above: People talking about Arne Treholt.


Collaborating with the team Eric at Tordenfilm set up to make this movie was a massive learning experience and a great deal of fun. If I made Norwegian Ninja again it would be completely different. Maybe it’s a good thing we (not you George) only get one shot at each project. Knowing myself I’d probably fall for the temptation of removing all the movie’s shortcomings and probably make it even worse somehow!

Above: My favourite picture from the production. It features all of us - under immense pressure yet on a positive vibe we managed to keep till the end - imitating VFX-Supervisor Ludvig (Ludde) Friberg. When ever he did his "I dunno but..." expression when we had a problem, we knew he was right. In the end, whenever he gesticulated like this, we dropped everything and did as he said.

As far as the post-premiere year goes, the key benefit of the past twelve months has without a doubt been making new friends in Norway and all over the world, especially at festivals but also through social media. Indeed it is gratifying that the movie continues to find it’s way to inclined individuals across the world and to get to know them and hang out with them again as fate or luck re-connects us! Fortunately the world is becoming a smaller place and it’s easier than ever to reach out to and support each other.

That’s good news for all of us.
Happy Birthday Norwegian Ninja!

Sincerely yours,