International premiére at Fantastic Fest

Tonight we present our film for an international audience for the very first time! “Norwegian Ninja” is part of this year’s line-up at Fantastic Fest in Austin, the largest genre film festival in the US, “specializing in sci-fi, action and just plain fantastic movies from all around the world.”

We’re competing in the Next Wave section, highlighting fresh directors and films from all over the world, as well as participating in a special Norwegian Focus, that naturally comprises a big viking themed party on a boat next week…

The screening tonight will be held in the legendary Alamo Drafthouse cinema here in Austin, which I personally have wanted to visit for years. We simply can’t think of a better venue or festival to begin presenting the film internationally.

Director Thomas and myself have arrived in Austin now and are about to go to the Alamo and pick up our festival accreditation etc. This will be a lot of fun! We’ll try to report back how things went down later.

Soundtrack album is here!

Post updated on August 21, 2011.

We’re happy to announce that Gaute Tønder’s amazing score is now available!
The release is by Grappa Musikkforlag.

The album is available for both national and international fans at several online outlets, including:

iTunes Store (Norway)
iTunes Store (US. Other nationalities: do a search for “ninjatroppen” in your local store)
Musikk Online (Norway)
Wimp (Norway) (International) (International)
Spotify (Some countries)

This is an incomplete list – check your favorite outlet and chances are you’ll find it.

Album tracklist:

01            Ninjatroppens Opplysningsfilm
02            Treholts Tema
03            Hardanger
04            Siste Nytt
05            Stay Behind Rekrutteringsfilm
06            Humlas Tema (Grillstranda)
07            Ninjatroppens Opptaksprøve
08            Svarte-Pers Tema
09            Leirbål
10            Nattclub
11            The Star Spangled Banner
12            Lofotfjella / Oppdrag i Nordsjøen
13            Den Usynlige Skikkelsen
14            Nedtelling
15            Requiem
16            Humlas Flukt
17            Slaget om Gressholmen
18            Død og Levende
19            Mesterens Plan
20            Operasjon Saganatt
21            Oppgjør på Rådhustaket
22            Dommen
23            Løp Humla Løp
24            Norwegian Ninja (Cosmic Disco Version)

Total playing time: 45 minutes
Catalog number: GRCD 4341

Several cues appear in longer versions on this album than in the film itself!

In case you want to know more about what you’re in for, here’s the disco swingin’ official music video for Norwegian Ninja (Cosmic Disco Version)!

To get another taste, here’s a video from our special pre-premiére event at Eldorado Kino on August 11th 2010, where Gaute himself conducted the 12-piece Gressholmen Salong & Ninjaorkester who performed the first two tracks live.

Haute-couture: Ragnhild Umbraco

"Ragnhild Umbraco" as portrayed by Linn Stokke. Photo from the film by Trond Høines. Click to enlarge.

Although the feminine and elegant attire of Ragnhild Umbraco, the Ninjas’ gunsmith and tools-supplier starkly contrasts the uniforms worn by her Ninjas, there are two similarities: Hand-embroidery and camouflage.

Designer Monica Kvasnes supported the work of our costume designer Sofie Rage Larsen by creating Umbraco’s clothing. Majestic yet simple, archaic yet sexy, Umbraco’s clothing is a functional interpretation of the traditional Norwegian national costume, the “bunad“. Indeed, remodeling original Norwegian embroidered table-cloths from the previous century, Ms. Kvasnes has created some of the most exquisite clothes I’ve seen. Perfectly appropriate for a Norwegian alpha-woman, at one with nature – in the storm of history – deep in the Lofoten mountains.

Below please find some of Monica’s designs. Enjoy!

Some of Monica Kvasnes' creations. Click to enlarge.
Helge Korsnes as "Han Som Sover", Linn Stokke as "Ragnhild Umbraco". Photo from the film by Trond Høines.

Character gallery

It’s opening day! Here’s a special treat.

Click on the images to enlarge.

Photos: Ellen Ugelstad
Graphic design: Alen Grujic

Event photos

Thanks to everyone who came out to see us in Bergen, Trondheim and Oslo these past couple days!
If you were at any of the events, feel free to share your own photos and thoughts in the comments below.

From Tuesday’s concert with Gressholmen Salong & Ninjaorkester at Eldorado Kino in Oslo:

Ninja orchestra prep. Photo by Eric Vogel.
Concert start, in the presence of a flying Commander Treholt. Photo by Eric Vogel.
The excellent orchestra played a 15 minute set of soundtrack selectons. Photo by: Eric Vogel.

Composer Gaute Tønder conducted with a steady hand (and a sai sword). Photo by Eric Vogel.

From Wednesday’s panel at Familien in Trondheim:

From left: interviewer Einar Aarvig, director Thomas Cappelen Malling, lead actor Mads Ousdal, producer Eric Vogel. Photo by: Anett Fondevik.
The venue and the crowd were excellent. We only had an hour before we had to catch a flight - wish we had a couple more so we could hang out. Next time! Photo by Anett Fondevik.

August 10 and 11: Ninjas in Bergen and Trondheim

Trond-Viggo Torgersen (left) as King Olav V, Mads Ousdal as Commander Treholt. Photo by Ellen Ugelstad.

The Ninjas take to the road this coming week, visiting Bergen and Trondheim to meet YOU.

Come out and see us for exclusive clips and informal discussions about the making of the movie with writer/director Thomas Cappelen Malling and actors Mads Ousdal (Commander Treholt) and Trond-Viggo Torgersen (King Olav V).

Both events are FREE and hosted by Filmmagasinet’s Einar Aarvig.

Tuesday, August 10.

With: Actor Trond-Viggo Torgersen and writer/director Thomas Cappelen Malling
Time: 19:00
Place: Landmark, Rasmus Meyers allé 5, 5015 Bergen

Wednesday, August 11.

With: Actor Mads Ousdal, writer/director Thomas Cappelen Malling and producer Eric Vogel
Time: 19:00
Place: Familien, Dronningens gt. 11, 7011 Trondheim.

Presented with the help of Bergen KinoTrondheim KinoBlått Lerret Spesial and Filmfondet Fuzz.

August 10: Exclusive concert and screening in Oslo

Eldorado Kino: as close as you can get to a grindhouse in Oslo. Photo: Oslokino.

In association with Øyakino we’re holding a one-off special event this coming Tuesday in Oslo.

You can not only catch an exclusive pre-premiére of “Kommandør Treholt & Ninjatroppen”, but in the lobby before the screening you also get to experience Gressholmen Salong & Ninjaorkester perform music from the score!

Under the leadership of composer Gaute Tønder, this incredible orchestra counts 12 Ninjas hand-picked for this one event.

From heroic horn sections to nostalgic flutes – from a nature lover’s bizarre musique concréte to foot-tappingly catchy rock beats – Gaute’s score is sure to make its mark as one of the most exciting to come out of Norway in recent years. We know this appraisal comes from a production company stooge (i.e. from me) but trust us on this one.

Don’t miss this!
The concert is FREE.
Tickets for the pre-premiére screening can be purchased here.

Date: Tuesday August 10
Time: 20:00 (concert) and 20:30 (screening)
Place: Eldorado Kino, Torggt. 9, Oslo

Ninja campfire band. Photo by Trond Høines.

New production stills

Trond-Viggo Torgersen (left) as King Olav V, Mads Ousdal as Commander Treholt. Photo by Ellen Ugelstad.
Jon Øigarden as Otto Meyer. Photo by Ellen Ugelstad.
Jon Øigarden as Otto Meyer (left), Dean-Erik Andersen as Kjettingen, Mads Ousdal as Commander Treholt. Photo by Trond Høines.
Amund Maarud as Humla. Photo by Trond Høines.
Linn Stokke as Ragnhild Umbraco (left), Amund Maarud as Humla. Photo by Ellen Ugelstad.
Amund Maarud as Humla (left), Trond-Viggo Torgersen as King Olav V. Photo by Ellen Ugelstad.
Mads Ousdal as Commander Treholt. Photo by Trond Høines.
Trond-Viggo Torgersen as King Olav V. Photo by Trond Høines.
Martinus Grimstad Olsen as Svarte-Per (left), Amund Maarud as Humla. Photo by Trond Høines.
Amund Maarud as Humla (left), Martinus Grimstad Olsen as Svarte-Per. Photo by Trond Høines.

A greeting from the Northern Norwegian Ninja

Another excellent fan contribution, this time from a mysterious Northern Ninja.
These are a lot of fun! Thanks for sending them in.

Click for huge!

Ninja: unknown. Photo: Peer Solbakken

The text reads: Northern Norway’s two meter tall Ninja wishes you the best of luck with the premiére of “Kommandør Treholt & Ninjatroppen”

Row-In Report

The festival mascot. Photo by Eric Vogel.

Friday July 30th was a big day for us.

We did a very special screening of “Kommandør Treholt & Ninjatroppen” at Sommerfesten, an amazing music festival held on the island of Giske. This was the first ever screening of the movie with an audience, a full two weeks before the theatrical run starts.

What made us bring the movie up there was the concept of doing a row-in. You put up a huge outdoor screen by the water – and let people bring their boats to watch the movie from. In a previous blog post we wrote about the preparations.

So how did it go?
The long and the short of it: it was an incredible experience for us!

I’ll let some of my pictures lead the narrative.

Red Cross crew. Photo by Eric Vogel.

The picture above shows the section of the festival area where the screen and projection booth (to the right) were set up. This is not too long after we arrived at Giske in the late afternoon. We being writer/director Thomas, marketer Ingrid Sølverud from Euforia and myself.

The scaffolding and screen took three days to assemble, and in the end measured 7,5 meters tall by over 17 meters wide. Monster huge!

Although mainly obscured by fog in the picture above, the nature surrounding Giske is truly spectacular and definitely one of the reasons artists want to come to the festival to play every year.

Size matters. The screen dwarfs projection maestro Jan Eberholst Olsen (left) and writer/director Thomas. Photo by Eric Vogel.

The weather was quite bad. Pouring rain and cold gusts of wind. To be frank, I thought we’d get two boats and a couple dozen people show up on land because of these conditions. Thankfully, the rain stopped and the locals/festivalgoers are hardy folk, so that fear was unfounded (as you’ll see further down).

Inside the booth, Jan is seen here preparing a Hannah Montana trailer (!?) to check the sound system. In all, the crew to make this happen numbered 6 people, and the equipment that was brought in weighed over a ton. That sweet 35mm projector weighs 500 kg on its own.

The picture quality was, in short, fantastic. The sound system was Dolby Digital 5.1, but we weren’t able to use the surround channels for this screening. Still, it sounded really good for the circumstances, with the audio travelling nicely across the water to reach the boats. The plan to allow boat radios to pick it up on a special frequency were in the end dropped.

As evening fell, boats started to trickle into the bay. The fellow above did the kayak thing and hence had a “paddle-in”.

In the space of a few hours, the bay went from this:

…to this:

In all, 50+ boats. Amazing!

The rain stopped and the skies cleared up (a bit) and we were almost ready for screening. But first, we got the additional treat of seeing Norwegian blues/psych/rock-band The Grand play a ferocious live set.

Their guitarist/vocalist Amund Maarud plays the role of Ninja apprentice Humla (“Bumblebee”) in the movie, and has also performed on the soundtrack together with bandmates Henrik Maarud (drums) and Per Tobro (bass).

Here’s Amund performing with The Grand on Friday:

Eirik Tovsrud Knutsen (left) and Amund Maarud on fire! Photo by Eric Vogel.

The Grand played indoors in a circus tent right behind the screening area. After the excellent concert, the crowd went outside for the screening.

It was possible to watch from dry ground as well from a boat. I’m not very good at estimating crowds, but maybe 500-600 people were gathered on land. Despite the bad weather and despite the late hour, as our film unspooled at midnight.

As a further warm-up we watched “Aquarium“, a very good short film directed by Bård Røssevold. He’s a filmmaker we’ll definitely see more from in the near future.

Then we screened our film for the first time with an audience. There were a lot of laughs, and at a crucial point in the movie, spontaneous applause/cheers when Treholt accomplishes something quite out of the ordinary. This is of course a big relief for us filmmakers. Speaking for myself, I was overjoyed at how well the film played and with the unique setting for it.

My camera couldn’t capture the mood of the screening very well, because it was just too dark. But here are a couple of glimpses:

Some of the audience watching the movie. Very dark photo by Eric Vogel.
More audience. Photo by Eric Vogel.

We’re of course anxious to see how it goes when we unspool the movie before a nationwide audience in under two weeks. But we can definitely breathe a little easier when the big premiére weekend is upon us thanks to the experience from the row-in at Giske.

A big thank you again to everyone who showed up with or without their boats, and to the festival organizers (who were excellent hosts), the sponsors and projection crew. If you ever get a chance to go to Giske, do it! And bring a movie if you can.