by Annika Pham
29/04/2009 - Yngve Sæther joined Motlys, one of Norway’s leading Norwegian production houses, in 2001. His first feature film production was the critically acclaimed The Man Who Loved Yngve [trailer], winner of four national Amanda awards, including Best Norwegian Film and Best Director. He has two to three feature films in development and a TV series ready to start filming.
Cineuropa: Why and how did you get into production?
Yngve Sæther: Film has always been in my life, ever since my childhood, when I was shooting Super-8 films. I started to shoot and direct and produce my own short films and music videos. Later on, when I worked as programmer at the Cinematheque at the Norwegian Film Institute, I initiated a collection of short films, The Seven Deadly Sins, that turned into a feature. During development of the next project, Motlys asked me to join them as a producer.
Your first feature project for Motlys, The Man Who Loved Yngve, was a great international success. What did this experience bring you?
I started up as head of development for Motlys in 2001 and was involved in a couple of features as co-producer, but ultimately found out it was more fun to be in charge of it all. The Man Who Loved Yngve was a great experience because we managed to snag both the audience and the critics. I was happy to find a director that had the right energy – and we both want to make more films together. A great script and a wonderful cast can take you anywhere. Now we have an agent in the US. We have no illusions but have an open mind if the right project turns up.
Motlys has solid ties across Europe. How do you share your production duties with your partners [Sigve Endresen, Brede Hovland and Rune Denstad Langlo] and what projects are you interested in bringing to cinemas?
Sigve was executive producer and Brede was line producer on The Man Who Loved Yngve. Rune is increasing turning towards directing (North [trailer, film focus]). I guess we share a taste in films that doesn’t go with the flow. For me, having been raised on arthouse films, there must be an edge, an attitude. And if the film has a sense of humour, that’s great.
What projects are you currently working on? Any particular one that would be of interest to European partners?
We’re going to start shooting Buzz Aldrin, What Has Become of You? a four-episode TV series, on The Faroe Islands on June 20. I’m also trying to get financing for the follow-up to The Man Who Loved Yngve, The Orheim Company, for next year. I also have Psycho Killer (from the same filmmaker behind as Buzz Aldrin), a very fascinating coming-of-age/horror project about kids on the moon, for which I will need international partners.
What do you expect from the Producer on the Move initiative?
I hope to meet with good people and discuss interesting projects. If I end up with one contact that would lead into a beautiful friendship, I will be satisfied.
How do you see European cinema these days and the challenges tied to new digital distribution systems?
I’m optimistic, even though the tendency in Norway so far favours the mainstream. It will take some years before we all are in synch and the small countries (outside Europe) will have the same possibilities to take advantage of digital distribution as we do.