Producers on the Move 2013 - Norway
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Hans-Jørgen Osnes has frequently changed his titles on his business card - from location manager to production manager, line producer, assistant director and second unit director
In the film industry since 1996, Norwegian producer has frequently changed his titles on his business card - from location manager to production manager, line producer, assistant director and second unit director. Norwegian director Joachim Trier's Oslo, August 31 [+see also:
interview: Joachim Trier
film profile] started his producer career at Oslo-based production company Motlys, and was not totally unnoticed: it was selected for Un Certain Regard in Cannes 2011, and it won Trier an Amanda, Norway's national film prize, for Best Director. Educated at the Goldsmiths-University of London, Osnes has just delivered his second Motlys feature, Blind, directed by Eskil Vogt (who wrote the script for Trier's movie). Starring Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali and Marius Kollbenstvedt, it brings together a 30-year-old woman who has recently lost her sight, a 30-year-old newly-divorced single mother, and a 40-year-old man, a loner who is into porn on the web. It is scheduled for domestic release in September.
Cineuropa: Why did you decide to become a producer?
Hans-Jørgen Osnes: I wanted to move on to producing, since the very process of following a project from the initial idea to the completed film is more interesting to me. Finding the project, developing it, taking an active part in sculpting the film is a fulfilling experience.
Your first film was directed by Trier, the next by his scriptwriter - is this a closed circle?
Not at all - Trier, Vogt and I have been working closely together now for a couple of years, but I am also collaborating with other directors. I have currently three productions in the pipeline which are all at different stages of development, casting and financing: Trier's Louder Than Bombs and two feature debuts, Aasne Vaa Greibrokk's All The Beauty, and actor-director Anders T Andersen's Lex Rinnan.
What do you require from a script to convince you that you should make it into a film?
When choosing a script, I look for the good story and try to see how I can contribute making it into a strong film. Some of the projects I join are initiated by auteurs with their own ideas on how to realise them, in other cases I start with a screenplay and do my best to to find the right cast and crew for a powerful and emotional film that will make the audiences think.
Oslo, August 31st was a happy result - how did it come about?
It was directed by one of Norway's greatest talents, Joachim Trier, who did an amazing job - essentially it is a strong story, which he made extremely interesting, both narratively and visually. During production we managed to make the right choices, so the result became a film that is very rich in nuance.
How do you see your role as producer in working with your directors?
I think it is important that a producer has check the broad lines, ie he must be very much involved in the films that are currently in production, but he must also think ahead, look for new projects for his directors or help directors to start them, so they also have a next film planned. I try to be a strategist and support them in any way - and in the end, I simply enjoy the process in putting it all together and making it happen.
Anything you are particularly good at - and anything you are definitely not?
As a producer I am good at planning and finding a way to make things possible. My weakest point is that I am not a dramaturgist - however, I have a good gut feeling for things, and I know when they work.
Norwegian film is increasingly acquiring an international profile - what is happening up there?
I think the Norwegian film industry - producers and directors - are all working hard to improve the level of film-making. I think we are focusing on producing films in a different way, very much depending on the single projects - at the same time, crews are getting more and more professional. The Norwegian Film Institute is also a good help in this process, from having the same high ambitions.
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