Alexander Eik • Director
by Annika Pham
From his editing room in Oslo, where he is working on a new TV series for Nordisk Film, Alexander Eik spoke to Cineuropa about his upcoming trip to the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, where he will present his second feature film, Cold Feet [+see also:
film profile], also produced by the Nordic studio. The 34 year-old who studied as a visual artist and came to filmmaking via his job as an advertising photographer, is now totally dedicated to the craft of directing and his future looks bright with several projects lined up for film and TV.
Cineuropa: The Woman of My Life and Cold Feet: two films and two comedies. It’s obviously a genre you enjoy…
Alexander Eik: My first feature film, The Woman of My Life (2003), was the first Norwegian romantic comedy in 50 years, so it was about time to make one in Norway! The film was a great success theatrically (230,000 admissions) and was one of the biggest Norwegian hits on DVD for an adult film (100,000 copies sold). However, since then the climate in the Norwegian film industry has changed and comedy is much more popular as a genre.
After The Woman of My Life, I still wanted to make another comedy, although Cold Feet is darker, probably more “courageous” in its commercial approach.
How come your first film was produced by Filmkameratene and the second one by Nordisk?
Nordisk approached me with the script by Thomas Mokldestad with whom I had already collaborated, and I just loved it! Nordisk was very enthusiastic about the project and we submitted it to the Norwegian Film Fund. Because of a misunderstanding about the project, we had to wait another six months for the money. The total production budget was NOK 14m (approximately €1.7m).
You must be excited to be in Norway, where major changes are taking place in the film industry and new filmmakers are riding on a wave of popularity…
Very excited indeed! There have been positive political ambitions over the last 5-6 years. The whole system of film financing started to change in 2001 with the creation of the Norwegian Film Fund and we started to see the results in 2002. The priority was a higher volume of films and support for lower budget contemporary stories. This gave the Norwegian industry a real boost and filmmakers were in a position where they could be in production and continue to work, including myself.
The Norwegian film school in Lillehammer also played a big part in this new “Norwegian wave”. The first students graduated in 2001 and their films have brought a wider spectrum of genres. When I made The Woman of My Life in 2003, it was not politically correct to make genre films such as horror films, but now Norwegian filmmakers are not afraid to make entertaining films in their own language and the audience has regained interest in Norwegian films.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to direct two films, part of the Varg Veum series produced by SF. I’m also developing a script which has received development backing from the Norwegian Film Fund. It will still be about relationships, with a lot of humour and warmth. But it will be more family oriented. I’m fascinated by family relations – having three children myself – and this is something I want to explore in the future.
What does it mean for you to be selected for Variety Critics’ Choice at Karlovy Vary?
It means a lot for the film, which will have greater exposure internationally and, personally, it is also recognition in a way.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.