Western Norway is ideal for Indian films of high production value looking for never-seen-before locations. As Film Commissioner in Western Norway, I am happy to assist Indian productions eyeing locations in this area. The mesmerizing fjords of Western Norway will spellbind even the most demanding audience. And best of all, it’s free. In Norway, no permits are needed to shoot in public places and landscapes.
From the air, getting in to Bergen airport, you see how unspoiled Western Norway really is. Most is still wilderness, waiting to be discovered. But once on the ground you experience that it’s a production friendly community with an impressive road infrastructure. The fjords meet the mountains at the edge of the cities, and green blossoms can be replaced with ice-filled glaciers within a swift car ride. The road network is well developed and makes it possible to go from summer to winter, from city to mountains, within an hour. Even in the midst of summer, you will find snow-capped mountains.
With over 100 glaciers with year-round snow and thousands of mountain peaks, we are ready whenever your script calls for high-jumping snow boarders, arctic areas, the moon, steep hills with powder snow, mountainous vistas or iced alien planets.
From the numerous glaciers, waterfalls cascade down the dark and steep mountainsides – in fact, many of the highest waterfalls in the world are found in Western Norway. Whether you’re inland or along the fjord, chances are there is a dramatic waterfall around the corner. Mardalsfossen, Langfoss and Feigefossen are just some of the mesmerising cascades thundering down the sheer cliffs of the fjord landscape.
The fjords you see were carved by a massive sheet of ice up to three kilometres thick that covered Northern Europe in a succession of ice ages. As you peer up at the towering mountains, you can appreciate the immense power of those forces of nature. Slate-roofed farmhouses blend beautifully with the fertile cultural landscape. As you cross the fjord, you travel in the wake of fishing boats and merchant ships. Most of the landscape has changed little since Viking longboats set sail for distant shores.
Western Norway is a magical place, especially when the snow melts and countless apple and cherry blossoms unfold in May. Half the magic of the fjords are the many charming and eye-catching villages – such as Balestrand, known for its ornate Swiss-style houses and the beautiful Kviknes hotel, or Fjaerland at the foot of Jostedals glacier.
Up and down the coast, there are towns worth exploring – Alesund with its amazing Art Nouveau architecture, Molde with its 222 mountain peaks panorama, and Bergen with its seven mountains and Hanseatic Wharf – a World Heritage attraction. The region has a decentralised infrastructure where hotels, airports, roads are spread around making seemingly desolate areas easily accessible. The decentralised infrastructure is a great time- and cost-saver, and the region has as many as 10 commercial airports.
Production companies in Western Norway are working across all formats, producing documentaries for international territories, award-winning shorts and feature films. Western Norway is also home to national broadcaster TV2, and a group of companies at the cutting edge of 3D and real-time graphics. Aside from the local production activity, the region has internationally been recognised in productions such as Golden Compass and Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince. Filming for the legendary Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back began here as well. Consequently you will also find experienced production service companies in the region, and film professionals accustomed to working on international projects.
Longer daylight hours in summer (20-22 hours of daylight in June/July) and the reverse in winter are facts to be considered for outdoor film shooting. The best time to shoot is usually considered to go from April to September, with November to March being ideal for productions looking for darker weather, snow or winter scenery.
Most international features come to Western Norway because of the iconic and exotic landscape, while others come motivated by the regional film fund Fuzz, which invests a mix of public and equity funding to projects shooting in the area.
Film Commission – Free Support
The Western Norway Film Commission runs a free location scouting programme, and offers ongoing support to your project.
Western Norway Film Commission also has an excellent website in English that will make you want to put this stunning region on your short list for your next international shoot.
Sorfond – Soft Money
Sorfond is a brand new top financing scheme, focusing on southern cinema (non-European and non-US projects). Strong artistic performance and cultural integrity are top priorities. Projects must be dealing with freedom of expression to apply for grants. About NOK 4 million will be granted for support in 2012. Maximum support for one production is NOK 1 million. A Norwegian co-producer is required, and the application must be sent by the Norwegian co-producer.
The deadline for applications 2012 is December 15, 2011.
At the 21st edition of the Films From the South Festival, a forum will be organised for applying directors/producers to meet with potential Norwegian co-producers.
Deadline for application to participate in the forum is August 15, 2011. Selected producers/directors will be offered a grant to cover travel costs .
Fuzz – Regional Investments
Founded in 2006 by the city of Bergen, Fuzz has so far co-produced 35 projects investing a total of approximately 30 crore (€4.500.000)
Fuzz can provide both equity and public funding of up to €250.000 for feature films, games, documentaries with theatrical distribution, and TV productions that are produced partly or entirely in Western Norway.
Fuzz is funded by the public and private investors, and are looking at projects with a two-fold interest: 1) to recoup their investment alongside other similar investors, and 2) to strengthen the audiovisual sector in Western Norway. Fuzz will put emphasis on the commercial potential of the project, and sales and distribution aspects of the application will be considered as a vital element in the selection process. Theatrical distribution in Norway is in practical terms a key factor for Fuzz to recoup investments. To access the fund you must have a Norwegian co-producer on your team.
Norwegian Film Institute – Co-Production
The Norwegian Film Institute administers approximately 3 arab (€40.000.000) in production and development support. Historically, the funding given to the minority participation of Norwegian producers in co-productions has been between 1 and 2 crores.
Every project is judged by several cultural criteria, the most important being: How good is your project for the Norwegian co-producer and for Norwegian film in general?
If the project qualifies for production support, the project will also automatically qualify for the Norwegian box office bonuses when it exceeds 10.000 admissions in Norwegian theatres. The box office bonus is set at 100 per cent of the production companies documented incomes (VAT excluded) from sales of the film rights the 3 years following the official theatre release.