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The Norwegian Film Institute has announced the allocation of €3.9 million for new projects by Norwegian directors Mikkel Brænne Sandemose, Thale Persen, Jens Jonsson and Therese Naustdal.

First is The Ash Lad: In Search of the Golden Castle, the latest revival of the Norwegian folklore character. Directed by Mikkel Brænne Sandemose, the film has received €1.7 million (NOK 15 million) production funding from the Norwegian Film Institute. Scripted by Aleksander Kirkwood Brown and produced by Synnøve Hørsdal and Åshild Ramborg for Maipo Film, the film follows the Ash Lad and Princess Kristin who are on the search for a famous castle made of gold. When the king and queen are poisoned, only the water of life in Soria Moria a can save the kingdom, and probably then the world. The Ash Lad, created in the 19th century by Norwegian authors Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, most recently performed in Brænne Sandemose’s first encounter with the classic, The Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King (Askeladden – I Dovregubbens hall), which will be released in September.

Thale Persen’s The Dragon’s Heart has also received funding. The film is a follow up on Valley of Knights: Mira’s Magical Christmas and is produced by Frederick Howard and Lars Andreas Hellebust, for Storm Films. In Harald Rosenløw Eeg and Lars Gudmestad’s screenplay, Gina leaves her orphanage to celebrate Christmas in freedom; she goes to town on the bus, and in a garage, she finds a new friend, a dragon as lonely as herself, and they set out for a Christmas adventure.

The Norwegian award-winning director Jens Jonsson has received funding for his film The Spy. The film is a biopic of the Norwegian-Swedish star actress Sonja Wigert, who lived in Stockholm during the start of World War II. Working for Swedish intelligence, she met Nazi leader Josef Terboven, who recruited her as a German spy. With her father imprisoned in Oslo, her love affair with a Hungarian diplomat and her double life as Swedish and German agent life becomes increasingly difficult. Harald Rosenløw Eeg wrote the script from Norwegian author Iselin Theien’s Wigert biography, which Karin Julsrud and Turid Øversveen will realise for 4 ½ Fiksjon.

As part of the New Ways programme, the institute subsidised Norwegian director Karoline Grindaker’s documentary, Ervin – a portrait of a five-year-old boy, who at two-and-a-half developed an autism, where words and learned social skills disappeared within a few months. Therese Naustdal produces for Gala Film.

Information from the Norwegian Film Institute.