New ‘Birkebeinerne’ film sold for distribution in the US

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Distribution rights for a new Norwegian film about the legendary soldiers and skiers who saved the monarchy in the 1200 have been sold to Magnolia Pictures of the US. That means the film will be shown in American cinemas next year, after its debut in Norway in early February.

The new film tells the story of two "Birkebeiner" heroes carrying a baby king over the mountains during a Norwegian civil war. PHOTO: filmweb.no

The new film tells the story of two “Birkebeiner” heroes carrying a baby king over the mountains during a Norwegian civil war. PHOTO: filmweb.no

Called Birkebeinerne in Norwegian, because of the birch bark the soldier-skiers wore on their legs, the film has been given the name The Last King in English. It already has attracted international attention and also has been sold for distribution in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Estonia, India and several countries in the Middle East.

The film, much of it shot on location around Lillehammer, where annual Birkebeiner races are held every year, tells the story of how an illegitimate baby son of a Norwegian king was guarded and literally carried over the mountains by Birkebeiners when the country was torn by civil war in 1204. The drama surrounding the baby, named Håkon Håkonsson, altered the course of Norwegian history.

The action film inspired by actual events in Norwegian history is directed by Nils Gaup, who won an Oscar nomination for another wintry Norwegian film called Veiviseren (The Pathfinder). The Birkebeinerne film stars Kristofer Hivju and Jakob Oftebro in the two main roles of Birkebeiner heroes Torstein and Skjervald. The sale to the US “confirms that the world is welcoming the Birkebeiners with open arms,” said Susan Wendt of Trust Nordisk, which negotiated it. She said negotiations were continuing for additional international distribution.

newsinenglish.no staff

  • Oak Thorgeir Valgardsson

    Should premier at the birkebeiner ski races, same time as Norway’s release and than during the US race.