Ullmann pleased with buyer of father Ingmar Bergman's estate

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Linn Ullmann, daughter of Norwegian actress and director Liv Ullmann and the late Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, told Norwegian media over the weekend that she’s delighted Bergman’s home and furnishings have been bought by a Norwegian investor who’s agreed to maintain the estate as a “non-commercial cultural arena.”

Bergman’s windswept compound on the Swedish island of Fårö, just north of Gotland, was purchased by Norwegian inventor and businessman Hans Gude Gudesen, founder of Opticom and heavily involved in other high-tech firms like Fast Search and Transfer.

Gudesen already had quietly snapped up all the furnishings from Bergman’s home on Fårö that were auctioned off by Bukowskis last month. Bergman had nine children by different mothers, and left a will that called for his estate to be auctioned off, to avoid family arguments.

“I don’t want to comment on exactly what’s in the will,” Ullmann told newspaper Aftenposten , where she writes an occasional column. “But my father was quite determined that his estate shouldn’t lead to any emotional uproar. And it hasn’t.”

Ullmann, an author herself, claims “all” her half-siblings are pleased with the sale of the property at Hammars on Fårö to Gudesen for an undisclosed amount. Gudesen paid an estimated SEK 18 million for the furnishings at auction, which now will be returned to the property where Bergman lived and worked for 40 years.

“My nightmare was that the property would wind up being commercialized, like a sort of ‘Bergman Bed & Breakfast,'” Ullmann told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv . She wanted to maintain the property all along as a cultural enclave, a place where writers, actors and other artists could apply to come for extended stays to work on various projects.

Initial attempts to drum up interest from Hollywood to Scandinavia, however, failed. Gudesen came forward after reading about Ullmann’s wishes in a newspaper article earlier this autumn.

Gudesen now owns the property but has turned over usage rights to a newly formed foundation that will run it as a “living cultural meeting place,” according to a statement from the foundation, Arbeidsgruppen for bevaring of Ingmar Bergmans eiendommer. It’s meant to be both “a workplace and a refuge,” and those using it will also be obliged to share their work in some way with the local community.

Operations are due to begin next spring. Inger Harlevi, cultural chief for Gotland, has accepted a part-time job as working leader of the foundation’s board.