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Haugesund - Einar Film ups scripted content with Jens Lien’s Joe’s Assignment

Jens Lien / PHOTO: Salomonsson Agency

Haugesund - Einar Film ups scripted content with Jens Lien’s Joe’s Assignment

Jens Lien / PHOTO: Salomonsson Agency

Exclusive - The AI dystopian comedy picked up by Scanbox, will be pitched at the Nordic Co-Production Market, while Einar’s Handling the Undead will be shown at the WiP.

Currently in the financing stage,Joe’s Assignment is the anticipated new feature by Jens Lien (Beforeigners, Viva Hate), co-owner of Einar Film, together with the Oscar-nominated Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game, Silo), producer Gury Neby, actors Aksel Hennie (Nobel, Sisu, The Martian), and Nicolai Cleve Broch (Beforeigners, Acquitted).

The film is the latest addition to Einar Film’s slate, on top of the anticipated Handling the Undead adapted by horror specialist John Ajvide Lindqvist (Border, Let the Right One In) from his own book.

Since 2017, the commercials-focused production company has ramped up its scripted content through its new fiction division Einar Film Drama, and hired the seasoned producers Pål Kruke Kristiansen, formerly at Warner Bros Norway and Rubicon, Brede Hovland, former head of Miso Film Norway, and Kristin Emblem, who worked earlier at Maipo Film among others.

“As producers, we all work very closely on each project, making sure storytelling stays at the core of what we do,” Emblem told us.

After their first feature - Thea Hvistendahl’s 2018 experimental concert movie The Monkey and the Mouth (Adjø Montebello), Einar has delivered the Viaplay series Delete Me, NRK’s romantic comedy Forever and Ever (Evy og alltid), TV2 Norway’s Kids in Crime, winner of the 2023 Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize, and several shorts including the Cannes 2023 Palme d’or candidate Tits by Eivind Landsvik.

Produced by Emblem and Beby, Joe’s Assignment reunites Lien with Per Schreiner, writer of his multi-awarded film and Cannes Critics’ Week 2006 entry The Bothersome Man.

The comedy drama is set in a dystopian future, where AI has made humans redundant. We follow the unemployed Joe, in search of a mission he has been assigned, but no one knows what it is.

“Jens is one of Norway’s most prominent filmmakers. It is so exciting to see him team up again with his writing partner of the immensely successful The Bothersome Man, Per Schreiner,” said Emblem who produces alongside Neby. “Per has a unique talent in tackling difficult topics with dark humour and humanity. This absurd comedy will bring much food for thought and laughs along the way,” she said.

The €2.5m film is being co-produced by Sweden’s Anagram Film and Greece’s Filmiki, with support from the Norwegian Film Institute. Scanbox has secured Scandinavian rights. “We’re hoping to get more financing partners on board, including a sales agent,” said Emblem who will be pitching the project on Wednesday at Haugesund’s Nordic Co-production Market.


Haugesund - Einar Film ups scripted content with Jens Lien’s Joe’s Assignment

Handling the undead / PHOTO: Courtesy Trust Nordisk

Star-studded Horror
Emblem will also reveal at New Nordic Films’ works in progress, three clips of the much-anticipated horror drama Handling the Undead starring Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Bjørn Sundquist and Bente Børsum.

Hvistendahl’s sophomore feature is the result of a tight collaboration between the up-and-coming director and author John Ajvide Lindqvist. “Thea has always been fascinated by John’s universe. We read Handling the Undead, acquired the rights and set up a meeting between Thea and John who immediately connected. Thea has taken full visual and conceptual control of the project and gained John’s trust,” notes Emblem.

The story is set in Oslo, on a hot summer day. When strange events occur, awakening the newly deceased from death, three families suddenly have to deal with their dearest ones, now back from the dead. “The film deals with coping with grief, and the emotional rollercoaster of seeing beloved ones suddenly back among the living, perhaps as a changed person,” Emblem said, adding that a beautiful message of hope wraps the story. It’s about learning how you let go and reconciling with loss.”

The VFX works are being handled jointly by Stardust in Norway and Haymaker in Sweden.
Delivery is set for early 2024, with Nordisk Film handling Scandinavian distribution and TrustNordisk international sales.
The high-profile genre-specialist distribution group Neon has boarded the project at script stage and acquired rights for North America and the UK.

The €4.5m film is co-produced by Zentropa Sweden and Filmiki in Greece, with support among others from Nordisk Film & TV Fond.

Other project on Einar Film Drama’s slate include a second season of Kenneth Karlstad’s multi-awarded Kids in Crime, currently in pre-production.

Meanwhile Einar Film’s documentary arm headed by the former Viaplay Norway executive Christian Holst Meinseth is enjoying the festival run of Ann Marte Blindheim’s debut film Rahčan - Ella's Riot, (Rahčan - Ellas opprør). The film about the young Sámi singer Ella’s battle to save her village and culture from destruction, is competing at the upcoming Nordisk Panorama festival in the New Nordic Voices category.

Extraordinary Me (Ola-En Helt vanlig Uvanlig fyr) is another quality documentary by Ragnhild Nøst Bergem about equality and belonging, set to screen at Haugesund’s Nordic Focus.