Göteborg’s Nordic Film Market delegates are being introduced this week to the compelling boxing drama “Team Havnaa” from leading Norwegian prodco Maipo Film (“Sonja”, “State of Happiness”).
Toplining the cast as the boxing brothers are Tobias Santelmann (“The Last Kingdom,” “Kon-Tiki,” “Out Stealing Horses”), and rising talent Odin Vaage (“Rod Knock”), making his feature film debut.
TrustNordisk has just acquired world rights to the Norwegian feature to be pitched in Göteborg as a work in progress.
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“Team Havnaa” (a working title) is inspired by the real-life story of two brothers from rural Norway who made headlines around world for their extraordinary achievements. In opposite directions. The youngest brother-professional boxer Magne Havnaa, reached stardom as Norway’s first world champion in cruiser-weight in 1990, beating American Richard Pultz.
Meanwhile his brother Erling Havnaa, went from being the highest-ranked kickboxer of all time to a convicted criminal for participating in the largest robbery in Norwegian history.
Helmer Bård Breien (“The Art of Negative Thinking,” “Detective Downs”), who co-wrote the script with Ravn Lanesskog (“Quisling,” “Amundsen”) and Eske Troelstrup (“Detective Downs”), said he was first drawn to the Havnaa brothers story, when he “stumbled upon one of Magnes Havnaa’s great fights on Youtube.”
“I was immediately struck by his direct fighting style, and the way his elder brother celebrated the victory, as if he had won the fight himself,” said Breien. “Then I remembered that his elder brother also had been involved in the biggest bank robbery in Norwegian history. I immediately got hooked on both stories and how they were connected, and from there, I started a long and thorough research. It turned out to be even more interesting and heartfelt than I could have imagined,” the helmer said.
“With Tobias Santelmann and Odin Waage playing the brothers, Erling and Magne, I found actors who were willing to put in the extreme amount of training and hard work to make both the boxing and the characters believable,” he added.
Seasoned producer Synnøve Hørsdal commented: “For me this is a fascinating story of two brothers who were very intertwined with each other all their life but ended up in very different history books. And with Bård Breien as the storyteller I knew it would have a very unique approach with a great love for the characters.”
“We are excited to be a part of this intriguing project and working once again with Synnøve and Maipo Film after several successful co-operations, including the two fantasy adventure films ‘Ash Lad’ and period drama ‘Sonja,’” TrustNordisk managing director Susan Wendt added.
“We have high expectations for ‘Team Havnaa’ and can’t wait to share this incredible true story of brotherhood, boxing, and crime, which we believe will have a broad appeal to all audiences,” she went on.
The €4 million ($4.3 million) feature is co-produced by Czech-outfit FilmKollectiv. Nordisk Film will handle the domestic release in December 2024.
TrustNordisk is also repping at the Nordic Film Market’s Works in Progress “The Quiet Ones” by Frederik Louis Hviid (“Shorta”) and “Madame Ida” by Jacob Møller – both produced by Zentropa.
The Nordic Film Market runs Jan. 31-Feb. 2.
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