“Not since Knut Erik Jensen's Cool & Crazy (2000) have I seen a documentary with a larger potential to pull in the crowds,” said programme director Håkon Skogrand, of the Norwegian International Film Festival, when he selected Norwegian director Gunhild Westhagen Magnor's The Optimists to close this year's showcase in Haugesund.
Unspooling between August 15-22, the festival will be opened by Norwegian director Erik Skjoldbjærg's oil rush thriller, Pioneer, which Nordisk Film Distribusjon will release domestically on August 30. Before the Norwegian premiere, TrustNordisk has sold it to Magnolia Pictures for US distribution.
Produced by Christian Fredrik Martin of Friland Film, and described as “a high-octane conspiracy thriller inspired by 1970s' classics such as The Conversation, Three Days of
Condor and Chinatown,” Pioneer stars Aksel Hennie as a professional deep-sea diver with among others Ane Dahl Torp, Jørgen Langhelle and Wes Bentley.
“The Optimists is an inspiring film about the enjoyment and teamwork of sports, showing that it is possible to age without getting old,” Skogrand added on Magnor's portrait of the volleyball club, instigated 40 years ago, still with training sessions every Monday for its members – ladies aged between 66 and 98.
The director was inspired for her full-length documentary when her mother joined the club: “I wanted to give a different and more optimistic view of getting older. Old age is also rich in experiences, laughter, friendships and new challenges. To me these ladies are female role models we need right now.”
Written, directed and photographed by Magnor the film, which was produced by Hilde Skofteland and Ingunn H. Knudsen for Skofteland Film will be released in Norway on September 27.
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