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Berlinale: Maipo Film Teams With ‘Nobel’ Scribe on ‘State of Happiness’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 2/13/2017 Elsa Keslassy
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Maipo Film, the Norwegian production company whose recent credits include Jessica Chastain-starrer “Miss Julie,” is set to produce “State of Happiness,” a drama series  set against the backdrop of Norway’s oil boom of the 1970s.

Petter Noess, the Norwegian helmer of Oscar-nominated comedy “Elling,” is on board to direct the series, based on a concept by Siv Rajendra (“Those Who Kill”) and Synnove Horsdal (“Miss Julie”), Maipo Film’s managing director. The series is written by “Nobel” screenwriter Mette M. Bølstad.

The eight-episode series, which will shoot in Norwegian and English, follows four young characters who come from different backgrounds and are thrown into a whirlwind of opportunity during the oil boom. The show will unfold in the small coastal town of Stavanger, which was transformed after Philips Petroleum found a huge sub-sea oil basin that turned Norway into one of the world’s most prosperous countries, Horsdal said.

The series will start shooting at the end of May and has been commissioned by NRK, Norway’s public broadcaster. DR Sales has boarded the series.

On the feature front, Maipo Film is also to start production on Anne Sewitsky’s long-gestated “Queen of Ice,” a biopic of famed ice skater-turned-Hollywood star Sonja Henie (pictured). Ine Wilmann, who toplined Sewitsky’s Sundance-premiering “Homesick,” is set to play Henie.

Scandinavian powerhouse TrustNordisk has boarded international sales of the movie, which will kick off production in June.

Budgeted at 7 million euros ($7.4 million), “Queen of Ice” will center on Henie’s life in the U.S. and will feature some of her most famous choreography. “Sewitsky has created a script which promises to make a film filled with humorous and spectacular sequences,” said Horsdal.

“Queen of Ice” will mark Sewitsky’s follow up to “Homesick” and “Happy Happy,” which won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize.

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