Kon-Tiki to Open Norwegian International Film Festival

This was announced in connection with Scandinavian Locations’ reception at the Nordic embassies in Berlin today. Kon-Tiki is directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, the duo behind the great success Max Manus. 

In the presence of film producers from all around the world, the film’s producer Aage Aaberge, Festival Director Gunnar Johan Løvvik and Programme Director Tonje Hardersen announced that the film will receive its world premiere in connection with the opening of this year’s 40th anniversary festival in Haugesund.

– We are delighted to be able to open the Norwegian International Film Festival with Kon-Tiki, Festival Director Gunnar Johan Løvvik says. – It is very seldom that there have been such great expectations for a Norwegian film, and we are sure that Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg will fulfil them entirely, the Festival Director says, and he can promise a big Kon-Tiki presence in Haugesund in connection with the world premiere.

– We have spent sixty days shooting in six different countries over a period of three and a half months. Now we look forward to show the result to a Norwegian audience. This is a Norwegian film of an unsurpassed format, based on a true story that exceeds all fiction, producer Aage Aaberge says.

– Kon-Tiki is a film especially created for the big screen. With grandiose pictures in combination with an intimate chamber piece and, not least, an incredible story, audiences can expect a spectacular film experience, Programme Director Tonje Hardersen says.

Childhood friends Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg attended film school in Stockholm from 1992 to 1994. After having achieved success within advertising films, their feature film debut came in 2006 with the western comedy Bandidas, which was shot in Mexico with Penélope Cruz and Salma Hayek in the leads. Their second film, Max Manus, was seen by more than one million Norwegian cinemagoers – the best box office figures in Norway since Pinchcliffe Grand Prix in the 1970s. Kon-Tiki is the director duo’s third film.

– It is a great honour that Kon-Tiki has been selected as the opening film in Haugesund. This will be the starting shot, director Joachim Rønning says.

– After three years of hard work, we are happy that Kon-Tiki will finally meet its audience. Haugesund is an important arena for Scandinavian movies, director Espen Sandberg adds.

In the lead part as Thor Heyerdahl we find PĂĄl Sverre Hagen, while Agnes Kittelsen plays his first wife, Liv. The Kon-Tiki crew is played by Odd-Magnus Williamson, Tobias Santelmann, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Jakob Oftebro and Gustaf SkarsgĂĄrd.


Kon-Tiki is a dramatisation of the real events in 1947 when Thor Heyerdahl embarked upon an adventurous and perilous expedition across the Pacific to prove his theory that Polynesia had been populated from South America. The theory was revolutionary and went completely against established science’s theory about a migration from Asia. The primitive balsa raft with which he sailed almost 8.000 kilometres was named Kon-Tiki – after the sun god. Thor Heyerdahl was accompanied by five young men. No one knew each other from before and only one of them had sailing experience. Heyerdahl himself was afraid of the water and could not swim. He was willing to sacrifice everything and everybody to prove he was right.

The screenplay for the film is written by Petter Skavlan.

Kon-Tiki is produced by Aage Aaberge of Nordisk Film Production and Jeremy Thomas of Recorded Picture Company.

Nordisk Film Distribusjon is distributing Kon-Tiki in its Norwegian theatrical release. It will be released on 24 August. 

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