A harrowing single-take drama set on the day of the 2011 Norway attacks in Oslo and at a summer camp on the island of Utoya, Erik Poppe’s U – July 22 has concluded further sales after its premiere in the Berlin Film Festival competition. From the director of The King’s Choice, this sadly timely story was embraced by critics and earned a Special Mention from the Ecumenical Jury out of the fest. It has now sold to the UK’s Modern Films, Japan’s Culture Entertainment and France’s Potemkine Films.
With TrustNordisk on world sales, the film debuts theatrically via distributor Nordisk Film in Norway on Friday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see U – July 22 as Norway’s Foreign Language Oscar entry this year, but given the recent Parkland massacre, it could be a hard sell in the U.S.
On July 22, 2011, more than 500 young people at a political summer camp on Utoya were attacked by an armed, right-wing extremist. Earlier that day, he had bombed a government building in Oslo before making his way to the island. The incident ultimately claimed the lives of 77.
This is the first narrative look at the attack and is told from the point of view of Kaja and her friends whose safe atmosphere is shattered when shots are heard. It then then follows Kaja as she tries to survive, minute-by-minute. The Guardian has called it “a visceral, brutal, yet heartfelt and earnest movie, which imbibes the innocent bewilderment and horror of its young characters.”
Modern Films MD Eve Gabereau says the film “exists to be experienced and is an emotional tribute to real events. It speaks out about violence, gun crime, politics and mental health on a global scale and leaves you with both sadness about the past and hope for the future by tackling destructive human behavior head-on. Reflection and action are powerful tools and ones that must be used. I am driven to participate in this discussion through cinema and audience engagement.”
Previous sales include Germany/Austria (Weltkino), Benelux (September Film), Poland (Aurora), Greece (Feelgood), and Baltics (Estin), Latin America (California), China (HGC), Korea (Cinema de Manon), Hungary (Vertigo), Slovakia and Czech Republic (Film Europe) and Portugal (Alambique).