Inspired by real events, Dunderland takes inspiration from the 17th century witch process and is compared to The Shining.
This professionally produced but independently funded Norwegian feature film is directed by Finn-Erik Rognan and Nils J. Nesse from a script by Nesse. It starts in the year 1695 when a girl is accused of witchcraft. She is thrown into a lake and the local population starts to think a curse is infecting the village. 300 years later, a theatre company arrives with the purpose of staging a play about the witch processes, but one night their lead actor is missing. The story is inspired by real events that happened in 1948 and 1995.
In a comment to the film magazine Montages, co-director Nesse says; “We wanted to make a visually unique and striking film, and have been thinking about the images from day one.” One of the techniques the crew used was to avoid fast cuts and handheld camera, a typical trait of independent films. In stead, long takes and atmospheric streches were preferred. Nesse: “Some takes are really long. I re-watched The Shining and realized that no other chillers can measure up to it. It’s a perfect film. And it’s therefore natural to look at what Kubrick did. Dunderland is in the same genre and also shares the ghost theme… like Overlook Hotel, Dunderland is a place burdened by a dark past.” The film moves between reality and dreams, between the past and the present. But the director declines the comparison to Dead Snow, which also had snow and nazis. “There is very little in common. In terms of form, Dead Snow is quite boring” Nesse says.
The film, which is budgeted at around 1.6 million dollars (low budget even for Norwegian standards, but enough to be produced professionally) started shooting in February 2011 in Rana in Northern Norway, with 40 subsequent shooting days until July 31st the same year. Dunderland is the name of an actual small community 50 kilometers north of Rana’s centre Mo, and has its own railroad station, for those interested in going there. The name, which translates to Thunderland, probably comes from the thundering sounds made by snow and rock slides that frequently happens in the area.
Starring Miriam Prestøy Lie, Reidar Sørensen, Brage Bang, Marit Østbye, Sven Henriksen, Hanne-Marte Sørlie, Ingar Helge Gimle.
Dunderland opens theatrically in Norway in November but will be screened at the Ramaskrik film festival on October 18th.