The Norwegian production company Tappeluft has filed for bankruptcy. The company produced Hellfjord and Dead Snow, among other titles, and is partially owned by Tommy Wirkola. The total debt is 36.2 million NOK.
Tommy Wirkola (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and What Happened to Monday) directed Dead Snow for Tappeluft in 2009 and also its 2014 sequel, and the production company has also provided Norwegian film fans with other genre and low budget films such as Kurt Josef Wagle, Kill Buljo and its sequel, as well as the horror-comedy NRK drama Hellfjord. Wirkola owns 25% of the company, which has now filed for bankruptcy due to not being able to pay a debt which is part of a system of debts, mainly owed to crew, actors and owners who worked for future pay on some projects.
Tappeluft’s managing director Kjetil Omberg, also a co-owner, claims that public investor Innovation Norway and public film financer The Norwegian Film Institure (NFI) are to blame for not being willing to negotiate. He cites the failed payment of a loan of one million NOK (106.000 euros / 124.000 USD) from a regional development fund as the specific reason. The loan application was handled by Innovation Norway, who in turn denies the accusation. -We’ve had a loan from Innovation Norway and Finnmark county. They made it clear they plan to bankrupt us, which leaves us no other option than to file for bankruptcy ourselves, Omberg said to Dagens Næringsliv (DN).
Innovation Norway special advisor Gunnar Kvernenes says in a comment to DN that they only handled the legal proceedings and that any and all decisions about granting loans was made by the regional authorities in Finnmark county. County representatives did not want to comment on the matter.
Omberg added that the public bodies have the right to claim their money back, but that the terms were much tougher than terms put in place by other creditors.
In an email to DN, Tommy Wirkola described the situation as sad, in particular because many of the creditors are personal friends of his. He added that he was proud of Tappeluft’s history of producing films outside Norway’s official film support programmes.
NFI also refused to comment on the case, as an appeal is currently being processed.
Tappeluft’s last film was 2017’s Kurt Josef Wagle sequel. It was seen by only 23.000 people in theatres and thus did not trigger post-release support from NFI.