Erik Skjoldbjaerg's Oil Rush Thriller 'Pioneer' Gets Toronto Slot

The film will unspool in the Canadian film festival's special presentations sidebar during this year's shindig, which runs Sept. 5-15.

Norwegian director Erik Skjoldbjærg’s oil rush thriller Pioneer has secured a special screening slot during the 38th Toronto International Film Festival.

Billed as “a high-octane conspiracy thriller inspired by 1970s classics such as The Conversation, Three Days of Condor and Chinatown," the movie stars Aksel Hennie as a professional deep-sea diver with Ane Dahl Torp, Jorgen Langhelle, Wes Bentley and Stephen Lang.

It is produced by Christian Fredrik Martin of Friland Film and details the story of a deep-sea diver who investigates oil companies and their government links after one of his friends dies unexpectedly.

Scripted by Hans Gunnarsson, Kathrina Valen Zeiner, Cathinka Nicolaysen, Nikolaj Frobenius and Skjoldbjærg, Pioneer will open the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund on Aug. 15.

Denmark’s TrustNordisk sold the film to Magnolia Pictures for U.S. distribution.

The movie's inclusion in the Canadian festival will be Skjoldbjærg’s third visit, having previously traveled there with Insomnia (1997) and Prozac Nation (2001).

It also marks Norway’s third entry in three years in Toronto’s special presentations sidebar after Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters in 2011 and Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning’s foreign Oscar hopeful Kon-Tiki in 2012.

Skjoldbjærg described the Toronto festival shindig as the "most important showcase for the industry in North America," noting it was also an audience festival.

TIFF runs Sept. 5-15, 2013.