Toronto 2012: TrustNordisk Takes International Rights on 'Pioneer'

The thriller from "Insomnia" director Erik Skjoldbaerg stars "Headhunters" actor Aksel Hennie and Wes Bentley of "The Hunger Games."

TORONTO - TrustNordisk has picked up international sales rights for Pioneer, the new film from Norwegian director Erik Skjoldbaerg, whose crime thriller Insomnia (1997) was remade by Dark Knight Rises helmer Christopher Nolan in 2002.

Trust will be pre-selling the film to buyers at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

Pioneer is set in the early 80s at the beginning of the Norwegian oil rush, when huge oil and gas deposits were discovered in the North Sea and the Norwegian government sought to tap it by running a pipeline some 1,600 feet below the waves.

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The plot of the conspiracy thriller follows Petter, played by Headhunters star Aksel Hennie, a professional diver obessed with reaching the sea floor who gets caught up in a web of political intrigue. Pioneer also stars Wes Bentley - who played Seneca Crane in The Hunger Games - Stephen Lang (Avatar), Jonathan LaPaglia (Cold Case) and Mexican actress Stephanie Sigman (Miss Bala).

Friland Produksjon, the group behind Headhunters and Jens Lien's Sons of Norway, produced Pioneer with Christian Fredrik Martin heading the production. Pandora Filmproduktion and Matila Rohr Productions in Germany, Sweden's Garagefilm International, France's Les Films d'Antoine and Denmark's Nordisk Film are co-producing.

Financing for the $7.6 million (€6 million) production came in part from backing by regional funds across Scandinavia, Germany and France as well as from pan-European funding bodies Eurimages and the MEDIA fund.

Pioneer is set to bow in the fall of 2013. Nordisk Film will release the movie across Scandinavia. Insomnia was Skoldbaerg's international breakthrough.

The far-north thriller sold to more than 20 countries before Nolan gave the film a Hollywood remake starring Robin Williams and Al Pacino. Skoldbaerg followed up with his own English-language debut, Prozac Nation (2001), starring Christina Ricci, Jessica Lange and Anne Heche.

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