My review & pictures of the “Ragnarok” World Premiere Q&A at Fantastic Fest 2013

On Friday, September 20, 2013 I attended the World Premiere of Ragnarok at Fantastic Fest 2013 in Austin, Texas. The screening took place at the brand new Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline.

Scandinavia is surprisingly fertile ground for genre pictures. Norway's The Troll Hunter (now titled Trollhunter) was one of my Top 10 from Fantastic Fest 2010 (where it debuted as a "work in progress") and was picked up by Magnolia Pictures' genre arm, Magnet Releasing. Now, three years later, history repeats itself as Fantastic Fest debuts another Norwegian horror film set to be distributed by Magnolia/Magnet. Ragnarok has the distinction, though, of being quite family-friendly. It was one of only two films I saw at this year's festival that I could place into that category.

A bit Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, National Treasure, and Journey to the Center of the Earth all rolled into one, Ragnarok chronicles the journey of archaeologist Sigurd Svendsen (played by Pål Sverre Hagen) into the no man's land separating northern Norway from Russia. He's hoping to answer mysterious questions raised by ancient runes found in the Oseburg ship, the single biggest find in Nordic history. Mythical Viking tales of monsters and the end of the world loom large as he, along with a couple of colleagues and their children, venture into the beautiful but uninhabited Finnmark region. Partly based on facts (the ship discovery is real), Ragnarok takes on an air of authenticity that makes this a wondrous motion picture for all ages. 

This is the second feature for director Mikkel Brænne Sandemose, from a script by first-time screenwriter John Kåre Raake. Hagen won an Amanda for Best Actor, Norway's equivalent to the Oscar, as Thor Heyerdahl in Kon-Tiki in 2012. He's well known in Norwegian films and television. The rest of the cast are all familiar faces to Norwegians as well. Legendary actor Bjørn Sundquist, 65, has broken into Western cinema, appearing in 2009's Dead Snow and in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters in 2012.  

Ragnarok was produced by Norway's Fantefilm along with Sweden's Film i Väst and Denmark's Ghost VFX. Magnolia Pictures acquired the film for US distribution on the basis of a three minute promotional clip shown at the European Film Market in Berlin this past February. It opens in Norway this month through Nordisk Filmdistribusjon but no domestic release date has been set yet by Magnolia. 

Director Mikkel Brænne Sandemose and writer John Kåre Raake were joined by stars Pål Sverre Hagen and Nicolai Cleve Broch after the screening for an entertaining Q&A session. The discussion was moderated by Fantastic Fest's Luke Mullen.

Here are some pictures I shot during the Q&A:

GALLERY (24 photos)



Author

Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at Larry411.com

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