(By our Norwegian correspondent Jan Ronald Stange/Motlys press info) ‘a-ha The Movie’ is scheduled for cinema openings this week in over 130 cinemas across Norway, and has been picked up for screenings in multiple countries. Among these are USA, UK, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg, Hungary, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany, where it opens on 80 screens on September 14th. The movie is being met with raving reviews after previews and early screenings at film festivals like Filmfest München and Tribeca Festial (New York), where it also became the runner up to the Audience Award.
The directors Thomas Robsahm and Aslaug Holm wanted to tell the full story of how three young men followed their impossible dream of becoming world famous pop starts outside Norway – a country known for “zero points” in the Eurovision Song Contest.
When ‘Take On Me’ reached nr 1 on Billboard in the US in 1985, the dream came true. Or did it? The band was not prepared for what the success could bring, including tension between the three band members. The film team travelled with a-ha for almost five years, and we had a quick mail chat with Thomas Robsahm to get some details.
Side-Line: How did this movie come about?
Thomas Robsahm: I’ve always wanted to make a film about the making of an album, and the original idea was to make one about a-ha´s 10th album, after the success of ‘Foot of the Mountain’ (2009). But they decided to split in 2010, and then the album ‘Cast in Steel’ from 2015 was made in secrecy before the band did they comeback the same year. When we started filming in 2016, we were hoping for a new album to be made during the years we were planning to film, but one said yes, one said maybe and one said no…
So, instead we followed them on the road, told the whole story of a-ha and continued hoping.
S-L: It took several years to finish – lots of obstacles along the way?
TR: The main obstacle was actually the financing, because in the documentary world everybody wants to see more and more finished work before they want to commit, so the film was made very much piece by piece. The three members of the band were lovely to deal with all the way. It’s only when they have to be all three together as a-ha that things turn dark.
S-L: How much did the corona situation affect the launch?
TR: The premiere sold out in ten minutes and was supposed to happen in November 2020, but we had no choice but to postpone.
S-L: What was the best and the worst parts of doing this movie?
TR: The best part was to be around the band for so long, to study their work even harder, including tons of archive material. The worst part was not getting them to make more music, of course. It was close, but didn’t happen.
S-L: I saw the movie will be shown on NRK (Norwegian public broadcasting) too, split in four parts. Is it the same as the cinematic version, or some extra content added? Is it scheduled for TV/streaming abroad too?
TR: Yes, that’s right, the NRK-version is a little bit longer, but not that much. Also structured a bit different since it’s in four parts. It will be released in theatres and on television in around 30 countries (so far) and eventually it will end up at some streaming service, but it will not be for a while.
S-L: Collectors of a-ha music and memorabilia will definitely ask this right after the openings: when is it coming on DVD/BluRay? Any extra content there?
TR: DVD and BluRays will be released in several territories. I am not a big fan of adding deleted scenes, cause it actually affects how you remember the film. Like the scenes were actually in the film. But, let’s see.
S-L: Other plans/upcoming projects with a-ha or other bands?
TR: I would love to do more music films and have a couple of ideas, but nothing is confirmed, yet. Oh, yes, I have one in development already; The Punk Pensioners. The title says it all, right? Let’s see if anybody wants to fund it.
S-L: Which band(s) would be your dream project(s) for next music movie(s)?
TR: If I could choose I would make the definitive film about ABBA. Or Everything But The Girl, the most underrated band ever. Or Cocteau Twins. Or Motorpsycho. Yeah, plenty of great bands.
Get yourself to the cinema and enjoy the movie!
PS! Thomas Robsahm is also a musician, involved in several punk, gothic and dark wave bands since the 80’s, and together with Arvid Skancke-Knutsen their band White Lord Jesus is actually busy crowdfunding their 1984 album ‘Amen’ in the series Norwegian Album Classics On CD – get yours there!
We also wrote about the project some months ago – after a summer break they’re at it again, have passed 130 releases, the next 20 lined up!
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