Far North

(a.k.a. True North)

Date Released:  08/2008
Premiere:  08/2007 Venice Film Festival
Language:  English
Production Companies:  The Bureau, PJB Picture Company,
FilmCamp, Ingenious Film Partners, Film4 Productions
Sales/Distribution:  Dreamachine / Celluloid Dreams
Producers:  Bertrand Faivre, Petter Borgli
Director:  Asif Kapadia
Screenplay:  Asif Kapadia, Tim Miller
Cinematography:  Roman Osin
Editing:  Ewa J. Lind
Music:  Dario Marianelli
Production Design:  Ben Scott
Costume Design:  Ben Scott
Makeup/Hair:  Kirstin Chalmers
Category:  Drama/Thriller
Countries:  UK/France
Running Time:  89 minutes
Budget:  US$10 million
MPAA Rating:  R
Saiva .... Michelle Yeoh
Anja .... Michelle Krusiec
Loki .... Sean Bean
Andrei .... Per Egil Aske
Blondy .... Jan Olav Dahl
Baldy .... Espen Prestbakmo
Slim .... Hakan Niva
Ivar .... Gary Pillai
Shaman .... Bjarne Osterud
Ivar's Father .... Sven Henriksen
Ivar's Mother .... Neeru Agarwal

Official Festival Selection: 
• Venice International Film Festival 2007 - Out of Competition
• Pusan International Film Festival 2007 - World Cinema
• Dinard British Film Festival 2007 - In Competition
• Roche Sur Yon "En Route Vers Le Monde" 2007
• Antalya Eurasia International Film Festival 2007
    - International Eurasia Feature Film Competition
• London Film Festival 2007 - Film on the Square
• Amazonas Film Festival in Manaus 2007
• Kendal Film Festival 2007
• Tromso International Film Festival 2008
• Philadelphia Film Festival 2008
• Moscow International Film Festival 2008
• Philadelphia Asian-American Film Festival 2008 - Openning Night
• International Marrakech Film Festival 2008 - Out of Competition
• Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 2008
• Calabria Film Festival 2008
• Malta International Film Festival 2009

Far North
Release Dates:
Aug. 22, India
Sept. 9, Russia
Sept. 23, U.S. (DVD)
Dec. 26, U.K.
Jan. 28, German (DVD)
Mar. 18, France
Taiwan (?)

Reviews & Articles:

Hollywood Reporter:
- An outdoor adventure full of surprises and sharp as an ice pick.

- a classic folk tale, a strong, simple human story economically told with minimal dialogue and breathtaking cinematography.

Screen Daily:
- Ravishing...nuanced and compelling to watch... there are moments when Far North achieves the visionary, timeless quality of a folk tale.

Times Online:
- The performance by Yeoh is hypnotic... The friction in Yeoh's cramped tent is electric... The scenic shots are extraordinary...

Indian Express:
- Yeoh is simply brilliant. A great beauty, she has at the same time this immense capability of conveying a cruel coldness... she is the embodiment of our worst fears: those that can't be voiced, and those that won't stop at anything.

View London:
- Far North is an impressively directed and superbly written drama that exerts a powerful grip throughout, thanks to a superb central performance from Michelle Yeoh.
- Michelle Yeoh is terrific as Saiva, delivering an intense, powerful performance that is utterly absorbing. Bean is equally good, treading a careful balance as a man capable of both extreme violence and genuine tenderness.

- a bleak, minimalist, stunning and ultimately shocking film.

Eye For Film:
- Her (Yeoh) portrayal of Saiva as both seasoned survivor and conflicted victim brings the full tragic portent of her flash-backed past straight into her present actions and wavering gaze, transfixing throughout.

Film 4:
- A tense, snow-swept fable and another remarkable film from Asif Kapadia.
- Yeoh makes the role and the film her own, her dancer's physicality filling some of the empty spaces in the characterisation of the troubled, formidable isolationist.

- If as much care were taken with script as with visuals, pic would have more impact.

Far North:
|Promotion Images|   |Video Clips|   |Presskits|   |TIFF|   |Film Index|

A dark epic tale set in the harsh beauty of the Arctic where SAIVA and ANJA struggle to survive on the frozen wastes. They are forced further North to escape Soldiers taking over their homeland and settle on a desolate island. One day a figure, LOKI, appears on the ice and collapses, close to death. Despite her fears Saiva saves him. When Loki recovers, Saiva and Anja compete for his attention. A passionate relationship forms between Anja and Loki which leaves Saiva isolated. When the lovers plan to leave for a new life together, a desperate Saiva acts with terrifying and tragic consequences. (click on image to read full version)

Far North News: 
© MichelleYeoh.info
[* For more news on Michelle Yeoh or site updates, please visit News page ]
[** More information to share? Please e-mail webmaster ]

(05/20/10) Far North will be screened at the Omega Centre in Portsmouth, U.K., on May 25, 7:30pm. Organized by the Portsmouth Film Society.

(11/06/09) Far North is being shown on the 6th Malta International Film Festival (Oct. 30 and Nov. 7).

(06/18/09) NDTV Lumiere has announced the theatrical release of Far North in Delhi and Bangalore, India. Screening starts on June 19th.

(05/26/09) The Region 2 DVD of Far North was released yesterday. Director Asif Kapadia said he had made sure it is filled with extras which have not previously been seen. Image at left: the DVD cover. (click to enlarge)   (thanks Asif!)
DVD Extras:
- Director's Commentary
- 'Making of Far North' Feature
- Polar Location Shoot
- Cast & Crew Interviews
- Original Score and Short Story

(05/07/09) U.K. DVD of Far North (Region 2) will be released on May 25th by Soda Pictures. (click on the images to enlarge)

(03/17/09) Four film clips (in English with French subtitles). Far North is releasing in France tomorrow.
    - Choosing a camp site (01:45)
    - Hunting party (02:26)
    - Saiva's revenge (01:35)
    - Announcing separation (02:05)


(click to enlarge. images from "Filmstarts" etc.)

(03/02/09) Michelle Yeoh & Asif Kapadia Q&A - Part 3   (07:47)

(02/11/09) French Pressbook and new images. (thanks Asif!)

posters from France (left) and India (right)

(click to enlarge)

(02/09/09) If you have a German address, you may win a German DVD of Far North at www.bean-land.de (ending on February 23). The German DVD came out for rent on January 28 and will be available for sale on February 12. (thanks Renate of bean-land.de)

(click to enlarge. images courtesy of bean-land.de)

(02/03/09) Some upcoming Far North screenings in London with director Asif Kapadia's Q&A sessions:
    Feb. 4: The London Film School, screening followed by Q&A with Asif Kapadia and producer Bertrand Faivre
    Feb. 15: Curzon Mayfair London, special screening of Far North and Q&A with Asif Kapadia
    Mar. 9: Tongues on Fire Asian Film Festival screening followed by a Director's Workshop with Asif Kapadia

(01/26/09) The French theatrical release date of Far North is scheduled on March 18, 2009.

(01/24/09) Video from the official website: Michelle Yeoh & Asif Kapadia Q&A - Part 2   (03:02)

- Video from the official website: Michelle Yeoh & Asif Kapadia Q&A - Part 1   (07:12)

- "Guardian" Audio: Michelle Yeoh talking about "Far North" (23:24 - 31:10, you may drag the progress bar to the time location directly)

- On the cover of the actual U.S. DVD, they have changed positions of the two Michelles and the name tags are now correct. (previous version)

(click to enlarge)

- "The Nation": Inspiring scenes and extreme landscapes
        "I've shot a film in extreme heat and it's much harder shooting in the cold. You stop thinking. As long as you're wearing the right kit, you're OK. I know that our main actress, Michelle Yeoh, had a tricky moment during filming. She hadn't eaten properly and her blood sugar level was low. She fainted, and we were on a glacier at the time. But she was great. She just carried on and kept spirits among the crew high. Some of the crew didn't make the whole shoot, and these were tough guys who'd spent months on Bond films."   - directorAsif Kapadia

- Michelle was awarded as Best Actress at the 2nd Calabria Film Festival (December 2-6, 2008, Italy) for her performance in Far North. (thanks Asif!)

- German DVD of Far North is schedule to release on January 28. See cover image at left (click to enlarge).

- Video: Asif Kapadia on The Fabulous Picture Show - Far North (0-07:44. including clips, behind scenes, and brief interviews of Michelle and Sean Bean)
- Guardian article on Michelle Yeoh: All-action heroine
- Director Asif Kapadia on Far North (Film 4): page 1 page 2
- Reviews: Channel4  Empire  Screen India  View Cambridge 

(12/21/08) - Still images:

(click to enlarge. Images from I Think Therefore I Review and The Mighty Bean)

- Video: the Fabulous Picture Show - Far North (0:00 - 07:44).   Director Asif Kapadia's Q&A session with The Fabulous Picture Show. Includes film clips, behind scenes, and brief interviews of Sean Bean and Michelle.

- Interviews with Director Asif Kapadia:   MAKERS: Arctic Dreams (Vertigo Magazine)   Electric Sheep Magazine

- Matro interview with Sean Bean

(12/18/08) Michelle was interviewed on BBC London's Robert Elms radio show, Dec. 18th. Listen to the program - Michelle's interview is around 01:13:35 - 01:25:51. (You may drag the progress bar to the time location directly)   (thanks Denzylle!). Also, UK Official Far North blog/Site was collecting interview questions to Michelle and director Asif Kapadia. Unfortunately the deadline has past when you read this message here. The good news is that they will post the whole Q&A session with Michelle and Asif soon.

Far North has been submitted to the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).

(12/16/08) - For the schedule of cinemas and promotional events for Far North in U.K., please visit the playlist at Soda Pictures. Also, check the UK Official Far North blog/Site for the Arctic Cruise competition and special preview screenings.

- Official U.K. and Russian posters of Far North: (click to enlarge)

- Sueddeutsche.de: Michelle Yeoh Interview from the TIFF, Junuary 2008.

(12/13/08) UK Official Far North blog/Site

(12/13/08) Click on images to enlarge:

(12/13/08) More photos of Michelle and director Asif Kapadia at the TIFF, Junuary 2008. (click to enlarge. "TIFF" images. thanks Miao Miao)

(12/09/08) Join the cast and director in London, December 11th:
   Where: Apple Store, 235 Regent Street London, W1B 2EL 020 7153 9000
   When: 7:00pm - 8:00pm

The cast will also be taking questions from the audience, announced Apple Store website. Far North opens in the U.K. on December 26th.

(11/24/08) Reports from Marrakech:
  Press Conference given by Michelle Yeoh and Director Asif Kapadia
  Tribute to the Asian actress Michelle Yeoh

(11/21/08) On November 21st during the 8th Marrakech International Film Festival, Marrakech, Morocco, Michelle was honoured in recognition of her contribution to the film industry. The special tribute was followed by the screening of Far North.   (For more photos from the event please see News)

(1-4) Michelle at photocall for "Far North"   (5-6) Michelle and director Asif Kapadia at the festival's tribute for Michelle
(click to enlarge. "Zimbio" photos)

(11/21/08) On November 18th Michelle Krusiec attended the Far North gala premiere in Taiwan, held during the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. Krusiec told Taiwanese reporters that the Arctic shooting was so cold even the film negatives kept breaking because of the low temperatures. Both people and machines needed to have breaks to warm up every few hours. She also said she and Michelle (Yeoh) were like sisters off the camera. She said her face got spotty because of the coldness and Michelle (Yeoh) saw it and secretly gave her some skin care products. Krusiec said both Michelle Yeoh and Sean Bean are excellent actors and it was very easy to get into the filming mode when they were present.

(11/14/08) - Some upcoming Far North screenings in U.K. with director Asif Kapadia's Q&A sessions:
    Nov. 23: Fxposures Film Festival, Manchester
    Dec. 10: British Film Institute
    Dec. 29: Curzon Cinemas

- Far North will be screened at the 8th International Marrakech Film Festival, as an official selection of non-competition films, on the evening of November 21st. Michelle will be attending the special homage paid to her. Five other Michelle films will be screened from the 20th - 22nd during the festival. (link)

(10/31/08) Far North will be screened at the 6th Inverness Film Festival (Nov. 19 - 23), Scotland. Screening time: Sunday Nov. 23, 5:00pm.

(10/24/08) Far North will be screened at the 8th International Marrakech Film Festival (Nov. 14 - 22) as a non-competition film. The festival will have a special tribute honoring Michelle. Michelle has been confirmed to attend.

(10/22/08) Far North will be screened on October 31 and November 1 in Moscow during the annual New British Film Festival.

(10/21/08) - Ahead of the release date on December 26th in the U.K., several press screenings were given at the beginning of this month. Here are some of the initial press reactions:
    "one of the best films i've seen all year" -- "Mad Dog Magazine"
    "A really good story, Michelle Yeoh was great and to use a cliche, the scenery was breathtaking!" -- "Law and More"
    "Really enjoyed it. Offbeat, exotic and inteiguing" -- "5 Live"
    "A unique film, original and groundbreaking" -- "Tip Magazine"
    "Beautifully shot. Shockingly brutal though" -- "BBC Radio 4"
    "The director made the most of a low budget and small cast to create a suitably menacing atmosphere and Michelle Yeoh's performance was excellent. And the final twist was brilliantly macabre" -- "Monocle"

- More film stills (click to enlarge):

(10/07/08) Far North will be the opening night film at the 1st Annual Philadelphia Asian-American Film Festival. Show time: 7:00pm, Thursday, October 9.

(10/06/08) Taiwan premiere of Far North will be held on November 18th at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. Taiwanese American actress Michelle Krusiec has been confirmed to attend. The film will be screened during the festival on Nov. 18 and 20. The Chinese title of the film is listed as "Ji Di Jin Lian" (Forbidden Love in the Polar Region).

(09/09/08) Far North will start a limited release in Russia on October 9, 2008, distributed by "Russian Report". The film was screened at the Moscow International Film Festival in June.

Saiva and Anja
(click to enlarge. "Yahoo Taiwan")
- Reviews of Far North from India:
    The Indian Express: Far North
    Express India: Feel the Chill
    The Hindu: Character study in a magnificent backdrop
    Deccan Herald: Far North

- The Region 1 DVD (for U.S. and Canada) of Far North will be released on September 23rd. 89 minutes.
    Far North DVD review  Pre-order at Amazon

(08/19/08) Far North will open in India on August 22nd, shown at PVR Cinemas by NDTV Lumiere.

(08/09/08) Far North will be screened as an official selection at the Espoo Film Festival, Tapiola, Finland. 5:30pm, August 20.

(08/07/08) High quality official film images (click to enlarge. "Celluloid Dreams"):

(07/27/08) The theatrical release date in Taiwan has been re-scheduled on December 5th.

(07/25/08) U.K.'s Film Distributors' Association listed the theatrical release date for Far North is scheduled on December 26th.


(click to enlarge. images from "DVDactive")

(06/12/08) Image Entertainment will release Far North on DVD in the U.S. on September 23rd. (details) Well, guess I have to forget about the hope of seeing the extraordinary picture on IMAX screen...

(06/02/08) The theatrical release of Far North in Taiwan is currently scheduled on October 31, by Taiwan's Group Power.

(05/09/08) Thanks Renate who shares with us her report on Far North and an exclusive interview with director Asif Kapadia at last month's Britspotting Festival in Berlin (with some interesting behind the scenes stories).
Report from Britspotting on Far North
Far North - Talk with Asif Kapadia

(05/07/08) Full transcript of Michelle at "Blatt Lerret"/TIFF, January 18, 2008. Michelle talks about the filming and character of Far North. Also video download links.

(04/29/08) Far North received the MPAA rating "R" for "some violent and disturbing content, and brief sexuality." Submitted by Image Entertainment, Inc., which will be the distributor of the film in North America (home video only?).

(04/17/08) A trailer of Far North by Film Four, (01:34):   Vital Prague   YouTube

(04/11/08) "Vertigo Magazine": Stories of the Eye: Far North Notes (Vol. 3 No.7 Autumn / Winter 2007)

Saiva and Anja hug Loki and Anja skating Loki runs into the freezing waste
(click to enlarge)

(04/04/08) Far North will be screened this month at the 2008 Philadelphia Film Festival on April 8 and 11, and Berlin's British and Irish Film Festival (Britspotting), April 12. The film was an opening film for the Febio Fest 2008 in Prague (March 27 - April 4).

(03/12/08) Video: Asif Kapadia talks Far North at the 2008 GFF [4:02]
Far North is expected to be released in autumn/winter 2008 in the U.K., by Soda Pictures.

(02/28/08) "Blatt Lerret" Video: Meeting with Michelle Yeoh
It was the special session with Michelle at TIFF on January 18th in Tromso. Host: Kjetil Lismoen. They also published a video on the session with director Asif Kapadia, without the film clip which is included in Karl's video for this site. ("RUSHPRINT" photo. click to enlarge)

    Video 1: clips, interviews with Michelle Yeoh and Sean Bean [1:41]
    Video 2: clips, interviews with Sean Bean and Michelle Krusiec [1:10]

(02/19/08) Exclusive Video from the TIFF in January 2008:
    - A film clip from Asif Kapadia's "Far North" presentation (01:04 2.39MB)
    - Entire "Far North" presentation by Asif Kapadia (21 minutes)
Same as last year, the "Blatt Lerret" session was hosted by Kjetil Lismoen of RUSHPRINT. Again, special thanks to Karl A. Roman, who taped the session and so kindly sent me this video on DVD from Tromso. Also many thanks to BAM (from the U.K.) for the help in converting the video!

(02/15/08) A "Far North" Video segment (01:02) from Chinese TV, featuring Michelle Yeoh and Michelle Krusiec.

(02/11/08) Image Entertainment, Inc. a leading independent licensee, producer and distributor of home entertainment programming in North America, has acquired the North American distribution rights for Far North (Business Wire news). Hm... does it mean no theatrical release of the film in North America?

(02/07/08) Image at left: Far North at EFM Berlin (click to enlarge. "Celluloid Dreams")

Far North has been sold in the following territories: North Amercia, UK, France, Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia/CIS, Baltic States, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, India, Brazil, Columbia, and Middle East.

(01/29/08) - Far North will be screened at the European Film Market during the 58th Berlin International Film Festival on February 7th and 11th.

- Far North will be screened on February 18 and 19 at the Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow, U.K.. The screening on Monday the 18th will be introduced by director Asif Kapadia who will answer questions after the screening.

(01/23/08) Soda Pictures, a UK based film distributor of art house, independent and world cinema, has announced the acquisition of Far North for release in the UK. They are aiming for an Autumn release.

(01/19/08) Exclusive report from TIFF, by Karl A. Roman. Karl , who provided us the excellent TIFF (also BLATT LERRET session) coverage last year, now returned to this year's TIFF. Millions of thanks, Karl!

Exclusive Report and Photos on Interviews with Michelle Yeoh and Asif Kapadia

Director Asif Kapadia said that IFC has bought the U.S. distribution rights to the film.

(01/18/08) Michelle arrived in Tromso in the afternoon of the 17th. Photos: Michelle with director Asif Kapadia and TIFF festival director Martha Otte ("NRK" photos).

(01/16/08) Michelle will attend TIFF's BLATT LERRET (Blue Screen) on Friday January 18th, and director Asif Kapadia will appear at the session of the 17th. (BLATT LERRET program, Tromso International Film Festival)

(01/15/08) TIFF announced that they are canceling one of the planned Far North screenings because the film recently got a Norwegian distributor and will be shown at cinemas. Also, Director Asif Kapadia recently mentioned at the ICA that the film has got a distributor and it is being released in the Autumn (not sure for which territories).

(01/10/08) - Norwegian RUSHPRINT announced that Michelle and director Asif Kapadia will attend TIFF's BLATT LERRET (Blue Screen) section. It didn't specify which day. BLATT LERRET will be held on Thursday the 17th and Friday the 18th, at 6:00pm.

- Far North will be screened in Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard, on Tuesday, January 15th (see Longyearbyen lokalstyre ). During the Svalbard filming when they lived on the ship, Longyearbyen was the place they returned every weekend for a break.

- The photos at left are from "Longyearbyen lokalstyre" and the one at right is Michelle and Sean Bean, taken during the Svalbard filming, and provided by Lasse Ostervold who worked with them on the film. Also here is a HQ version of the Michelle and Gary Pillai photo on Jan. 4. Thank you Lasse! (click on photos to enlarge)

(01/07/08) Far North will have three screenings at the TIFF, on 17th, 18th and 19th. The online ticket sale opens January 11 and the box office opens January 12. Michelle and director Asif Kapadia are scheduled to attend the Tromso International Film Festival.

- Far North will be screened at ICA Cinema in London on Sunday, January 13, 4:00pm, after a special session with director Asif Kapadia, who will introduce the screening. The screening is in conjunction with the London Short Film Festival. (link)
- The screening schedule of TIFF will be announced next Monday. Far North is a competition film at the Tromso International Film Festival.
- Far North was an official selection for the 4th annual Amazonas Film Festival in Manaus, Brazil, November 9-15, 2007.

(01/04/08) Here are several set photos from Far North filming, courtesy of Lasse's Facebook. (click to enlarge)

Michelle and Gary Pillai
on set (HQ)
two Michelles Michelle with Hakan Niva who plays a soldier

(12/09/07) A review of Far North from Times Online. Far North is listed on Times' The 100 best films of 2007.

(11/26/07) - Far North clip (BFI 51st London Film Festival)

- Asif Kapadia interview with "Open" (SPOILER warning).

- "Far North is a very tragic, very traumatic story about reindeer herders who live in extremely harsh climate. As contemporary people living in cities, we will never be able to understand what goes on back there," said Michelle in an interview with Review Asia. Talking about how an Asian actress fits into the story, she said: "When we are in front of the camera, it stops being about us. It stops being about our own character; it's not a reflection of your self. In this day and age, ignorance is no longer bliss. There are subject matters and personal stories that are much more important than our own. These are stories that know no boundaries of race, geography or culture."

(11/23/07) - The premiere of Far North in Norway, where a large part of the filming took place, will be held at the 2008 Tromso International Film Festival (TIFF, Jan 15 - 20). Michelle and director Asif Kapadia will be attending, said a TIFF press release. The news has been reported by many Nowegian media. "Rush Print" says Michelle will be at TIFF on January 17th.

two Michelles feeding dogs Michelle and Gary Pillai on set Michelle in Malselv during "Far North" filming, Oct, 2006
(click to enlarge. photos from "Nordlys", "iTromso", and "VG")

- "Eye for Film": Freeze frames, an interview with director Asif Kapadia. Excerpt:
"My casting director does films for Ang Lee and Lars Von Trier and she said, 'Michelle Yeoh will be the person for you,'... She’s a fantastic actress but also very strong. She comes from martial arts so physically she's strong but mentally she’s also a very strong personality, and she has a very wonderful heart.

"I met her in Sundance a few years ago and she said she picks her movies depending on who the director is and we got along very well. The cameraman had been up to the Artic a year before we shot the film and the composer had done some music so I showed her some footage of the place and explained what it was going to be like - and she decided to jump on board. It took a long time for the film to get together and she had a huge movie waiting to go and she kept saying, 'no I want to do this small independent film'."
(Jane's notes: actually, Michelle is not a professionally trained martial artist. She was trained in ballet, instead. (Biography) )

(11/05/07) An interesting Interview with Asif Kapadia (by Virginie Selavy).

(11/04/07) Far North will be screened at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival on November 9 and 12th, Kendal, Cumbria, U.K.. "A powerful film that combines action, love and survival in the frozen wastes".

(10/25/07) Download the three film clips which are shown in Asif Kapadia's interview. (Thanks BAM for helping with the video encoding.)
      1. Saiva with the soldiers   (0:55, 1.2MB)
      2. Saiva and Anja   (0:37, 411KB)
      3. Saiva and Loki   (0:38, 530KB)

(10/23/07) Riz Khan: Asif Kapadia's movie "Far north". It features a video clip of an interview with Asif Kapadia. The director talked about the story, the characters, and the actors. Three sequences from the film are shown: Michelle with soldiers; Michelle with Michelle Krusiec; and Michelle with Sean Bean. During the last few minutes he also talked about The Warrior and showed a sequence from it. (17:19)

(10/21/07) - Two interviews with director Asif Kapadia by UK's BBC. The U.K. premiere of Far North will be at the London Film Festival at the end of the month.
    - BBC article, Oct 16: Extreme cinema alert!
    - BBC "The Film Programme", Oct 19th. You may listen to the interview at here (02:00-10:00) or here (control at upper left).

- Far North is on Celluloid Dreams's screening lists for the American Film Market (AFM, Oct 31 - Nov 7) and the Rome Film Festival Market (Oct 18 -27). Far North is currently looking for distributors. It has been sold in the following territories: Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Ex-Yugoslavia, Middle East, Bulgaria, Brazil, Colombia, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India. The Chinese title of the film in Taiwan will be "Bei Guo Zui Yu Fa" (Crime and Punishment in the North).

AFM Rome film market
(click to enlarge)

(10/10/07) An Asif Kapadia Interview on Far North, from U.K.'s "Open Magazine".   (contains some spoilers)

Also, director Asif Kapadia will give a preview of Far North on the evening of October 11 at London's Nehru Centre. (Satyajit Ray Foundation)

(10/10/07) On October 9th Michelle appeared at the 12th Pusan International Film Festival in Busan (Pusan), South Korea. Far North is an official selection of the festival. Michelle was a special guest to the festival for Co-Production PRO Conference and press meeting. She mentioned Far North to the press but apparently her Pusan trip was not arranged by the production companies and was not focused on the film promotion. For more details and photos please see News.

(09/27/07) Video: an interview with Michelle during the Venice Film Festival, August 31st (07:06, in Cantonese).

Excerpt (translation): "The biggest challenge for me was that I didn't know how I should act this role. People who live there are different from you and me. They are not modern people. They were like that 50 years ago and will be the same way 50 years from now... it's timeless. Those people live in their own world. I did not know how they could survive there. When I read the script, I thought it was impossible. I did not understand their logic, I've never tried to live in such environment - every day they face life and death. A snowstorm could destroy everything. When I stepped off the ship on the first day, I used to think I am a person who could survive almost anywhere. But in that place, I wouldn't be able to survive one night on my own... When we were training for the film, I experienced that kind of cold and emptiness. It makes your heart go silent. Many said in that place one becomes melancholy, like you don't see sunlight for 24 hours a day. It's hard to imagine. You might have felt dark before, but you know it's just the lights got turned off and you could still see lights if you walked outside. But in that place you have no choice. It's like total darkness everywhere. So what they feel is hard to imagine by outsiders."

(09/25/07) The new release date for Sara Maitland's "Far North and Other Dark Tales" is March 27, 2008. The collection of short stories features Far North/True North as the title story and will be published by Maia Press Limited. Image at left: book cover (click to enlarge).

(09/25/07) An interview with Sean Bean about the film on CNN International: Far North: Love in a cold climate

(09/21/07) Far North will be featured as an the official selection for the 12th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF, Oct. 4-12), one of the most significant film festival in Asia. The film will have four screenings from Oct. 6 to 11. Michelle will attend the festival in Pusan, South Korea.

(09/19/07) Far North will be a competition film at the 3rd International Eurasia Film Festival (October 19-28) in Turkey.

(09/19/07) InSight (affiliated with SOAS, University of London) will host an "Asif Kapadia Q & A" on September 24th. They will screen Kapadia's The Warrior.

(09/13/07) Far North will be screened at the BFI 51st London Film Festival (Oct. 17 - Nov. 1), the UK's largest public film event, on October 30 and 31.

"Based on a short story by Sara Maitland, Far North has a folk-tale-like simplicity in its storytelling, and this works in absolute harmony with the purity of the awe-inspiring setting. The challenging filming conditions surely tested both cast and crew, but there is little indication of this onscreen, indeed the reverse is true. Location, character and dramatic tension seem effortlessly managed, marshalled to give us this timeless story of survival and revenge."

(09/10/07) Far North has been selected as a competition film at the 18th Dinard British Film Festival (October 4 -7).

(09/10/07) Photos from the premiere of Far North at the 64th Venice Film Festival, August 30th. (more photos)

Michelle, Asif Kapadia, Michelle Krusiec, and Sean Bean attending the premiere

(click to enlarge. photos from "WireImage")

(09/08/07) Video clips from the 64th Venice Film Festival:
- Video 1: a Hong Kong TV news report on Far North, featuring some scenes from the film and brief interviews with Michelle Krusiec and Sean Bean.  (in Mandarin Chinese & English."phoenixTV")
- Video 2: clip from the Far North press conference with interviews of Michelle and Asif Kapadia. No sound at the beginning but ok later on. In English and Cantonese.  (07:17. "Sina")
- Video 3: the two Michelles on the red carpet of the Far North premiere (during rain)  (02:14. "Sina")
- Video 4: a Far North red carpet interview with Michelle Yeoh  (01:51. in Cantonese. "Sina")

- Selected photos from the Far North press photocall during the 64th Venice Film Festival, August 30th. The press conference was attended by Michelle (Yeoh), Sean Bean, Michelle Krusiec, director Asif Kapadia, and producer Bertrand Faivre (not in the photos). More photos can be seen in Gallery.

(click on photos to enlarge. photos from "WireImage" and "Getty Images")

(09/04/07) - Far North PressBook (PDF, 32 pages, 4.37MB): synopsis, director's statement, production notes, images and much more, including stories such as Sean Bean running naked in snow - twice; Michelle fainting during a long tracking shot but then insisting they finish shooting all of the vital close shots of her before agreeing to be taken away on a snow mobile back to the ship to warm up; and one of the most tense and unusual screenings in Paris during the post-production phase when Asif Kapadia had planned to show an unfinished cut to Michelle but ended up with an audience that included the French Prime Minister...

- "Hollywood Reporter" review: An outdoor adventure full of surprises and sharp as an ice pick

- Poster and still images:

(click to enlarge. "Celluloid Dreams")

(08/16/07) [NOTE] I'm going for a vacation. Most likely there will be no update before September 4th. No unfortunately I'm not going to be in Venice. If any of you are among the lucky ones who get to see Far North (and our Michelle!) , I would be eager to hear from you. See ya!

(08/10/07) Both Michelle Yeoh and Michelle Krusiec will be attending the Far North premiere in Venice. At the moment it's uncertain whether Sean Bean will be there. The film is scheduled to be premiered on August 30th at the Venice Film Festival.

(08/07/07) It has been confirmed that Michelle (Yeoh) will be at the 64th Venice Film Festival for Far North. The complete program of the film festival will be available after August 15. (tickets)

(07/26/07) Far North will be premiered at the 64th Venice Film Festival (Aug.29 - Sept.8). It is on the official selection for Out of Competition, at Venetian Nights (Venezia Notte). The running time is listed as 89 minutes.

(07/20/07) The Satyajit Ray Foundation announced that there will be "An Evening With Writer Director Asif Kapadia" held on October 11 at London's Nehru Centre. Kapadia will talk about his past films as well as giving a preview of Far North which is presently in post-production. A Q&A session will follow the presentation. Details...

(07/05/07) U.K. "BBC" published a special feature, "Asif Kapadia on Filmmaking".
"... I'm bothered about how the film looks. For me, film is a very visual medium. I'm not the sort of person who will make a film that is really dialogue heavy. I don't want to see theatre on the big screen, or a radio play. The challenge is always about how to make the film really cinematic and visual. I suppose the obsession then is travelling to the ends of the world to try and find places to set the films. There's a much easier way to make movies, but I really like the challenge. I try to perfect every frame so that everything looks right.

"When I was making The Warrior in India I spent a hell of a lot of time travelling, coming back and rewriting, going back to India, coming back here and rewriting. The new film Far North is shot in the Arctic so I spent a lot of time in the North Pole on boats and ships and travelling across glaciers on snowmobiles, deciding how we were going to shoot it."

Asif Kapadia talking to Michelle (Yeoh) on the set of Far North

(06/08/07) The sound mixing of the film is being done at London's Videosonics, one of the most advanced audio post companies in the U.K..

(06/05/07) Full transcript of Asif Kapadia's TIFF "True North" presentation on January 19, 2007.

(05/30/07) In this article, Irrfan goes on a dream date with Michelle Yeoh, it mentioned that director Asif Kapadia was in Cannes and had dinner with Michelle and Irrfan Khan on the 22nd. Khan is the main star in Kapadia's The Warrior. He was in fact attached to True North (Far North) at some points during the film development. (for more reports and photos of Michelle in Cannes please see News, May 20-23, 27-29).

(05/18/07) Photo (L to R): Michelle Krusiec, Norwegian stuntman Kristoffer Jorgensen, and Michelle Yeoh. (click to enlarge. photo from Jorgensen's website)

Kristoffer Jorgensen was standing in for an actor in a fight scene with the two Michelles last October in Malselv, Norway. Quote: "These charming ladies just threw me in the river!"

(05/15/07) The film script was written by Asif Kapadia and Tim Miller, based on Sara Maitland's short story, "True North", which was used as the working title of the film. Maitland's original story is seven pages (more descriptions). You may read the first three pages at Google book preview. There are obvious changes in the film compared to the novel. Aside from the change of age and appearance of the central character, Kapadia and Miller also filled in all the background stories and made the characters complete.

Early in the year, Sara Maitland said in an interview that she was putting together a new collection of short stories to "celebrate the fact that the impressive young British director Asif Kapadia is making a film based on one of my short stories, True North, starring Sean Bean and Michelle Yeoh." The new book, with Far North/True North as the title story, is scheduled to be published on October 25th by London's Maia Press, under the title "Far North and Other Dark Tales". (ISBN 1904559271. Pre-order). The book was initially intended to be named "True North and Other Dark Tales". Looks like they changed it to "Far North" to reflect the change of the film title. In fact, the first word of the novel "True North" starts as "Far north, ...".

Far North is currently listed as a film under "Post Production" on Dreamachine/Celluloid Dreams's official Cannes 2007 Line-Up. A trailer will be shown at Cannes market.

(05/15/07) Set photos from the Svalbard Artic Circle filming. First photo: Michelle with 1st AC, Leigh Gold (right).

(click to enlarge. photos from Lens Control)

(05/13/07) More stills from Far North:

(click to enlarge. "The Hollywood Podcast")

(05/10/07) Early last month in Dreamachine/Celluloid Dreams's press release, Far North was listed in their Cannes line-up. But the film is not on Celluloid Dreams's current Cannes screening list, which starts next week. According to the production company, the film is "currently in post production for a delivery in the late summer".

(04/26/07) Axel Söderlund, a camera crew member who worked for Far North, published some shots on locations in Svalbard and Filmcamp, Norway.


FilmCamp, Malselv
(click to enlarge. more photos see Söderlund's site)

(04/10/07) The film is currently under post-production. Michael Nyman, the composer for Far North, will be recording the film soundtrack with saxophonist Simon Haram next week.

(04/03/07) This film has been renamed Far North. (Probably trying to avoid the confusion with Steve Hudson's True North (2006).)

Celluloid Dreams, the Paris-based film sales company who handles the distribution of Far North, has merged with another Europe's leading film sales company, UK-based Hanway Films, and formed the new sales, production and financing venture, Dreamachine, which will be based in London, Paris and Toronto. Far North is listed as one of the "completed pics" on Dreamachine's slate and it is on Dreamachine's Cannes roster which can be expected to screen at the festival or its concurrent market next month.

(04/03/07) Some set photos from Daniel Wilton's site, who worked as an extra on the film in Svalbard. The site also features a video clip (6:39) from the set, filmed at the end of September.

the last pic has Sean Bean in the center.
(click to enlarge. more set photos see Wilton's site)

(03/27/07) Last week both Michelles were in London doing some voice dubbing for the film. Michelle Krusiec said in her blog that the title of True North has been renamed Far North.

(03/27/07) Taiwan's "UDN" had a report on True North which described a few scenes/sequences (with quite a few spoilers) based on the segments of the film which they have seen. The ending climax seems similar to what's in the original novel. The film will most likely be R-rated. Reportedly there is at least a nude scene involving Sean Bean. According to the report, the film will be quite a dramatic change for Michelle compared to her past films.

(03/19/07) More behind-the-scene photos from the filming in Svalbard, published at the website of the extreme environment specialist, Brian Hall.

We have seen these two photos before, and here are larger versions:

(click to enlarge)

(03/06/07) Synopsis: [Spoiler Warning]

TRUE NORTH is a dark epic thriller about the battle for survival. Revenge, jealousy and courage are played out against the harsh beauty of the desolate Arctic tundra.

Saiva, a gifted woman, lives with Anja, her adopted daughter in a remote land far away from civilization where she believes they will be safe. They struggle to survive, living off the scarce prey they can kill. Saiva is the sole survivor of an indigenous tribe of reindeer herders slaughtered by a troop of marauding soldiers. After the massacre, Saiva lead the men to their deaths on a glacier avenging her husband Ivar, the only man she ever loved.

(click to enlarge)
larger versions:
1200x803 3872x2592

One day a figure appears on the horizon, a young man. He collapses. Despite all of her fears and doubts Saiva takes him in and they nurse him back from the brink of death.

Loki the young fugitive who recovers and settles in with the two women as the long winter nights close in. Saiva and Anja compete for his attention.

As the passion between Loki and Anja deepens, they reveal to Saiva the heartbreaking news that they intend to leave her to start a new life together. She is devastated.

As spring comes, Loki and Anja prepare for the long journey into the dangerous war torn south. Saiva withdraws within herself and she watches, silently forming plans that will take them to a horrific, and tragic climax...   (from "Celluloid Dreams")

(03/05/07) Truly North - An Ice-Capade by Rupert Lloyd-Parry, who worked as a camera crew member for the film. The article was published in a newsletter of the Guild of British Camera Technicians along with some production photos. (thanks Brenda for finding the article)

(02/28/07) Two more production photos from the Svalbard filming. (Note: see larger versions at 03/19/07)

(02/14/07) Last month on the 19th, director Asif Kapadia gave a special presentation on True North at the Tromso International Film Festival.

Director Kapadia talked about the preparation and filming, and showed quite a few still images, some scenic video clips from the early location scouting (which Kapadia used to "lure" Michelle to the project - he flew to last year's Sundance Film Festival and showed them to Michelle on a laptop) with a bit of the actual music for the film, and some behind the scenes footage. Very interesting!

The special session was organized by RUSHPRINT and hosted by Mr. Kjetil Lismoen. Apparently some of the crew members who worked on True North also attended the presentation. The cast/crew members of 40 nationalities came together to make this film. Asif Kapadia is currently busy in editing.

You may download the exclusive video (RIGHT CLICK) of the 26 minute presentation (54.5MB, Mpeg4/Avi, can be played by Windows Media Player). Special thanks to Karl A. Roman, who attended and taped the session and so kindly sent me the video on DVD from Tromso. Also many thanks to BAM (from the U.K.) for the help in converting the video!

(P.S. it must be an error when the host said Michelle lost 20 pounds in the early Svalbard filming. She lost nearly 3 kilos which is about 6.6 lbs.)

P.P.S. If the clip does not play correctly, e.g., only sound but no pics, your system may be missing some codec. You may download free Xvid codec and it should help.


Above photos are from the filming in Svalbard (Spitzbergen), courtesy of Norwegian "RushPrint" and Brian Hall's website. Brian Hall is an extreme environment specialist who worked on True North's staging and rigging on the glacier, etc..

(01/26/07) Composer Dario Marianelli, who worked with director Asif Kapadia on The Warrior and The Return, will be the composer for True North, said Marianelli in an interview. Marianelli was nominated at last year's Oscars (Pride & Prejudice). And the film editor for True North is Ewa J. Lind, another one of Kapadia's old collaborators from the award winning The Warrior.

(01/18/07) Some set photos from filming at FilmCamp (click to enlarge).

The first two pictures show Michelle and Gary Pillai's characters, Saiva and Ivar. More set photos can be seen at FilmCamp's website.

(01/11/07) Stills images: Michelle (Saiva), Sean Bean (Loki), and Michelle Krusiec (Anja) in True North.

(click to enlarge. "The Bureau")

(01/09/07) Director Asif Kapadia will be attending Troms?International Film Festival (Jan. 16 - 21) and on the 19th he will talk about the progress of True North. (Thanks Karl for the information and scans from the newspaper!)

Michelle and Gary Pillai at FilmCamp in Malselv
(click to enlarge. "Nordlys")

(01/08/07) Some photos from Holmen FilmCamp in Malselv on October 30th, 2006. Many thanks to Karl for taking and sharing them with us! (click on the photos to enlarge)

Narissara, who plays a little girl in the tribe, on the set a filming set

(1) Michelle hugging Anna Lea and Narissara
(2) Michelle Krusiec (in the middle holding a baby) with some of the extras. The two babies are twins, doubling for one role
(3) Narissara Inkhai Roman
(4) (5) a tent set

Also with the help of Karl, we have got a few names identified in this photo which was published on this site last November: Michelle (Yeoh) is at 3rd from right among people who are standing. The man behind her is U.K. actor Gary Pillai, who plays Ivar in the film. 3rd from left is Bjarne ?sterud, a Biochemistry professor from University of Tromso, Norway. Professor ?sterud plays a tribal "witch doctor" as reported in Norwegian media last year.

(01/04/07) This is a photo (click to enlarge) of little Narissara Inkhai Roman with Michelle, taken at the end of October during a makeup session of the filming in the Holmen FilmCamp in Malselv, North Norway. Narissara, whose mother is from Thailand, was chosen during an audition in Tromso a month before their stay in Holmen. She spent a week with the crew. Narissara insisted on using the picture for her 9th birthday invitation on January 5th, because "she was deeply taken by the kindness of the star". (thanks Karl!)

Happy Ninth Birthday Narissara!

(12/24/06) Story sketch of True North: [Spoiler Warning]
True North is a dark romantic thriller about the battle for survival. Revenge, jealousy and courage are played out against the harsh beauty of the desolate Arctic tundra.

Saiva, an aboriginal woman shunned by her tribe as a young girl, lives with her beautiful adopted daughter, Anja, in a remote land far away from civilization where she believes they will be safe. They struggle to survive, living off the scarce prey they can kill. Saiva is the sole survivor of a massacre by a troop of marauding soldiers who killed Ivar, the only man she ever loved. Having avenged their deaths, she has avoided any other human contact ever since.

One day a young fugitive, Loki, staggers into their camp and collapses, close to death. Despite all of her fears and doubts, Saiva takes him in and the two women nurse him back to health.

Loki's presence stirs long suppressed emotions in Saiva and a blossoming curiosity in Anja. As the long winter nights close in, the two women compete for his attention.

Loki and Anja fall in love and make a decision to travel South to start a new life. They break the news to Saiva, leaving her devastated. As spring approaches, Loki and Anja prepare for their long journey. Saiva withdraws into herself and watches, silently forming a plan that will lead them to a horrific, and tragic climax...
(from "Celluloid Dreams")
(12/19/06) From a recent newletter of the "Norwegian Film Commission":
...The film is a fable about the collision between a native, nomadic culture and greedy intruders. The story's central character is Saiva, played by Michelle Yeoh, well-known from major international films such as 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' and 'Memoirs of a Geisha', a shy woman who ekes out a living together with a beautiful younger woman, Anja, played by Michelle Krusiec, whom she has adopted as her daughter. When the women allow a Western man - Sean Bean - to move into their home, a passionate love triangle develops with mythical and horrifying consequences.

"True North" will be a scary but strikingly beautiful film, and, particularly at a time when we are in danger of losing the "true north" to global warming and pollution, the film will be frighteningly relevant. The film pays tribute to natural landscapes and cultures that are in the process of disappearing...
(12/15/06) On a recent interview of Michelle at the filming set of Children of Huang Shi, reporters commented her characters are often "strong women", even in non-action films. "Yes, including True North in Norway," said Michelle. "It's a strong character. But she is also fragile in certain sense - she does not chooses to but is forced to be strong."

(12/08/06) Michelle spoke about her True North experience: "We filmed at a location at the very north of Norway. The coldest day we had was at minus 26 Celsius. I don't know how I managed to stand it... We have a very good script and I like the director very much. The story is interesting. My character... I have never experienced before such a bitter feeling, it's overwhelming. It's very challenging for an actor. I'm very happy I had chance to perform such a role. But I'm not sure if I would like to do it again." (translated from a video clip of a Michelle interview on Dec. 6th, originally in Mandarin Chinese.)

(12/07/06) Michelle talked about the adventure she had of the Arctic filming when she attended a public activity in Hong Kong yesterday (for details and photos please see News). "No TV, no newspapers, no telephone. We were filming at minus 20 Celsius on ice and snow," she said of the hardship. The bitter cold felt like dog bites. Also she was not used to the food on the ship. Michelle lost nearly 3kg at that part of the shooting. On the other hand, Michelle said the beauty of the scenery is spectacular and she never felt so close to the nature. She truly enjoyed it and took a lot of pictures. Not having communication with the outside world gave her more time to think and made her look at the world in different ways. "It is an exciting and unforgettable experience," said Michelle.

(11/19/06) Two weeks of studio filming, which took place at Twickenham Film Studios in London, has ended, according to Kaiser's Blog.

(11/15/06) On the evening of the 14th, Michelle attended the world premiere of Casino Royale, the latest James Bond film in London (for photos please see News). U.K. "Times" reported that Michelle and Sean Bean, both as ex-Bond figures, showed up at the charity gala of the 60th royal film performance last night, attended by Queen Elizabeth II.

Reportedly Sean Bean is scheduled to finish his True North scenes on the 14th. I'm not sure whether it is only for Bean or if the entire filming is complete.

(11/15/06) - Norwegian actor Bjornar Hansens spoke to a Tromoso newspaper about his experience on the True North set. In the film Hansens acts as a leader of a gang who robs nomadic trading people, women and children.

from a "True North" filming
set in Malselv
("Sagat" photo. click to enlarge)
"My men were trying to kill her, but she arrived herself," Hansens described his character's encounters against Michelle. "We are slauthering like hell, but no way we manage to get rid of Michelle Yeoh." Bjornar Hansens has only one line in the film - shouting "come on" to his men. The sequence was filmed at FilmCamp in Malselv on October 17 and 18. Asked how was it like to work with Michelle Yeoh, he said: "She is a very kind and easygoing lady... she said she has never seen a man who has hands as big as mine." Many people on the set took photos with Michelle and Hansens, but the press won't be allowed to publish any until later for the film promotion. (thanks Lasse for some of the translation)

- Hege Nordnes, a make-up artist on True North, talked to "Nye Troms" about the Svalbard filming: "It was cold, but nevertheless a fantastic adventure... We stood on an ice-slab to do the last minute touch-ups for actors right before they go on shooting." Added Nordnes, "I would have never done this if I were a tourist. It was big challenge." During the breaks they tried to warm themselves up in the tents.

(11/09/06) Roman Osin, the cinematographer for True North, says of the film: "'True North' is an exercise in extremes... It'll be breathtaking and dangerous to watch, exciting and disturbing." Osin, who worships Westerns and sees himself in the genre's silent heroes, was recently named by "Variety" as one of the 10 cinematographers to watch.

(11/04/06) On October 23rd, during their filming in Norway, Michelle talked to Norwegian media at FilmCamp in Malselv. She was clearly so fascinated with her experiences up north.

"I have never been so far north before, and it immediately took my breath away. There is no word that can describe what I've seen and learned." Michelle said to the media. "I thought I was well prepared before arriving in Svalbard and Skjold. Then I was totally overwhelmed. It is beyond spectacular... This adventure will stay with me through all my life."

Speaking of the production, Michelle said: "It was very physically challenging. I had never before been to a place which is so cold and has so much snow. To be hit by the extreme cold was almost terrifying. But it definitely helped to enhance my character in the film." said Michelle. "These are fantastic locations. The beauty of the nature will have central contributions to the film." Michelle also praised the crew from FilmCamp and the great jobs they have done. She said she hopes to come back and film here again. In fact, her next film, Babylon A.D., will feature some big winter scenes and they plan to film at FilmCamp and Slovakia.
(Note: the above qotations are not the original words from Michelle. It had been translated from English to Norwegian, and then back to English.)

(11/02/06) Here are some more photos from the Svalbard filming (click on photos to enlarge. Photos are from "Svalbard Posten" and Kaiser's Blog):

(1) Michelle on set   (2) a filming set at Svalbard
(3) hanging at the edge of a crevasse

A Svalbard newspaper quoted Jason Roberts, a floor manager for the film, saying that his favorite scene at Svalbard is in Sveabreen, how Michelle lured a bunch of soldiers to fall into a crevasse in the ice, trapped.

The report also said the film is planned for screening at next year's Cannes.

a reindeer on set
("Kaiser's Blog")

on a filming location in Malselv
("NFTF" photo)
(11/02/06) Kaiser just put up a new round of updates on his blog about their adventure at FilmCamp, Overbygd, Norway in October. They have wrapped up the Norwegian portion of the filming, and are moving to London for the final phase.

Visit Kaiser Clark's Blog for some beautiful photos and descriptions of his journey with Michelle through the production - those "long cold days," "fierce weather," tight schedule, and yet friendship and fun times. Wow re Michelle hosting "twelve lucky crew members to a home cooked meal" with a French chief "kidnapped" by Mr. Jean Todt, the former F1 racing team director and now the new CEO of Ferrari, all the way to FilmCamp!

(10/24/06) Norwegian media reported that the four week shooting at Skjold region in Troms (Tromso) will be finished next week. They are currently at Kautokeino. (The set photo at left is from "Nye Troms". The caption says it's the two Michelles at a campfire. But I don't think I see our Michelle in this photo. click to enlarge )

Svein Andersen of FilmCamp said the production provides big challenges to FilmCamp and they have done a great job.

The film will premiere next spring, according to Norwegian media.

Some titbits:
- Although True North is not an action film, there are apparently some fight scenes involved. A Norwegian stuntman disclosed he worked as a stunt double for an actor in a fight scene with the two Michelles in mid-October. Madelene Eriksson, a circus artist, stunt doubled for Michelle Krusiecs. (Now I can't stop wondering how Michelle, our always amazing action heroine, manage to do any martial moves with all those thick heavy coats...)

- While Kaiser, an assistant of Michelle's, described how wonderful their Arctic cruising was and how fun and friendly the people around him were, British actor Sean Bean might not have enjoyed the "trip" that much apparently. Recently he told London's "TheBuzz" that he got stir crazy. "It was very strange living there for weeks on end, very intense," Bean said. "We all lived on this boat - but it was actually a bit like being on 'Big Brother'."

- In case anyone doesn't know: Both Michelle and Sean Bean co-starred with Pierce Brosnan in the James Bond series about ten years ago - Sean Bean as "006" Alec Trevelyan, the main villain in 1995's GoldenEye, and Michelle as Colonel Wai Lin, the female Bond equal in 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies.

(10/23/06) According to India-EU Film Initiative, Bollywood actor Irfan Khan, who played the lead role in Asif Kapadia's The Warrior, was considered to star in True North. In an earlier interview Irfan Khan said: "Though I'm not the central character as I was in Asif's Warrior, the story of two women and their relationship fascinates me."

(10/19/06) Actress Michelle Krusiec talked to the Norwegian media about the filming of True North. She said she has unforgettable memories from the Svalbard filming.
Michelle Krusiec at filming set
(click to enlarge. "NRK" photo)

The story is about a woman (Michelle) with her adopted daughter (Krusiec), whose lives are disturbed by invaders and soldiers. Both women fall in love with one man (Bean). The story tells the love triangle and the escape attempts they make by moving further and further north. The movie is a mixture of horror and romance, possibly some action.

"It's a dark psychological thriller with a twist in the tale." Director Asif Kapadia spoke earlier about this film which is set in the Arctic. "It's similar in tone to The Warrior - very little dialogue, very visual, and I'll be using the same team."

Filming of True North moved from Svalbard to Overbygd two weeks ago. According to reports, when at Svalbard, they had filmed at some abolished mineyards. They are now filming at Lake Fjellfrosvatnet and several other regions around Filmcamp in Malselv. About a quarter of the film's budget will be used at the shooting in Malselv.

(10/16/06) Early this month, the production company was looking for an one year old Asian looking baby in Tromso and Omeng for the film. The scenes involving the baby are scheduled to be filmed later this month at FilmCamp in Malselv.

(10/12/06) The director of photography for True North is Roman Osin, who previously collaborated with director Asif Kapadia on The Warrior for which he captured the breathtaking landscapes of India's Rajasthan desert and Himalayan mountains seen in the film.

(10/12/06) The ship "Polaris" returned to Longyearbyen on the night of Thursday October 5th as planned, and it was the end of the four weeks of Svalbard cruising (filming).

Kaiser described how difficult and sometimes dangerous their shooting at Svalbard had been, and how great the filming team is. He said he has never worked with more fun and friendly people in his few years in the industry. Before parting from the Polaris for the mainland, they all stayed on the ship for one last night.

Svalbard filming
(photos from Kaiser Clark's Blog. click to enlarge)

The crew flew back to Tromso on the 6th and started the second phase of filming in the Overbygd area. FilmCamp is in charge of the filming locations and tents as well as providing heating and lights for about 80 people. Reportedly 200 to 300 reindeer for the production are provided by the Oskal-Family in Ramfjord. In additional to reindeer, there will be also dogs and horses.

(10/04/06) Apparently Mr. Kaiser Clark has become an assistant for Michelle for the True North filming. And a great news is that he actually started a blog in September, recording some of the filming and trips with Michelle!

According to his journal, Kaiser flew with Michelle to Oslo, the capital and largest city of Norway, on August 27. Next day they arrived in Tromso, Norway, and began preparing for the film and attending film rehearsals. At the beginning of September they were at FilmCamp for wardrobe fittings and training in dog sledding, shooting rifles, roping, herding and butchering reindeer. On the 5th Michelle was in London for some Sunshine post-production work and the busy lady was in Italy next day (reported in News).

As we mentioned earlier, Michelle arrived in Longyearbyen on September 10. There they boarded the "Polaris", a Russian Class A cruiser, which is their filming ship and home for the next few weeks. Kaiser said he put Michelle in the best cabin on the ship right next to the Captain's quarters. The crew are all sharing rooms on the ship.

According to Kaiser, Sean Bean finished filming his scenes in Norway last week and will return to studio shooting in London later.

As we have known, Michelle is often the party host on the film projects she has been on. This time even on a ship near the North Pole, Michelle is inviting the entire crew in evenings to taste the feast (rather than only living on their frozen stocks) as she has been receiving shipments of meats, cheeses, wine and fresh vegetables from Italy!

Some photos from filming sets:

Svalbard filming
(1) at FilmCamp. Michelle practicing "reindeer" lassoing
(2) Michelle in costume   (3) winds can reach a bitterly cold 50 mph
ship Polaris glaciers Svalbard
(click photos to enlarge. photos from Kaiser Clark's Blog)

Visit Kaiser Clark's Blog for his journal, larger versions and more photos.

(09/30/06) The original story of "True North" was written by Sara Maitland (1950-), a

book cover
British novelist and short story writer. The seven-page story is about two women, one "young and beautiful," and the other "old and ugly," who lived at "far north, inside the ice circle, in the land of the long night". They lived together in an isolated world, happily and peacefully, for a long time until one day, came an ice traveler, a handsome young man, who by mistake traveled too far to get back before the snowstorms and darkness had come. With courtesy the two women welcomed the young man to their ice house and fed him. The man loved the young woman's beauty and old woman's handiwork - animal skins and bone and rock carvings. Some relationships are built, and lead to an ending which was [tragic and... horrific.]   (novel spoiler - highlight the text in the brackets if you would like to read.)

"True North" is included in "Angel Maker: the Short Stories of Sara Maitland", published By Henry Holt & Company, New York, in 1996.

The screenplay of the film, based on Sara Maitland's story, was written by director Asif Kapadia and his collaborator of their award-winning The Warrior, Tim Miller. Some changes are expected for the central characters as I don't see either of the Michelles is suitable to play a role which is described as "old and ugly." The characters are also given names (Saiva and Anja) and a relationship (a woman and her adopted daughter), which don't exist in the novel.

According to "Variety", "Screen Daily" and Norwegian news, in the film True North, Michelle plays a shunned, native nomadic woman who lives on the edge of survival with her adopted daughter. Their barren
Reindeer (maristuen.no)
(click to enlarge)
existence is disrupted by a soldier. The story shows the collision of a native culture with greed-driven invaders.

Reportedly, for the film they "hired" 200 - 300 reindeer as extras. During the preparations to the film, both Michelles spent some time to learn about the lifestyle of the native Sami people, and other things, including how to skin reindeer. Back in June when Michelle talked to Taiwanese media, she said the film crew will live on a ship and only go to land for filming. "It will be an exciting experience and big challenge," said Michelle.

(09/27/06) True North began filming on Monday, September 11 at Bjona-hamna in Tempelfjorden, Svalbard, Norway. According to reports from Svalbard, Michelle, Sean Bean, and Michelle Krusiec arrived at Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard, the day before and headed directly to Tempelfjorden. The first phase of the filming will take place over about four weeks at Bjonapynten, Von Postbreen, and Sveabreen.

The film is expected to complete by next summer and hit movie screens next fall, according to Norwegian news.

Some photos of the astonishing landscape (click to enlarge):


Sveabreen, Nordfjorden

Von Postbreen
(photos from nora.heime.net, hpfotogalleri.com, and tromsofoto.net)

Information and more pictures of Svalbard: 1  2  3  4

(09/12/06) True North, Michelle's new film, begins filming this week in Norway.

Directed by British director Asif Kapadia (The Warrior and The Return) and written by Asif Kapadia and Tim Miller, the story is based on Sara Maitland's short story with the same title, and it stars our Michelle, Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings's Boromir), and Chinese American actress Michelle Krusiec (aka Yang Yahui, Saving Face). True North is a psychological, "dark love triangle set in the Arctic in the middle of nowhere", said the director in past interviews. "It is going to be a very tough shoot. I am yet again returning to an overpowering landscape."

The story is about a woman, Saiva (Michelle), who lives in the far north away from civilization with her adopted daughter Anja (Krusiec). One day a man (Bean) arrives and forever changes their lives.

According to Norwegian media, both of the Michelles were in Norway in late August for the film preparation at some of the FilmCamp's production locations, including a discontinued military camp called Holmen leir in Malselv, Norway. True North started filming yesterday in the Arctic Circle on the islands of Svalbard and will move to the FilmCamp on the mainland in Malselv in October. Some filming will also take place in London studios. The budget of the film is US$10 million.

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( page created: 09/12/06,   last modified: 05/20/10 )