Elling : About The Filmmakers

Director, Screenwriter and Producer:


Petter Næss was born in Oslo. He has a strong and varied background that includes experience in television, film and theatre.

From 1980 to 1995, Næss took various courses in acting, directing and playwriting. From 1980 to 1986, he worked as a production assistant and 2nd Assistant Director for the Drama Department at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. During this time, he also worked as an actor in cabarets and classical productions in Oslo's fringe theatre. In 1984, Næss began pursuing work on the other side of the curtain and had his professional debut as a theatre director in 1986. Over the next ten years, he performed as a professional actor in theatrical, film and television productions when not working as a stage director. As head of one of the theatre's stages, he has focused on encouraging the work of new, Norwegian playwrights and attracting a young audience to the theatre. So far his efforts have proved to be very successful, as have the various plays he's directed, most notably the original stage of adaptation of Elling.

Næss's directorial accomplishments include 25 professional stage productions and two feature films. Elling is his second feature film, following Absolute Hangover, which won Amanda Awards at the 1999 Norwegian International Film Festival for Best Actor and Actress and was nominated for the Best Norwegian Feature Film. Currently, Næss is a member of the Norwegian Actors Union and the Norwegian Directors Union. He is planning two productions at the Oslo Nye Theatre and is also considering directing other film projects in either late 2002 or early 2003.


Axel Hellstenius has with the exception of a short period as an egg salesman, spent most of his working life in the film business. His first feature film as screenwriter was the national success Death at Oslo Central, and since then he has dramatized several of Ingvar Ambjørnsen's books and written numerous other screenplays. Axel has also written the script for the theatre version of Elling and Kjell Bjarne.


Dag Alveberg has been in the Nordic film business for many years, both as an independent producer and for public companies. He has produced a number of films through the company Filmeffekt and has been director of the Nordic Film and TV Fund. He also produced the opening and closing ceremonies at the Lillehammer Olympics.

The Author : Ingvar Ambjørnsen:

Ingvar Ambjørnsen was born in Larvik in 1956. He is considered one of the greatest storytellers in contemporary Norwegian literature and many of his works are characterized as powerful, realistic depictions of society's outsiders often struggling with the dark side of life. Whether his protagonists are drug addicts, alcoholics, mental patients or prostitutes, they are depicted with inventive insight and warmth in the fifteen novels and two collections of short stories that Ambjørnsen has written since his debut in 1981.

The author's big breakthrough came in 1986 with his novel Hvite Niggere (White Trash), an honest exposure of the plight of an unfortunate soul seeking out an existence in Norwegian sub-cultures. His most successful novels in recent years have been published to critical acclaim and strong sales. The film Elling is based primarily on Brøde I blodet, the third book in this crazily original and absurdly funny series.

Ambjørnsen has most recently overseen the publications of his latest novels: Dronningen sover (The Queen is Asleep), currently available in a complete English translation, and Dukken i taket (The Doll in the Ceiling), which was published in September.