The former Noroff student's film has won twelve awards at film festivals around the world. Now it's ready for the streaming service Amazon Prime.

– This is incredibly exciting and can hardly be described! I have always had a goal that it is feature films I want to work with full-time, says René Bjerregaard happily. The Bergen native, who studied film production at Noroff, has had great success with his first feature film, Mare.

– When I was at Noroff, I started writing in the format I dreamed of making. Since I was both studying and had a part-time job in the film industry, I spent many evenings and weekends writing when others were out socializing, he says.

He continues:

– Mare is a student film that is the result of filmmakers making a film out of nothing but a dream. The film is almost 100 percent self-financed, with a small portion from crowdfunding. It has been tough at times, but giving up was never an option. Five years later, we now have a finished feature film on Amazon Prime.

American Agency

Mare is a thriller/horror film shot in the small village of Vadheim by the Sognefjord. After being picked up by an agent in Los Angeles, it has received an American agency and an international title, "The Mare." René says there is a lot of work behind the success.

– Finding an audience for a film can be difficult if you don't have knowledge about it, as I didn't when I started. I spent all of 2020 entering it into various film competitions and submitting it to film festivals worldwide. It has been incredibly well-received by horror film enthusiasts, and it has won awards for script, best film, direction, and cinematography, he says.

He continues:

– In conjunction with the attention that came that year, I got in touch with an agency in Los Angeles that wanted to see the film. The rest is history. You have to dare to stand out a bit, and you have to speak up a bit to be noticed.

Both the instructors and the school have helped me develop as a filmmaker in incredibly many ways.René Bjerregaard

Involvement From Other Noroff Students

When René studied at Noroff, he spent a lot of time building a network and finding good collaborators who could help him realize the project. This resulted in good collaborations with several former students.

– The film's producer, Tor Kjetil Lekenes, spent an extra year on the film production, and the lead actor Alv Myhre Ketan Fossum was in the same class as me. I am so grateful to them and everyone in the crew for believing in the project, because without them, it probably wouldn't have gone as well as it did, he says.

He thinks the student environment at Noroff is very good and collaborated with students in both film production and other programs.

– The student environment is very good, and it was fun to attend a school with like-minded people. Both the teachers and the school have helped me develop as a filmmaker in so many ways. The film industry is a good example that nothing is free in life, and you have to be initiative and take the plunge if you want to achieve success. Noroff has definitely opened my eyes to what it actually requires, he says.

– What would you say to students considering applying for the same program as you?

– Use the years well. You have a unique opportunity to make films with other creative people who want the same as you. It is while you are at Noroff that you have the unique opportunity to actually develop as a filmmaker, whether you want to be a director, producer, cinematographer, or editor. Don't start because you want short days – start because you have a dream and are willing to work for it, he concludes.

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