THE MIDDLE MAN is a darkly humorous social satire which takes place in a small town that is experiencing an epidemic of accidents and deaths. The town is run by “The Commission” – the Sheriff, the Doctor and the Pastor - who decide to hire a ‘Middle Man’ whose sole responsibility will be to inform the family when an unfortunate incident occurs. Frank Farrelli is a quiet, thoughtful man who proves perfect for the job. He takes his new role on with gusto and quickly becomes the town’s beacon of bad news. But the pressures of the job and a budding new romance overwhelm Frank. To ease his burden, he calls in a ‘favour’ that ends up in a horrifying yet oddly amusing murder.
Norwegian director, writer, producer and owner of the film production company BulBul Film. After studying law at The University of Oslo he worked for some years as sailboat skipper abroad before he completed his education in Film Theory (uncompleted Doctoral Program) and Literature at the University of Stockholm, and in film making at Stockholms Filmskola. Bent’s feature films include the award winning O’HORTEN, FACTOTUM, KITCHEN STORIES and EGGS which all had their international premiere at Cannes International Film Festival.
1001 GRAMS, O’ HORTEN and KITCHEN STORIES were Norway’s entry for The Academy Award. Bent has served several film festival juries including Tokyo IFF, San Sebastian IFF, Sundance Institute/Sundance IFF and Karlovy Vary IFF.
In 2013 Bent was awarded the Norwegian Amanda Honorary Award for his complete work.
2014 1001 GRAMS (1001 GRAM)
2010 HJEM TIL JUL (HOME FOR CHRISTMAS)
2007 O'HORTEN (O'HORTEN)
2005 FACTOTUM (FACTOTUM)
2003 KITCHEN STORIES (SALMER FRA KJØKKENET)
1998 WATER EASY REACH (EN DAG TIL I SOLEN)
1995 EGGS (EGGS)
When the town of Karmack is experiencing a growing number of accidents and deaths, the need of someone to convey the painful messages to the relatives becomes unavoidable. Frank Farrelli, unemployed after he lost his job at the railway station and now living with his mother, get hired as Karmack’s first official Middle Man. Frank takes his new job on with gusto, and soon he becomes the town’s beacon of bad news.
The everyday struggle for dignity and place of the disillusioned inhabitants of Karmack makes this story quite dark, but it also represents something genuine and universally human. This is the present situation for a lot of people in Trump’s America today, but also for many people throughout Europe.
Karmack, another town in the rust belt with no jobs or future prospects to offer its residents, where the flames and the screaming sound from the dying steel plant are the last sign of activity. Every night a freight train passes through the closed down railway station, crossing the town with a lonely whistle without stopping. On the opposite side of town, the river is floating on its way to the ocean. Now and then drifting sailboats appear with no crew on board, touching the riverside and turning around and around, like a slow, sad waltz without a partner, before disappearing down the river. A whole fleet of empty, abandoned boats the well-heeled inhabitants upriver can no longer afford to keep, so they cut the moorings, report the boats missing and eventually collect the insurance money.
Most of the houses and their environments in the outskirts of Karmack, as well as some buildings and architecture downtown, give the impression of decay and disorder. To create some kind of balance and symmetry, we focus on one-direction light to clean up and simplify the down and out mise-en-scène. Fixed camera or smooth movements on dolly shots, few organic camera movements. A timeless feeling.
Little by little the characters expose their lives in this broken ecosystem when their stories now and then take unexpected turns that, when brought to a head, are rarely treated without humor. When Frank’s mother accuses him of causing his father’s death when he was only a kid, the question of what can be considered an accident versus the nature of fate emerges as a theme connected to the overall story.
And in the end, there may be a brighter future for Frank as he takes the rudder of one of the abandoned boats and does his best to navigate the dangerous waters leading to the ocean. Yet, he is still going with the flow, just like the rest of us.
Pål Sverre Hagen
click to read more
After graduating from the National Academy of the Arts in Oslo in 2003 Pål Sverre Hagen has played major roles in both Scandinavian and International films, for which he has received several awards and accolades. He is perhaps best known for his roles in Troubled Water, Kon-Tiki, In Order of Disappearance, Amundsen and 2019 TV series Exit. He is also an award-winning stage actor. Amongst his 2020 releases are drama comedy Diana’s Wedding, Halo of Stars alongside Lily Collins, Holliday Grainger and Lukas Haas. Hagen had his big breakthrough on screen with the acclaimed Norwegian feature filmTroubled Water (2008) directed by Erik Poppe, for which he won the Kanon Award for Best Male Actor at Trondheim International Film festival. He garnered further critical acclaim for his performance in Pål Jackman’s drama The Storm in My Heart (2009), for which he won the Kanon Award for Best Supporting Actor. Hagen achieved world-wide recognition for portraying Thor Heyerdahl in the epic historical feature Kon- Tiki (2012) directed by Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning, about the 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition. He received an Amanda Award for his role and the film was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award.
In 2013 he starred in fantasy adventure Ragnarok. The year after, he starred in the role of the eccentric villain and crime lord the Count” in the comedy action feature In Order of Disappearance (2014) alongside Stellan Skarsgård and Bruno Ganz for which he was awarded Best Actor, at Austin Fantastic Fest. He collaborated once again with Hans Petter Moland as the antagonist of the Department Q: A Conspiracy of Faith (2016). He also starred in Dutch drama Beyond Sleep (2016) by Boudewijn Koole and appeared in What Happened to Monday (2017) by Tommy Wirkola. He starred as Sonja Hennies husband in biopic Sonja: The White Swan (2018) by Anne Sewitsky. Hagen has also starred in several TV series such as Buzz Aldrin (NRK, 2011), and the highly acclaimed rama series Valkyrien (NRK, 2017), for which he won the Golden Screen Award for Best Actor. In 2019, Pål Sverre Hagen starred in the leading role of Roald Amundsen, the Arctic explorer in Espen Sandberg’s feature Amundsen (2019). He did his third film directed by Hans Petter Moland with Out Stealing Horses (2019) and television series Exit (2019) gathered fantastic reviews and was seen by a historic number of viewers.
click to read more
Tuva Novotny is one of the most proliferate and successful actresses in the Nordics today. Born and raised in an artistic family, Novotny started exploring her creative side early through acting, singing and dancing.
A myriad of smaller TV roles led her to her first feature directed by Daniel Alfredson, Tic Tac (1997). Over the last 20 years, Novotny continued to build her career with well-chosen features such as Simon Staho’s Day and Night, opposite Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love, in Oscar-nominated The King’s Choice and War - to mention just a few.
In 2017 Tuva Novotny appeared in Borg vs McEnroe and international audiences got to see her in Annihilation and Indigo: Death Of An Author in 2018. After taking part in a great number of TV projects, Novotny transitioned from actor to director during the shooting of one of Norway’s biggest TV successes, Dag.
In 2019, Novotny released two features: the brilliant and heart-breaking debut Blind Spot starring the Norwegian actress Pia Tjelta and her second directorial endeavor, Britt Marie Was Here starring Pernilla August. On the acting career side, Novotny appeared in Jonas Alexander Arnby’s Suicide Tourist, which premiered at the festival in Les Arcs.
click to read more
Classically trained in the U.K., Canadian-British actor Nina Andresen-Borud, in her near 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry, has played, directed, produced and taught a gallery of roles for theatre, television, musicals and film from Shakespeare to Ibsen and Sondheim to Minchin, in both England and Norway.
THE MIDDLE MAN is Nina's first english speaking film but her second time working together with Auteur Director Bent Hamer since playing Karin in his film Hjem Til Jul (B. Hamer, Home For Christmas, 2010).
Other Film and TV productions have included: Torpedo (dir. Trygve Diesen 2007), The Snake Carrier (dir. Martin Asphaug 2005), Detektor (dir. Pål Jackman, 2000), Aberdeen (dir. Hans Petter Moland 2000). Her theatre roles have included Lady Macbeth (W.Shakespeare: Macbeth), Hedda Gabler (H.Ibsen: Hedda Gabler), Amanda Wingfield (T.Williams: The Glass Menagerie), Miep Gies (Goodrich&Hacket: Anne Frank's Diary), Belle (C.Dickens: A Christmas Carol) Diane (R.Prichard: Essex Girls), Nicky (J.Godber: Shakers Re-stirred) amongst others.
Nina also fronts the British Norwegian Chamber of Commerce in Oslo as well as currently working to bring benefit to charity organisations including The Norwegian Church Aid (bringing aid globally wherever needed) and The Mats Zuccarello Foundation - No Child Left On The Sidelines (Norwegian ambassadors of the global organisation Right To Play). She also commits a dedicated portion of her time to teach children and young adults performing and visual arts.
Since moving from her native Calgary, Canada, Nina has settled in Norway, together with her husband, their two children, one dog, five guinea pigs, two hens and three goldfish.
Trond Fausa Aurvåg
click to read more
Trond Fausa Aurvåg is a Norwegian actor, film director and poet. After graduating from the Norwegian National Academy of Theatre in 2001, he has acted at Oslo Nye Teater since 2001. Here he has acted in plays such as Amadeus, Manndomsprøven and Tatt av kvinnen. As a film actor he is best known for his leading roles in the films The Crossing (Andreaskorset, 2004) and The Bothersome Man (Den brysomme mannen, 2006) for which he won an Amanda Award for Best Actor. Aurvåg also won an Amanda in the same year for the short film he directed, Alene menn sammen. Aurvåg gained international attention co-starring with Steven Van Zandt in the first Netflix original TV series Lilyhammer, playing Van Zandt's partner in crime. For this role he won a Golden Screen Award for Best Actor in 2014 as well as for the ongoing series Netflix series Norseman (Vikingane), named one of the Best International Series of the Year in 2017 by the New York Times. Aurvåg previously worked with Bent Hamer on 2010's Home For Christmas.
click to read more
Aksel Hennie is an award-winning Norwegian actor, director, and screenwriter. He is best known for his leading role in the Norwegian films Headhunters (2011) and 2008’s Max Manus: Man of War, as well as for playing Tydeus in 2014’s Hercules. He is also known for his supporting roles in Ridley Scott's The Martian (2015) and 2018’s The Cloverfield Paradox.
Hennie is a graduate of the Norwegian National Academy of Theatre and has acted on stage at Teatret Vårt in Molde (2001–2002) and Oslo Nye Teater (since 2002), including roles in Hamlet and Kvinnen Som Gifftet Seg Med en Kalkun (The Woman Who Married a Turkey).
As a film actor, Hennie made his debut starring in the feature film Jonny Vang in 2003 and he won an Amanda Award for Best Actor for the role. That same year, he also acted in the films Buddy and 14 Ulvesommer. The next year, Hennie made his debut as a director and writer with the film, Uno, in which he also acted. Hennie won the Amanda Award for Best Direction for Uno in 2005; he was also among the nominees for Best Actor and Best Film that year. Hennie is currently shooting The Trip for director Tommy Wirkola (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) costarring opposite Noomi Rapace.
click to read more
Kenneth Welsh has had a long and fascinating career that started in Edmonton and led him to stages and
studios across Canada and the U.S. and around the world. He starred in seven seasons at The Stratford
Festival and twelve years and twenty plays on and off Broadway. Two of his favourites were premieres of
The Real Thing directed by Mike Nicholls and Frankie and Johnnie in the Claire de Lune opposite Kathy Bates. Most recently Kenneth was featured in the AMC series Lodge 49. His first French-language feature Il Pleuvait Des Ouiseaux premiered at TIFF 2019 to great acclaim.
Kenneth has won a total of five Canadian Screen awards and one ACTRA Award.
He was trained at the University of Alberta and the National Theatre School of Canada. He is the recipient of the Order of Canada and holds an honourary doctorate from his alma mater.
He is very proud to be the parent of Juno nominated singer/songwriter Devon Welsh.
click to read more
Nicolas Bro graduated from The Danish National School of Performing Arts in 1998 and has played a number of appraised roles in films, on TV, and on stage. Nicolas Bro’s remarkable talent for playing distinctive nuances makes him one of Europe’s most sought after character actors.
Bro stars as Emmenthaler in Academy Award winner Anders Thomas Jensen’s Riders of Justice (2020). Bro and Jensen have previously teamed up in Men & Chicken (2015), Adam’s Apples (2005), The Green Butchers (2003), and Election Night, that won an Academy Award in 1999 for Best Short Film. In 2020 Bro also starred in CMore’s thriller series Thin Ice, a series where climate changes plays a central role.
In 2018 Bro appeared in the period drama series The Alienist, and as the neurotic Brandt in Christoffer Boe’s The Purity of Vengeance (2018). Bro also worked with Boe on Offscreen (2006), for which he won a Bodil Award, Sex, Drugs & Taxation (2013), for which he won a Robert Award, and on the crime series 12 Warrior (2018). Bro played the neo-Nazi leader Tykke in Brotherhood (2009), which won both for Best Film and a Golden Butterfly at Rome Film Festival. He worked again with director Nicolo Donato on the WWII drama Across the Waters (2016).
On the small screen Bro has starred in Ole Bornedal’s 1864 (2014), The Bridge III (2015), and in the family series The Other World (2016).
Bro worked with Lars von Trier in the 2013 Nymphomaniac. In 2011 Bro worked with Steven Spielberg, playing the German soldier and horse whisperer Friedrich in War Horse.
On stage Bro has played award-winning roles such as Hamlet, Don Juan, King Arthur, Macbeth, and Mephisto.
click to read more
Don McKellar was born in Canada and has had a varied career as a writer, director and actor. He was the screenwriter of Roadkill and Highway 61, and co-writer of Dance Me Outside, the Genie Award-winning Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould and The Red Violin (he also appeared in the latter two). He received a Genie Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role in Atom Egoyan’s Exotica and the Prix de la Jeunesse at Cannes for his directorial debut, Last Night, which he also wrote and starred in. He also wrote, directed and played the lead in his second film, Childstar.
His stage writing credits include the five plays he co-created with the Augusta Company and the book for the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, for which he won a Tony Award. He also wrote and starred in the CBC television series Twitch City. Other film and television appearances include David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ, Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies and the series Slings and Arrows for the Sundance Channel. He collaborated on the film adaptation of Jose Saramago’s Nobel Prize-winning novel Blindness. Directed by Fernando Mereilles, he also starred with Julianne Moore, Gael Garcia Bernal and Mark Ruffalo. His recent work includes the Max Films feature The Grand Seduction, for which he won a DGC Award for Best Direction, and direction of Through Black Spruce. He has also directed and executive produced the CSA nominated series Michael: Tuesday & Thursdays for CBC and Sensitive Skin for TMN.
click to read more
Rossif Sutherland had his unexpected acting debut in a short film he directed while studying at Princeton University, after his lead actor was a no-show on the first day of shooting. Since then, he has built an impressive career in both film and television.
On the big screen, Sutherland was recently seen in Atom Egoyan’s latest feature, Guest of Honour, which played at both Cannes and TIFF this year. Sutherland is often recognized for his dramatic roles including Paul Gross’s wartime feature Hyena Road and River, directed by Jamie Dagg - both of which premiered at TIFF in 2015. He also had lead and supporting roles in films such as the award-winning Trench 11, from director Leo Scherman; Hellions, directed by Bruce McDonald (Sundance 2015); Big Muddy, directed by Jefferson Moneo; I’m Yours, opposite Karine Vanasse; the crime comedy High Life, opposite Timothy Olyphant and Joe Anderson, for which he was nominated for a Genie Award; and the critically acclaimed Clement Virgo feature Poor Boy’s Game, opposite Danny Glover, all of which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Other film credits include: Backstabbing For Beginners, alongside Ben Kingsley and Theo James; Edge of Winter, with Joel Kinnaman; Timeline, a Paramount feature directed by Richard Donner; as well as the independent feature film Red Doors, directed by Georgia Lee.
For television, Sutherland was a lead in the hilarious French remake of the Amazon/Channel 4 hit British comedy series, Catastrophe. He had series regular roles in the period drama Reign, for The CW; as well as the crime drama King, for Showcase. Other TV credits include recurring guest spots on shows such as:
The Expanse for Syfy; Crossing Lines for NBC; Copper for BBCA; Covert Affairs for USA; as well as guest spots on: Flashpoint for CBS and CTV; Being Erica and Cracked for CBC; and Monk for USA. Sutherland also had a pivotal recurring role in season 10 of NBC’s hit series, ER. He recently wrapped a very dark role for the upcoming TV movie Believe Me, about the true story of the horrifying abduction of Lisa McVey and will be seen next in the CBC anthology series, The Detectives.
Other recent film projects include the WWI film, Liberté: a Time To Spy, for director Lydia Dean Pilcher; the film Possessor, for writer/director Brandon Cronenberg; and The Retreat for director Pat Mills.
click to read more
Paul Gross is one of Canada’s most popular actors on stage and screen, internationally known for his role as Constable Benton Fraser on the multi award-winning drama series Due South. He was honoured with two Gemini Awards for Best Actor, and one Gemini Award for his writing on the series. Gross also received two Gemini Awards, for best performance by an actor in the critically acclaimed series Slings & Arrows.
Gross wrote, directed and starred in the movies Hyena Road, Passchendaele and Men with Brooms, which was the highest-grossing English-language Canadian film of the previous 20 years. Passchendaele was the highest grossing Canadian film of 2008 and won five Genie Awards, including Best Picture. He also starred in, co-wrote and produced the miniseries H2O as well as its sequel The Trojan Horse. Most recently Gross has starred in Tales of the City for Netflix, with Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney, reprising his role of Brian from the original PBS series and also starred in CBC’s Caught.
On stage, Gross performed the title role in the Stratford Festival’s Hamlet to record-setting audiences. Mr. Gross appeared on Broadway in Noel Coward’s Private Lives opposite Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City) which also experienced a sold-out engagement at the Royal Alex in Toronto and he starred in John Guare’s Are You There, McPhee? at the McCarter Theatre at Princeton. Recently he performed onstage opposite his wife, Martha Burns, in Domesticated, by Bruce Norris, at Canadian Stage.
A recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and the Pierre Burton Award, he was appointed to the Order of Canada and also received the Earle Grey Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award, from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
click to read more
Sheila was born in Toronto and began her career at The Charlottetown Festival as a professional dancer when she was sixteen. She has spent four decades working across the country in every major theatre including Soulpepper, Stratford and Shaw Festivals and is the recipient of 2 Genie Awards as Best Actress in most notably I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing which also won her the Charles Chaplin Award in Vevey, Switzerland and People’s Choice award at the Cannes Film Festival. Her second Genie was the feature film Lotus Eaters. She has also been nominated and won 2 Gemini TV Awards for Sesame Street and Emily Of New Moon as well as 2 Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Little Shoppe of Horrors and Really Rosie.
Other TV and Film credits include Die Hard 2, Stepping Out with Liza Minnelli, Being Julia, The Day After Tomorrow, Virtual Mom [which she wrote and produced], I Was A Teenage Drama Queen, Picket Fences, Little Mosque on the Prairie, Orphan Black, Isobel, and Martins Hagge and Night Shoot both opposite Gordon Pinsent. She directed and choreographed Sweet Charity, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Trapdoor at Sheridan College. Recent work includes directing her first short film Russet Season, as well as starring in Little Black Dress, a film directed by daughter and producer Mackenzie Donaldson. The Cardinals (Official selection at TIFF 2017) also garnered her the 2018 ACTRA AWARD for Best Actress. Recent acting credits include: Guest starring role on Star Trek: Discovery, Private Eyes (opposite William Shatner), and a recurring arc on the hit Netflix show, UMBRELLA ACADEMY, and can be seen upcoming on Baroness Von Sketch Show.
Directing credits include Brighten Beach Memoir at the Harold Green Theatre, Norm Foster’s Lunenburg in Orangeville, and most recently, a brand new musical of Pinocchio at Young Peoples Theatre. Most current feature films include Happy Place, Christmas Club, Broken Heart Gallery, and Christmas 9 to 5.
Pål Sverre Hagen as Frank the "Middle Man"
Tuva Novotny as Blenda
Paul Gross as The Sheriff
Don McKellar as The Doctor
Nicolas Bro as The Pastor
Nina Andresen-Borud as Frank's Mother
Rossif Sutherland as Steve
Trond Fausa Aurvåg as Bob
Aksel Hennie as Arthur
Kenneth Welsh as Martin Miller
Sheila McCarthy as Mrs. Stout
Writer: Bent Hamer
Director: Bent Hamer
Producer: Bent Hamer
Co-Producers: Simone Urdl, Jamie Manning, Jennifer Weiss (THE FILM FARM)/ Reinhard Brundig , Nina Frese (PANDORA)/ Jacob Jarek (PROFILE PICTURES)
Cinematographer: John Christian Roselund
Production Designer: Diana Magnus
Costume Designer: Amanda Lee Street
Editor: Anders Refn
Composer: Jonathan Goldsmith
Sound Designer and Mixer: Steve Munro
Original title: The Middle Man
Tagline: Death Is a Tough Way to Make a Living
International title: The Middle Man
Tagline: Death Is a Tough Way to Make a Living
Duration: 95 min
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Original language: English
Countries of production: Norway, Canada, Germany, Denmark
Production Companies: BulBul Film as
Co-production Companies: PANDORA Film GmbH & Co. Filmproduktions- und Vertriebs KG, The Film Farm,
Profile Pictures ApS
With the support of: Eurimages, NFI, NFTF, NOHFC, Telefilm, Ontario Creates, Candada Tax Credit, DFFF,
Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Danish Film Institue, Crave, ZDF/ ARTE