Film based on Joshua French Congo imprisonment in the works

By Wendy Mitchell / SCREENDAILY



EXCLUSIVE: TrustNordisk handling sales on the feature project directed by Marius Holst.


Headhunters producers Friland Produksjon are planning a feature film based on the true story of two Norwegian citizens, Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland, who were sentenced to death in Eastern Congo after the death of their hired driver in 2009.


TrustNordisk will handle sales on the film, titled Congo. Nordisk will release in Scandinavia. Marius Holst will direct and Norwegian reports say that Headhunters star Aksel Hennie (pictured) is set to play French. Nikolaj Frobenius (Insomnia) is writing the script.


The film has been in development for years but could only be announced publicly because French was released from prison this week and returned to Norway on Wednesday. (Moland died in prison.)


Congo is produced by Christian Fredrik Martin and Asle Vatn for Friland in co-production with Nordisk Film, Pandora Film Produktion, Nimbus Film, Garagefilm International and Film Väst in collaboration with DO Productions, with the support from the Norwegian Film Institute, Eurimages, Nordisk Film & TV Fund, the Danish Film Institute, the Swedish Film Institute and Media. 


”This story has a long time span and unfolds behind many shut doors. We have chosen to let all known facts and very comprehensive research make the basis of the dramatic tale in the upcoming feature, Congo. The audience will be brought on an epic journey, keeping the characters in focus. This is a fictional story based on the incredible true events from the Congo case,” Holst said.


Holst is an alumnus of London Film School and his past features include King Of Devi´s Island and Cross My Heart And Hope To Die.


Friland´s credits includes Headhunters, Pioneer, Upperdog and Sons Of Norway.


Sveinung Golimo, executive director, production & development in the Norwegian Film Institute, said: ”This film is based on tragic, actual events. A man was brutally killed while at work in the Congolese jungle. We do not know the truth of what happened, but two young Norwegian men -  his employers - were convicted of the murder. Today, only one of them is still alive, and he is marked for life. It is very demanding to make a feature film inspired by the story of Joshua French and the late Tjostolv Moland.”


“A very strong artistic team, consisting of scriptwriter Nikolaj Frobenius, director Marius Holst and producer Christian Fredrik Martin, has created an existential and delirious drama which give us a different approach to one of the biggest media cases in Norway in the last decade. Congo depicts wildness, violence and imprisonment but also brings up themes like guilt, atonement and compassion.”