Released on UK cinemas 21st January, Ex Machina is a British psychological thriller, written and directed by The Beach author Alex Garland. It tells the story of a computer coder who wins the chance to spend a week at the house in the mountains belonging to the CEO of the company he works for, only to find he has to participate in an experiment involving a new brand of artificial intelligence. The location is filmed in Norway, where they are based in the small valley Valldal, just off the UNESCO World Heritage listed Geirangerfjord.
Set in Alaska – filmed in Norway
The film is set in Alaska, but is however filmed in Norway. Director Garland explains the choice, “We knew that if we found a spectacular landscape it would provide a lot of the power of the guy. If he owns this landscape, he must be spectacular too’, he says. They found what they were looking for in Norway. Producer Andrew Macdonald continues, ‘Norway doubles brilliantly for the Colorado Rockies, Canada and Alaska. It felt a bit like Scotland, where I’m from, but Scotland on super drugs. It’s incredible; these vertical hills, waterfalls everywhere and deep, deep fjords and sea lochs’.
Guests booking rooms at the Juvet Landscape Hotel are likely to stay in the very locations featured in the film, while taking trips out to the other locations, including the Nigardsbreen Glacier and Grondalen Waterfall.
Frozen success boosting tourism to Norway
Norway’s landscape and culture have inspired another recent film, namely Frozen. The film, Disney’s best-selling animated film through history, is based in a fictional kingdom which is modelled on Norway’s coastline and towns. The film has boosted tourism to Norway, particularly from the US where they registered 37% increase in hotel bookings the first part of 2014 compared to 2013, while flights with Norwegian Air increased by 52%. ‘Films are a great way of showcasing Norway, and can potentially have a big effect on a country’s tourism’, says Catherine Foster, Country Manager at Visit Norway UK.
- Valldal – a valley in the fjord region, just off the Geirangerfjord – well known for soft adventures, including rafting, canyoing, climbing and skiing.
- Juvet Landscape Hotel – a celebrated design/landscape hotel, opened 2010.
- Nigardsbreen Glacier – one of the most accessible glaciers in the world; great for glacier walks. An arm of the Jostedalen Glacier, the biggest glacier on mainland Europe.
- Grondalen Waterfall – just north of Juvet.
Pictures: The sauna at Juvet Landscape Hotel; a shot from the filming of Ex Machina at Juvet Landscape Hotel.