The Upcoming Documentary on MMA in Norway (Updated)

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Norway’s Scandinavian Productions with filmmaker Tommas Tingbjør leading the charge are producing a documentary about mixed martial arts in Norway and beyond.  For the last three years, Tingbjør along with co-producer Marius Kristoffersen have been passionately filming and trying to put together a documentary to help shine a light on the sport that is misperceived by many.

“Hopefully this documentary will help to get a constructive debate about legalizing both MMA and pro-boxing in Norway.” – Tommas Tingbjør

Tommas Tingbjør, Alistair Overeem , John Olav Einemo, Marius Kristoffersen

MMA Viking talks with Tommas Tingbjør to learn more about the challenges of producing an MMA documentary and the pending release.

MMA Viking : There has been some buzz about your documentary on MMA in Norway.  Can you tell us a little about how you got the idea?

Tingbjør : The documentary has been in the back of my mind for the last 5 years (I have attended film school for 3.5 of those years).  I wanted to make the movie because the sport MMA, nor the fighters get the recognition it deserves here in Norway.

Even though the sport is huge both in Norway and worldwide, it seems that here you have to be a cross-country skier to get some recognition for you’re hard work and achievements as an athlete. In my mind that’s not right!

Also I want to show the viewers that MMA is a legit sport and not a human cockfight as many people obviously think MMA is. Hopefully this documentary will help to get a constructive debate about legalizing both MMA and pro-boxing in Norway.

MMA Viking : Can you talk about the team putting together the film?

John Olav Einemo
John Olav Einemo Supporting the Documentary

Tingbjør : The team is currently me, and my co-producer Marius Kristoffersen. We are very lucky to get a lot of help from John-Olav Einemo. Without his knowledge and contacts in the MMA scene, I don’t think this documentary would have been made.

MMA Viking : It seems you have set out to finish the documentary this year.  Can you update us as to your progress, and when might it be completed? 

Tingbjør : The plan was to finish it this year/early next year, but I’m not so sure now.  I want this film to be the best it can be, so I think the smart thing to do is to give it some more time.

MMA Viking : Also, would it be an Internet release or are you looking for an independent film release?

Tingbjør : I am hoping for an independent film release.  It costs a lot of money to make this documentary. I have to travel all around the world, and with no budget at all, that is not easy to do. I don’t get paid for this at all either, so it’s limited how much time I can use on the project (my unpaid bills are growing fast!).

“Hansen is a legend and Einemo is the toughest guy in Norway”

MMA Viking : When thinking of MMA in Norway, before the last few months, I think the casual MMA fan would only have Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen in mind.  Will the focus be on the fight scene in general, or will you focus on Hansen or any particular fighter(s)?

Tingbjør : There will be focus on Joachim Hansen and John-Olav Einemo in this documentary (Hansen is a legend and Einemo is the toughest guy in Norway), but I also want to show the Norwegian fight scene in general. MMA is getting so big here in Norway and there are many up and coming fighters fighting their way up the international scene. I can’t follow all of them, but the plan is to visit as many gyms as I can and do some interviews.

Joachim Hansen
Norway's Joachim "Hellboy" Hansen in the Superior Challenge Cage Discussing His Upcoming Return to Sweden

MMA Viking : John Olav Einemo seems to be the wild card in your movie.  He grabbed a lot of international attention with his return.  Does your documentary follow his exciting “Fight of the Night” at UFC 131, and will the release of the movie depend on his next fight(s).

Tingbjør : The film will definitely follow Einemos return. We don’t really know what’s going on right now, but I’m trying to get some money so I can travel to Thailand and figure it all out. John-Olav is there sparring with Sergei Kharitonov and it would be great to get some interviews with Einemo and Golden Glory manager, Bas Boon about all that’s happened lately.

Einemo
Einemo Making a Big Splash with His "Fight of the Night" in UFC Debut (Photo from MMA Weekly)

MMA Viking : I understand that the movie is something that you are doing in your spare time outside of your regular job.  Is there something that fans or anyone interested in supporting the movie can do?

Tingbjør : Yes, this documentary is making it difficult for me to pay my bills. I have some t-shirts I give away for a small donation (they also get their name in the credits) and all sponsors are more than welcome to send me an email if they want to help out.

Besides Norway I hope (and think) this film will work out in the rest of Scandinavia as well (both Sweden and Finland are represented in the film).

Simeon Thoresen
Mohsen Bahari (Left) Celebrating with Simeon Thoresen and Thomas Moon Lee at UFC in Sweden

Connect with Scandinavian Productions and Tommas Tingbjør on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ScandinavianProductions.  We wish Scandinavian Productions all the best in the release of the upcoming documentary.  “Like” MMA Viking on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on the Nordic MMA scene.

NOTE : This article was originally published in August of 2011. In January 2013, this article was updated to reflect the name change from Full Melt Productions to Scandinavian Productions. Tommas Tingbjør also informs MMA Viking about the timing of finishing the documentary… “Yes, I am working on it now!”