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Toronto 2012: Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg Journey Across the Ocean for ‘Kon-Tiki’

Toronto 2012: Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg Journey Across the Ocean for 'Kon-Tiki'

Childhood friends and directorial team, Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg will debuted their third feature film, “Kon-Tiki,” at the Toronto Film Festival this week. The film chronicles the 101-day journey across the Pacific Ocean undertaken by Norwegian ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl in 1947.  The film’s title refers to the name of the wooden, self-made raft which served as Heyerdahl’s transportation during his journey, in order to demonstrate how ancient voyagers were able to make contact with cultures separated by vast distances. 

Recalling a more adventurous era of anthropology — and a 1950 Oscar-winning documentary of the same name — “Kon-Tiki” has already courted a lot of buzz since premiering.

What the movie is about: The true story about legendary explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his epic crossing of the Pacific on a balsa wood raft in 1947.

In other words…: To follow your dream. 

The Inspiration for “Kon-Tiki”: We grew up together in a small town south of Oslo, Norway, called Sandefijord. All we have ever done is making movies. We never left the sandbox. We love bringing stories to life. We don’t know any other life.  The KON-TIKI story inspired us when we were kids to follow our dream – to be ambitious and never give up. We want this movie to inspire people to choose the adventure. Climb Matterhorn, sail around Cuba, drive route 66 and follow the dream.

What was the biggest challenge in developing or producing it?: There were so many challenges; we don’t even know where to start. It was the most complex production we have ever been on as filmmakers. Luckily we were surrounded by great people.

Influences During Filming: “Jaws,” of course – one of the greatest movies ever made. We constantly go back to the seventies and eighties for inspiration and consider these decades as the golden film era.

Future Projects in the pipeline?:  Anything is possible but hopefully something on land.

Indiewire invited select newcomers to the Toronto International Film Festival to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faces, and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses throughout TIFF. Go HERE to read other profiles.


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