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English Titles A

Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King, The

Original title: Askeladden - I Dovregubbens hall
German title: Espen und die Legende vom Bergkönig
Norway, Ireland, Czech Republic, 2017

Director: Sandemose, Mikkel Braenne
Production company: Maipo Film AS
Co-producers: Subotica Film, Sirena Films
Age recommendation: 9 years and up
Length: 104 min.
Film genre: Feature film

Once upon a time, in Norway: A poor farmer's son, known as Espen Ash Lad (17), is the youngest of three brothers. He is a cheerful and adventurous young man with a big heart and colourful imagination, but is easily led astray. He has never quite seen eye to eye with his brothers Per (20) and Pål (19), mainly because Per has zero tolerance for Espen’s boyish shenanigans and tendency towards laziness.
At the Kingdom’s palace, princess Kristin is set to marry the dashing, but evil prince Sigurd against er will. According to an old legend, if she doesn’t marry before her 18th birthday, the giant troll known as the Mountain King will awaken from his slumbers and take her away to his cave in the mountains.
Kristin escapes from her wedding, flees on horseback and runs into Espen. They connect immediately. With a sharp tongue and a quick wit, Kristin is Espen’s match in every way.
That night Kristin is taken by the Mountain King. The next day the King announces that he will reward whoever can find and bring back his daughter, with half the kingdom and the princess’ hand in marriage. Prince Sigurd promises to retrieve Kristin, and rides out to search for her.
Meanwhile, back home, Espen accidentally knocks some hot coals onto the floor, and their house catches fire. Soon the entire farm is ablaze. Their only hope is to find the princess and collect the reward. Espen and his brothers – angrier with Espen than ever – embark on their quest.
In the forest, Espen encounters a strange, old woman with an absurdly long nose, which has been wedged stuck in a tree stump. Espen helps her loose and shares his food with her. As a way of thanks, the old lady gives Espen a magic map, which will show him the way to anywhere he wants to go - as long as he asks it politely. When she hears of his quest, she tells him that a magic sword named Tvegir is the only thing that can defeat the Mountain King.
During their journey, the brothers fall under the spell of some shapeshifting, seductive hulders (fairy-like creatures), defeat the malevolent water spirit Nøkken, ride on a moose and find Tvegir before losing both the sword and their magic map to Sigurd and his men. Just as the brothers have lost all hope, the Mountain King attacks and grabs hold of both Sigurd and Pål.
At last Espen and Per find the Hall of the Mountain King, a dark and ominous cave. They manage to free Kristin and Pål – hesitantly, they save Sigurd as well while the vile troll sleeps. But on the way out, Sigurd accidentally steps on the troll’s tail and it awakens. They run for their lives, with the Mountain King chasing after them. Exiting the cave, Espen sees that it’s almost dawn. Trolls turn to stone in sunlight. They keep climbing up the mountainside, when Kristin kisses our heroic Espen (in case they don’t survive). They pray that the sun comes up in time to save them…
Espen uses a hand mirror to reflect the first morning rays of the sun at the troll, distracting it until the sun comes all the way up … turning the troll to stone!
Princess Kristin returns to the palace and her overjoyed parents. Espen rejects his reward, asking only for enough money to rebuild their farm. Kristin is now free to marry whomever she likes, when she is ready for it.
A few months later, the farm has been rebuilt thanks to the King’s reward. Harmony reigns. The brothers get along much better than before, they have finally learned to see past each others differences and respect one another.

Marketing strategies:
Based on Asbjørnsen and Moe's classic tales about the Ash Lad.

Kristiansand CFF 2018, Nordic Filmdays Lübeck 2018 (special mention)

World sales address/es:
TrustNordisk Int. Sales (DK)

Sold to:
Telepool / Global Screen (DE)
EuroVideo (DE)