Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oslo Reprise

Netflix is excited to be celebrating our Norwegian launch today in Oslo. I’m Erik Barmack, director of Content at Netflix, and we’re continuing our opening week swing through the Nordics.

I’ve always loved Norway – mostly because my parents lived here for over a year and spoke fondly, nostalgically, almost mythologically about the beauty of the fjords and the greenness of the hills and the times they spent skiing from cabin to cabin. And years later, when I finally had the chance to visit Oslo, I realized that it reminded me of my hometown, Portland, Oregon, which is also quite green and sometimes – ahem – quite soggy from the rain, and slightly quirky in its own way. (Until I was eleven, downtown Portland didn’t look that different than the main street in Twin Peaks – sans the cherry pie.)

Perhaps this connection is why Norwegian films have always intrigued me. When I first saw Reprise, it was like viewing a slice taken directly from my young adult life. Erik and Phillip were obsessed with punk music, being ironic, girls – and dreamed of becoming great writers. Well, I wanted those things too. And last year, when I first watched Julenatt I Blafjell, I was reminded of the folk stories of my youth – blue gnomes and all. More recently, when Netflix distributed Lilyhammer to other parts of the world – the humor and warmth and snowy landscapes were all familiar to me (as we hope that series was familiar to you).

I’m proud to say that all these great Norwegian stories will be on Netflix in Norway today, along with other great entertainment from around the world. In addition to our rich catalog of Hollywood films and TV series and a rich collection of British mysteries and comedies, Netflix will also be developing original series that will debut exclusively in Norway on our service. One of them will be “House of Cards,” a remake of a classic BBC political series starring Kevin Spacey and produced and directed by Academy Award-winner David Fincher. Other great series will follow.

So, yes, Norway, here we are. We’re a global entertainment service that’s bringing you the best stories from around the world. At the same time we also hope that when you use Netflix, you have the same feeling that I get when I now see a great film in Oslo: That our particular brand of entertainment – broad, enduring and intimate – feels a bit like home.

-Erik

Erik Barmack is director of content at Netflix