At the Norwegian Poker Championships last year Linn Therese Amundsen and Kari Wåle were asked to film some informational videos for blood cancer charity Blodkreftforeningen.
They had no prior knowledge of poker but a cup of coffee with cancer patient Thor Hansen became the beginning of a meaningful and emotional journey.
“We really found Thor’s story fascinating,” Amundsen tells PokerListings. “And we realized that this story deserved to be told.
"We wanted to document his life through All in! and Thor was luckily positive about the idea.”
Amundsen and Wåle hope to portray Hansen’s eventful life where poker and gambling has played a central role. They also want to show how a serious cancer illness accompanied by a death sentence can be fought through poker and why a positive attitude can be an inspiration for us all.
Today, they're in a race against time to find the funding to finish it. To make All in! a reality they need 250,000 NOK – around $29,000 – through Kickstarter before December 23 to complete the shooting.
Positivity an inspiration.
Role Model for Film Itself
“We are still optimistic about reaching the goal of 250,000 kroner," Amundsen explains.
"We have learned this positive approach from Thor, but we need a bit of luck and some good people around us in order to succeed.”
Currently 111,872 NOK has been raised through 69 backers to reach the first goal. Later, another 250,000 NOK will be needed to complete the movie.
Applying for funding from the Norwegian government usually takes a long time. Given Hansen's health, that's not an option.
But even if the goal isn't reached in time they won't give up on the project.
“We will of course lose the amount which has been collected already," Amundsen says, "but in that case we need to try to find the funding in another way.
"We have followed Thor for almost a year and have so much material that we are really passionate about finishing it."
No Better Ambassador than Thor
To be the protagonist in a documentary can be stressful and not every cancer patient can find the energy to involve himself in such a project.
Man of steel.
Hansen has already outlived the doctors’ predictions on his life expectancy but he can still not be sure that there will be another day tomorrow.
“We had personal experiences with cancer (Kari Wåle was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013)," Amundsen says, "and perhaps that was the reason why we got a good connection to Thor in the beginning.
"We think that the documentary will debunk some of the notions about serious illness and you will probably not find a better ambassador than Thor when trying to show what attitude and openness can do for a patient – especially for those related to the patient."
A Spectacular Poker Life
As poker fans know Hansen has won two World Series of Poker bracelets but his career experiences through poker go well beyond money and accolades at the tables.
Even the tough days are needed.
He has played the best players in the world and was Larry Flynt’s poker buddy. He has lived a spectacular life at the poker table and seen millions of dollars come and go.
Since 2012 he has continued to thrive at the poker tables - both live and online - while he's been fighting a debilitating cancer.
“Yet it is Thor Hansen who asks us why his life is so interesting,” Amundsen says.
“He has an unending amount of absurd and interesting stories to tell, his love for other people, his positive attitude to life and his relationship – or lack of – to money is more than a fulfilling answer for us.
“We don't know how long Thor can continue the filming; it can be months or years. His state means that we cannot always film as planned but still we cannot make All in! without showing some of the tough days.
"Luckily Thor acknowledges this."
If the funding goal is met by Dec. 23 the next stop will be Las Vegas - if Hansen's health allows - to shoot some important footage.
“Since Thor has lived most of his life in Las Vegas," Amundsen says, "we would like to take him back there to track some of his old footsteps."
Dreams of Netflix
Hansen loves to sing and, as poker players might now, he often croons a little at the poker tables. He's done so as well during the shooting with the microphone on.
A story that should be told.
“He actually has a nice voice," Amundsen says, "and we would like to have him debut on stage in All in! together with the jazz ensemble Old Mix."
All in! will be made in Norwegian but because of the immense love for Thor internationally it has global potential.
“We have a dream to launch the film on Netflix or similar," Amundsen says, "to reach as large an audience as possible.
"Thor is bigger in the US than back home in Norway after all,” she adds.
If you wish to contribute to the project or read more about in (in Norwegian), please see the Kickstarter page here.
Watch the trailer for the movie below. The footage is from the Norwegian Championships in Dublin in March where Hansen was hospitalized after experiencing heart problems. He quickly recovered and was able to play poker the next day.