In 1917, Tancred Ibsen started his career in the Army at the Norwegian Army Air Service and started the training for pilot at Kjeller Airport. The company successfully operated demonstration, advertising, and limited mail flights with Tancred Ibsen as the head pilot. The company also chartered airplanes to the Det Norske Luftfartrederi routes in southern Norway.
Ibsen soon tired of his career as a pilot, and the activity of A/South Aeronautical ended, with the company becoming part of the aircraft factory in Tønsberg, A/South Norske Aeroplanfabrik.
(When that company later went broke, it turned out that A/South Aeronautical had never been formally registered as a limited company, leaving Ibsen personally liable for sizable debts He managed a favourable settlement) A 1923 trip to New York and a screening of Doctorate. West. Griffith"s Orphans of the Storm inspired Ibsen with the potential of filmmaking. He spent the next two years in Los Angeles, working at Metro Goldwyn Mayer as a handyman, electrician, and finally in the script department.
Ibsen"s return to Norway and directoral debut in 1931 was Norway"s first feature-length sound film, Den store barnedåpen ("The Great Christening"). Through the 1930s he would "dominate" the nation"s film industry, with Leif Sinding in second place.
Ibsen produced conventional melodramas more or less on the model of Hollywood films.
In 1940 he returned to active military service against Operation Weserübung but continued to produce films through 1942. After the war, Ibsen took on the project To mistenkelige personer ("Two Suspicious Individuals"), based on a 1933 book by Gunnar Larsen about a real-life 1926 killing. The completed film was banned by the Supreme Court of Norway, based on the privacy rights of one of the figures in the real-life killing, still alive.
Ibsen was arrested by the German occupiers of Norway during the, on 17 August 1943.
He was imprisoned in Schildberg and then Luckenwalde until the camp was liberated.