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Having traveled to two Norwegian film festivals in four months, Bergen International Film Festival (BIFF) and Tromsø International Film Festival (TIFF) it´s safe to say that Norwegian Documentary filmmaking is on a good role. Documentary film making has a long and strong tradition in Norway and that shows in the storytelling and the film styles. The stories told in the documentaries and characters portrayed are interesting and usually appeal to viewers both nationally and internationally. Following is a list of some recent Norwegian Documentaries worth recommending that screened at BIFF and TIFF:
De Andre / Nowhere home (dir. Margrethe Olin, 2012) – Best Norwegian Documentary Awards at Bergen International Film Festival. De Andre is a documentary about how a change in immigration law in Norway in 2009 affects three young men. Goli is from Kurdistan and without close caregiver. Because of the law he will be deported at the age of 18 to Kurdistan. Hasan and Husein are from Afghanistan who are also denied residency in Norway and how that changes their lives.
Nowhere Home is a film about teenagers who fight to keep their hope for a dignified life alive. A close, touching and provoking encounter, it questions the management of the ethical basic principles of our time,
Bortført / Abducted (dir. Aksel Storstein, 2012) – Geir´s ten year old son was abducted by his Spanish mother and taken to Spain. Geir decides to contact ABP world group, a company that specializes in bringing home abducted children, after the Norwegian authorities fail to help him getting his son back.
Reconstructing a Family (dir. Charlotte Røhder Tvedt, 2012) – The film was nominated as Best Norwegian Documentary and received a Honorary Mention at Bergen International Film Festival. A film about divorce, time and memory. Family recounts and compare their memory of the parents divorce twenty years on. Each one has their own memories of this sad and traumatic event in their lives but how have their memories changed over time?
Havets sølv (dir. Are Pilskog, 2012) – Best Norwegian Short Documentary Awards at Bergen International Film Festival. This short wildlife documentary has stunning cinematography! Director Pilskog spent many years researching the herring migration along the coast of Norway.
Else (dir. Katja Nørregaard Høgset, 2012) – A short documentary about Else Kåss Furuseth, Norwegian stand up comedian who lost both her mother and brother because they committed suicide. In her stand-up act she shares her personal story about how she dealt with the sorrow and the loss.
Familiebildet / My Family Portrait (dir. Yvonne Thomassen, 2012) – My Family Portrait is a personal documentary and the first feature documentary by Thomassen. Her grandmother was only 26 years old when she had to flee her home together with her husband and three children when Finnmark was set on fire. Today the family has fallen out of touch with each other and the film is about the director´s attempt to gather her family for a last family photo – and along the way Thomassen discovered new things about her family.
Virkelighetsflyktning / Reality Refugee (dir. Trond Kvig Andreassen, 2012) – Magnus Eliassen is one the frontman in his band ‘Sircus Eliassen’ and also has a solo career. But his day-to-day life is not at all glamorous. He lives on his own in small cabin in the woods and eats food he finds in dumpsters outside grocery stores. In this short documentary he explains why he chose this lifestyle.
Det Lengste Løbet / The Longest Run (dir. Trond Brede Andersen, 2012) – Trine Lyrek is a dog sledge racer and together with her friend Roger Dahl, a dog sledge race expert and champion, they compete as a team in Europe´s longest and toughest dog sledge race, Finnmarksløbet. Both have their reasons to do this 1000 km dog sledge run in 6 days, she wants to win it for the first time and he wanted to win it just one more time.
There Will Be Some Who Will Not Fear Even That Void (dir. Saeed Taji Farouky, 2012, Norway/UK production) – The film won The Tromsø Palm for Best Nordic Documentary at TIFF – Tromsø International Film Festival, in Tromsø, Norway few days ago. The documentary chronicles the work of 20 artists aboard a ship sailing around Norway´s Arctic Svalbard Archipelago.
De Gode Hjelperan / The Secret Helper (dir. Harry Johansen and Torill Olsen, 2012). According to the Sámi tradition some people have special abilities and the are called helpers. They heal, stop bleedings and help people in many ways without receiving any payment for it according to the film´s synposis. The documentary gives a rare insight into some secret traditions of the Sámi culture.
Eagle Boy (dir. Gry Elisabeth Mortensen, 2012). Eight year old boy, Sage, moves from the Flathead Reservation in Montana to Tromsø, Norway. Sage stands out from his new schoolmates with his long hair and braids, a real Indian as one might say.
Following are trailers and teasers for some of the films mentioned. Unfortunately not all of them have English subtitles and it there would me more trailers available, they would have been posted as well.