Preview of Norwegian International Film Festival Highlights

This weekend (Aug 15) should see the opening of the week-long Norwegian International Film Festival, held in Haugesund in southern Norway. The latest we’ve heard is that the festival, which has been taking place annually for almost 50 years, is still going ahead despite the pandemic, but running with a reduced programme.

We had a look through the incredible line up and share some of the movies that have caught our attention – though we are certain all the line-up will be worth a watch when we can finally get our hands on them. We’ve included here some trailers for the movies in our top picks list – but be advised that the English subtitles have not been added to all of them yet…

Breaking Surface (Sweden/Norway)
It has been a while since a trailer actually takes your breath away – in this one for Below Surface, it’s the scenery that does this first – as it is filmed in the Lofoten Islands, also where TV series Twin was set. Next, it’s the unfolding action and tension that grips you.

Two sisters (played by Sweden’s rising stars Moa Gammell and Madeleine Martin) are on a diving trip in Northern Norway, when one of them gets stuck under a boulder deep in a fjord. The cinematography on this is stunning and we can’t wait to see the full film.

Festival director Tonje Hardersen had this to say about the movie and its opening at the festival:

What could be more fitting than to have an opening film from Lofoten! “Breaking Surface” takes us to the dramatic northern landscape, with a tight and exciting diver-thriller, and with two very crafty women protagonist who in each their way have been shaped by their crass mother – perfectly portrayed by Trine Wiggen. It’s particularly fun that the film is a true-born child of the festival, one that we have been following for years, and we finally have the honor of showing to the audience”.

Echo (Iceland)
This looks and sounds like an incredible piece of work and we will be keeping a very close eye on when we might be able to get access to this over here in the UK. Echo is directed by Runar Runarsson and is a collection of 56 vignettes taken over and around Icelandic Christmas time. The trailer looks simply stunning and so beautifully shot!

Sweat (Sweden/Poland)
In his second feature Swedish director Magnus Von Horn focuses on the repercussions of social media fame as the movie centres around Sylwia Zając. Sylwia, played by Magdalena Kolesnik, is a fitness instructor who reaches celebrity status through her constant social media interaction. The movie looks to focus on the relentless world of social media and some of its darker sides. The movie itself is in Polish but there is a lot of hype surrounding Magnus’ work on the movie.

The Exception (Denmark)
This Danish thriller looks enthralling as we watch events unfold when four work colleagues enter a power game that gets completely out of hand and death threats get sent to two of the colleagues.

The Last Fishing Trip (Iceland)
When we read that this was described as an Icelandic mix of The Hangover and Sideways, we were immediately sold! The story of six friends who go out on a fishing trip that slowly spirals out of control and how they try to handle the aftermath by avoiding the consequences.

We managed to find the Icelandic trailer below and though we can’t understand what on earth is being said, it certainly looks incredibly funny and has some beautiful shots of Iceland amongst the male nudity!

The Painter & The Thief (Norway)
This documentary caught our attention by its description alone from director Benjamin Ree:

“I was interested in art theft – and art thieves – and then I suddenly discovered this case about the theft of two paintings from Gallery Nobel in Oslo. I immediately began filming the interaction between artist Barbora and thief Karl-Bertil, from the fourth time they met. It was planned as a short documentary, but then so much happened, so unexpectedly and so interestingly, that I kept filming – and I had no idea what was going to happen during the project. ”

The trailer below gives a great idea of what we are in for, though for those who don’t fancy too much information try to avoid or at least drop off halfway through it!

Wildland (Denmark)
You might have already heard about our excitement about this movie when we spoke to the lead actress Sandra Guldberg Kampp about it. Released earlier in the year at the Berlin film festival, it has now finally got a release and is doing the rounds again. Sadly still no sign of a release date in the UK yet but we will be keeping a close eye where and when. Check out our interview with Sandra to find out more about this movie.

Believe us when we say that there is a whole heap of incredible movies and short films being showcased at the festival, and nominated for the Amanda Award (awards given at the Norwegian International Film Festival for Excellence in Norwegian film). We hope the festival goes well and we can’t wait to get our hands on some of the full movies in the future!

Any particular movies caught your attention? Have you ever been to this, or any other film festival? Let us know in the comments!

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