Gripping tales from the outer edges of the Arctic: The Films from the North program is here

From unpretentious comedies and poetic documentaries to stories on coping with trauma and loss. In TIFFs largest sidebar, Films from the North, you’ll find captivating films of great artistic quality from the Barents region and other circumpolar areas.

Publisert 02.12.2021 — Hanna Hjelmeland


This year's Films from the North program consists of a total of 42 short films, documentaries and feature films. There will be 13 world premieres of films made in Northern Norway, by both up-and-coming young directors as well as well-established filmmakers.  

The Norwegian documentary SMILE AND WAVE by Eva Charlotte Nilsen is this year's opening film. In the film, which has its world premiere at TIFF, Nilsen reflects on her own childhood in the 60s. SMILE AND WAVE is an uplifting body of work that investigates the mystery of our memories and pays tribute to the healing force of nature. Nilsen, previously managing director at Nordnorsk Filmsenter, is a filmmaker based in Vesterålen. 

She has worked as director, photographer, editor and programming secretary at NRK and her portfolio consists of numerous films for museums, TV companies and freelance projects. Films from the North Program Manager, Espen Nomedal, immediately knew that this had to be the opening film.

- It is a true gem. The film evolves around Nilsen's thoughts on existence and life itself. Moulded in Northen Norway's ever-changing coastal nature and constantly surprising the viewer. SMILE AND WAVE is a light in a dark time and of course this had to be our opening film, says Nomedal.

SMILE AND WAVE by Eva Charlotte Nilsen
SMILE AND WAVE by Eva Charlotte Nilsen

    This festival’s Films from the North program has more female filmmakers than ever before, counting a total of 23. You’ll find new and exciting voices such as Russian-Swedish Yuliya Antonova (SPIN THE BOTTLE) and Norwegian Astrid Ardagh (A FORGOTTEN CHILDHOOD), as well as established international names within the art of documentary such as Canadian Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (KÌMMAPIIYIPITSSINI: THE MEANING OF EMPATHY) and Finnish Suvi West (EATNAMEAMET - OUR SILENT STRUGGLE). Both Tailfeathers and West portray indigenous men and women in their own, uncompromising way.

    SPIN THE BOTTLE av Yuliya Antonova
    SPIN THE BOTTLE by Yuliya Antonova

    Powerful stories in this year's feature documentaries 

    Among this year's feature documentaries is the world premiere of Norwegian/Swedish THE SILENCE IN SÁPMI directed by Liselotte Wajstedt and produced by Linn Henriksen. The film seeks answers as to why serious subjects such as sexual assault has been silenced over generations in the Sámi community. The women coming forth in the documentary have all in their own way challenged this silence surrounding the assaults made against them.

    22 of the films are in the running for the Tromsø Palm Award at TIFF 2022. Awarded to the best film under 60 minutes, the winner is selected by a jury.

    The Films from the North program offers films from places we rarely see, and various personal ways to tell these stories.

    - The films are made by contributors from all around the world both in front of – and behind camera. This is what makes the sidebar so exciting and versatile. We get both the indigenous perspective of the Blackfeet Nation in Canada and Inuk and films about strong Sámi belonging to stories from multicultural and LGBTQ+ filmmakers. This wide spectre of artists put together is one of the program's strongest traits, Nomedal concludes.

      Check out the entire Films from the North program HERE

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