TIFF dives in at Alfheim

At the upcoming film festival the distinguished and historic Alfheim swimming hall will be used as a venue for film screenings and concerts.

Publisert 28.12.2021 — John-Kristian Dalseth

Festival director Lisa Hoen and production manager Vegard Krane look forward to welcoming audiences into Alfheim swimming hall at this year's TIFF. Photo: Mats Gangvik

The building is owned by the Tromsø Municipality and even though the pool itself has been drained for several years now it has been determined that the swimming hall will be preserved. It has been empty and housed little activity for the past years though, and TIFF wants to change this by turning it into a full-scale venue for TIFF 2022.

- We want to provide our audience with unique experiences. Alfheim swimming hall is one of the most iconic structures in Tromsø and a very exciting venue to screen films at, just like we’ve previously done at the Arctic Cathedral which also happens to have been designed by Jan Inge Hovig. We love the idea of turning this into a cinema temporarily while it’s not being used as a swimming pool, even though the real dream would be to have a “swimming cinema” with water in the pool, says festival director Lisa Hoen.

Alfheim swimming hall was designed by Hovig in 1957 and was opened in 1965. In other words it’s a building of a significant age, with its wear and tear that does not immediately strike you as a possible cinema when you stand in the middle of the pool. This is a challenge to relish, according to TIFF’s production manager Vegard Krane.

- Alfheim has these amazing architectural qualities that make it a dream space to work in, and even though it was designed as a swimming hall its shape and structure also works well for film screenings and concerts. That also goes for, quite surprisingly, the sound quality and its acoustics, says Krane.

Despite the unusual setting he guarantees that the audience at TIFF will be able to both see and hear the films and music in the highest quality once they’ve sat down in front of the screen in the pool.
- Even though this is an improvised venue, it will have one of the biggest screens at the festival, one of the most powerful projectors and definitely the coolest lights. In our set-up we don’t try to camouflage that it’s a swimming hall, but instead emphasise it. That makes it a very exciting room, and one that I think the audience will feel very comfortable in, says Krane.

Iran Mayen på Stumfilmdager 2021
Iran Mayen had their premiere performance of KORONA at the Silent Film Days at Verdensteatret in April. Now they will finally get to perform it in the venue it was originally intended for, Alfheim swimming hall. Photo: Jamie Michael Bivard

Considering that the Alfheim swimming hall will be one of the most special venues the film festival has ever used, it is only fitting that it will be the venue for the upcoming film festival’s most special screenings.

- There will be a silent film concert with band featuring Norwegian and Russian musicians, led by Herborg Rundberg, who will perform live to the classic Soviet film WOMEN OF RYAZAN. There will also be film concerts with the popular band Iran Mayen from Tromsø, who will perform original music to their own film KORONA – which happens to have been partly filmed inside the swimming hall. Also, musician Elle Márjá Eira and her band will present her film EALÁT as a film concert and in addition one will be able to see other terrific TIFF films in unique surroundings at Alfheim. It’s not often that you can sit in an empty swimming pool and watch movies, says festival director Hoen.

Herborg Rundberg
Herborg Rundberg is the musical director of the band that will perform to the Soviet silent film WOMEN OF RYAZAN. The other musicians in the band are Marianne Halmrast, Diana Mikheeva and Lin Valentine, the last two both from Russia. Photo: Marius Fiskum

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