Tromso trumpets natives

'Kautokeino Rebellion' opens Norwegian fest

Despite warmer temperatures than usual, the snow screen was back in the main square this year at Norway’s 18th Tromso Film Festival (Jan. 15-20), while reindeer helped usher in the Arctic festival.

The animals, along with teepee-like tents based on the nomadic dwellings of the indigenous Sami people, were a salute to this year’s opener, Nils Gaup’s “The Kautokeino Rebellion,” the largest production ever to come out of Northern Norway.

Pic’s opening fanfare was widely covered throughout the Norwegian media, where reviews have been largely positive. The Intl. Federation of Film Societies (FICC) awarded the film its Don Quijote prize.

Main prize, carrying an $18,300 grant to the Norwegian distributor that picks up the title for local play, went to Cannes-preemed “Water Lilies.” Fipresci handed its certificate to “The Secret of the Grain” (Abdellatif Kechiche), while the Norwegian Peace Film Award went to underground Chinese digital feature “Little Moth” (Peng Tao). Tromso, population 64,500 and home to the world’s northernmost university — and brewery — again proved itself the most popular festival in Norway, posting record-breaking ticket sales of 45,251.

With a catchphrase of “Frozen Land, Moving Pictures,” the fest offered an especially solid selection of the best recent titles, including Johan Kling’s “Darling,” Jaime Rosales’ “Solitary Particles,” and “No Country for Old Men.” The Film Focus North section was particularly strong this year, with an emphasis on indigenous peoples throughout the polar regions.

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