Despite July 22 killings, event kicks off Aug. 17

The Norwegian Film Festival will kick off as planned Aug. 17, despite the Oslo bombing and Utoya shootings July 22 that left 77 people dead and traumatized the country.

However, the 10-day fest, which runs in Haugesund, will join the national memorial event taking place on Aug. 21 at Oslo’s Spektrum arena via a live feed.

“Right in the middle of the rush to the finish line for the preparation of this year’s festival program, tragedy struck our country,” the fest said in a statement. “We think it is the right choice to plan for the festival to run normally, but we want to participate in the national memorial event.”

The fest said it had been inundated with messages of condolence. “Over the last few weeks, we have received a torrent of statements of sympathy from our international friends. This has moved us deeply.”

The fest announced Tuesday that seven Norwegian features will make their local bows.

The opener is Jens Lien’s “Sons of Norway,” about a teen punk’s attempts to rebel against his hippie father.

The regional industry showcase and market, New Nordic Films, and the Norwegian film section, Fokus Norden, both open with Jannicke Systad Jacobsen’s offbeat coming-of-age comedy “Turn Me On, Goddammit.”

World preem of Anders Overgaard’s debut “Coming Home” opens kids’ film section Cinemagi.

Other local premieres include Morten Tyldum’s thriller “Headhunters,” Karoline Grindaker and Hilde K. Kjos’ docu “Sju Kammers — Frontsostrene,” and Even Benestad and August Baugsto Hanssen’s art docu “Pushwagner.”

The fest closes on Aug. 26 with Joachim Trier’s “Oslo, August 31st,” a portrait of a man suffering from an existential crisis.

The main program will include 22 pics from 13 countries, including Berlin’s Golden Bear winner “A Separation,” from Asghar Farhadi, and three Cannes prize winners — Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” and Maiwenn Le Besco’s “Poliss.”

In Fokus Norden, every country in the region is repped. It includes Norwegian helmer Mariken Halle’s “Maybe Tomorrow,” Runar Runarsson’s “Volcano” from Iceland and Richard Hobert’s “A One-Way to Antibes” from Sweden, which world preems.

The youth program 15+ includes the Swedish film “She Monkey” by first-time director Lisa Aschan, which won two prizes at the Gothenburg Film Festival this year.

Also in the fest program is a retrospective dedicated to actress Wenche Foss, a French film sidebar, French Touch and an Italian focus, Cinema Italia.

The Norwegian film awards, the Amandas, will be handed out in Haugesund on Aug. 20.

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