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 a novelty reindeer helped usher in the world’s largest festival in the Arctic.
The animal’s presence, along with tepee-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 International Federation of Film Societies (FICC) awarded the film its Don Quijote prize.
Main prize, carrying an $18,300 grant to the Norwegian distributor who picks up the title for local play, went to the Cannes-preemed “Water Lilies,” written and directed by Celine Sciamma. Fipresci handed its certificate to Abdellatif Kechiche’s “The Secret of the Grain,” while the Norwegian Peace Film Award went to underground Chinese digital feature “Little Moth,” directed by Peng Tao.
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Tromso, population 64,500 and home to the world’s northernmost university — and brewery — again hosted the most popular festival in Norway, posting record-breaking ticket sales figures of 45,251 as of Saturday.
With the catchphrase “Frozen Land, Moving Pictures,” fest offered an especially solid selection of the best recent titles, including Johan Kling’s “Darling,” Jaime Rosales’ “Solitary Particles” and the Coen Brothers’ “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.