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    18th Tromsö International Film Festival 2008

    By Katharina Dockhorn | August 21, 2008

    Wacken is known the world over – thanks to Sung-Hyung Cho’s oft-awarded documentary Full Metal Village (Germany, 2007) about down-home inhabitants of a Schleswig-Holstein village that annually transforms itself for an August weekend into the capital of the Heavy Metal Scene. At the 18th Tromsö International Film Festival (15-20 January 2008), the world’s northern-most festival beyond the Arctic Circle., this affectionate and heart-warming chronicle of rural life also captured the hearts of the Norwegian public.

    German films, particularly productions from Berlin’s Flying Moon company, stood out among entries from four continents. Besides Full Metal Village, another audience hit was Ulli Gaulke’s Comrades in Dreams (Germany, 2007), about film projectionists in India, Burkino Faso, North Korea, and the USA, each working under quite different social and economic conditions. The Berlin director spotlights movie managers who make others happy by projecting their dreams.

    Christian Petzold’s Yella (Germany, 2007) celebrated its Scandinavian premiere in the “Horizons” section. Robert Thalheim’s Am Ende kommen Touristen (And Along Came Tourists) (Germany/Poland. 2007) and Angeliki Antoniou’s Eduart (Germany/Greece) were invited to the Competition. Based on a true story, Eduart is about an Albanian youth who lived illegally in Athens at the end of the 1990s, was deported back home for a robbery, and must serve a prison term under inhuman conditions. A meeting with a German doctor finally helped him to take responsibility for his life. Robert Thalheim’s And Along Came Tourists, about a young man who performs his civil service at the former Auschwitz concentration camp, was screened several times for school classes, a festival tradition.

    The Tromsö venues are a modern multiplex and Scandinavia’s oldest cinema dating from 1917. Céline Sciamma’s Water Lilies (France, 2007) was awarded the Golden Aurora, Peng Tao’s Little Mosh (China, 2007) the Peace Prize, Abdellatif Kechiche’s The Secret of the Grain (France, 2007) the FIPRESCI Critics Prize, and Nils Gaup’s Kautokeino Rebellion (Norway, 2007) the Film Clubs Award.

    The most expensive Norwegian film ever made, Kautokeino Rebellion officially opened the festival. Shot in the style of a Western, it’s the story of the 1852 uprising of indigenous Sami people against the Evangelical Church and the injustice of the powerful. For its shooting, a studio complex with a 800 square-meter atelier was built some two hours away from Tromsö. Now intended to attract international film productions, a film law will be passed towards the end of this year to allow tax benefits. The first to enquire were there. Bavaria Head Matthias Esche and FFF Bayern’s Klaus Schäfer attended the festival’s gala opening beyond the Artic Circle.

    – Katharina Dockhorn

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