Long Term Projects – Documentary film 2004–2009

Documentary film 2004–2009

Incakola Productions:
“Smaken av hund” (The taste of dog) (2007)
(“Good Norwegian – power, food and public opinion”)
The Freedom of Expression Foundation was established on 7 June 1974 to promote freedom of expression and democratic trends in Norwegian cultural and community life. Through project support, prizes and grants, the Foundation has strived to achieve that goal for 30 years. As a link in the celebration of its 30th anniversary in 2004, the Foundation increased the parameters of its production support for television documentaries. The Freedom of Expression Foundation made a total of MNOK 12 available for programmes designed to provoke public debate.

An independent jury, consisting of Film Director Maria Fuglevaag Warsinski (chair), Lecturer Nazneen Khan-Østrem, Professor Bjørn Sørenssen and Dean Malte Wadman, has assessed the applications and arrived at a final result.

The jury's statement:

The Freedom of Expression Foundation received 101 applications for production support for television documentaries on current social issues. The jury's quest has been for documentaries that meet ambitious genre requirements and may potentially contribute to the public debate. The applications varied considerably in scope and quality. Of the projects submitted, the jury identified eight documentary projects that merit funding: 5 TV series and 3 documentary films. The jury selected projects that address a broad range of relevant contemporary topics at the national and international levels. Emphasis was also attached to the projects' creative approach and originality. In the opinion of the jury, the winning projects are all well-suited as contributions to debates about conditions in Norway and the rest of the world.


Folk Flest Filmproduksjon: “Å Herregud!” (Oh my God!) (2008)
Directed by: Gunnar Hall Jensen
Produced by: Ørjan Karlsen
Format: Series
Production support grant: NOK 2 200 000

The documentary film project “Oh my God!” aims at presenting the world religions' diversity, distinctive natures and issues through a personal journey. The Norwegian director Gunnar Hall Jensen and the Swedish journalist Sören Wibeck embarked on a journey to explore the everyday religiosity underlying the many serious religion-generated conflicts in societies today and in times past. The project is characterised by insight and originality, and offers a new, more provocative angle of approach to this issue than what is usual in the mass media. The strongly subjective point of view (as seen in the film “Gunnar Goes Comfortable”) will help make encounters with different ways of practising religion interesting and dynamic, and it may also help generate debate with a view to both form and content.

Incakola Productions: “Smaken av hund” (The taste of dog) (2007) (“Good Norwegian – power, food and public opinion”)
Directed by: Are Syvertsen and Jon Martin Førland
Produced by: Are Syvertsen and Jon Martin Førland
Format: Individual documentary
Production support grant: NOK 1 000 000

In an original, refreshing manner, the project focuses on a powerful Norwegian industry that has long evaded critical attention. The jury is convinced the film will help generate debate about the quality of Norwegian food at a time when international players are in the process of moving into Norway, where they are encountering considerable resistance from national powers-that-be. The project sheds light on the old Norwegian myths about 'Good Norwegian' being best. It also challenges a well-known protectionist attitude regarding Norwegian products. The jury believes this documentary will capture the interest of Norwegian consumers when it comes to the power held by the agricultural industry and the ways in which attitudes are shaped.

Medieoperatørene: “The Interview – behind closed doors at the Directorate of Immigration (UDI)” (2006) (“As truthful as possible”)
Directed by: Charlotte Røhder Tvedt
Produced by: Øyvind Rostad
Format: Individual documentary
Production support grant: NOK 900 000

Medieoperatørene (The Media Operators) were given a unique opportunity to work 'freely' on a documentary film in the Asylum Department at UDI. The documentary film will monitor the progress of asylum cases behind closed doors and will thereby also provide insight into asylum-seekers' encounters with Norway's immigration bureaucracy as well as case officers' rough workdays. The film will give the public more general knowledge about political and bureaucratic processes, and thus provide a glimpse into a real-life situation that has largely remained behind closed doors until now. The jury is also convinced that the project will exercise the discretion required by such a delicate topic, at the same time as it will provoke debate about the entire process to which asylum-seekers are subjected and the difficult tasks facing case workers on a daily basis.

Panopticon: “The Future of Water” (2007)
Directed by: Anders Taylor Larsen
Produced by: Erik Hannemann and Tove Gravdal
Format: Series
Production support grant: NOK 600 000

The documentary series “The Future of Water” discusses the world's water resources based on a manuscript written by Professor Terje Tvedt of the University of Bergen. While the volume of water available is constant, the need for water is on the rise the world over. Financial short-sightedness in this area can lead to ecological disasters, at the same time as the struggle for control over and the distribution of water resources are increasingly causing national and international conflicts. The project is an independent sequel to the TV series “A voyage through the history of water”, which attracted international interest. The project proposal is characterised by good subject-related knowledge communicated in a 'catchy' visual manner. Complex causalities are presented in a manner that makes correlations clear without resorting to simplifications.

Relation04 Media: “Reindrift i kamp” (Reindeer at War) (2006) 
Directed by: Svein Andersen and Karl E. Rikardsen
Produced by: Karl E. Rikardsen
Format: Series
Production support grant: NOK 1 200 000

This film project highlights the classic conflict between David and Goliath – the Sami versus the Norwegian Armed Forces and NATO. The living conditions and basis for existence of a vulnerable people are being jeopardised by military interests. The project describes a traditional community that is in the process of fading away. In a sensitive, individual and cinematically striking manner, the Sami philosophy of life and basis for existence are showcased, at the same time as we see how the military establishment is eating its way into Sami grazing grounds. The project's strength lies in its ability to depict a microcosm that embraces a classic conflict on a more global level. In addition, the film shows the ecological consequences of this drama. The jury believes the film project has international potential.

Snitt Film Production: “My Daughter the Terrorist” (2007)
Director: Beate Arnestad
Produced by: Morten Daae
Format: Individual documentary
Production support grant: NOK 1 000 000

The film project “My daughter the terrorist” can potentially unveil knowledge about why young people are willing to die for a cause. The film follows a female guerrilla soldier in Sri Lanka. With this project, the film-makers have managed to gain access to an environment that has largely been unavailable to the media. The film provides knowledge of a conflict in which Norway is deeply involved, and it has the potential to serve as a platform for further debate.

Speranza Film: “Modern Slavery” (2009)
Directed by: Thomas Robsahm and Tina Davis
Produced by: Thomas Robsahm and Margreth Olin
Format: Series
Production support grant: NOK 3 000 000

In spite of the UN's Human Rights Convention, millions of people the world over are still forced to live their lives as slaves. As opposed to direct slavery, which is now recognised as illegal all over the world, modern-day slavery is characterised by the short-term exploitation of people for financial gain. Slavery is supported by corrupt governments, multinational corporations and ultimately, intentionally or unintentionally, by consumers of goods and services based on different types of forced labour. This project will arouse debate about the world's significant poverty problems and the exploitation of weak groups. Slavery has not been eradicated, but it has changed shape. The series is intended not only to present misery in the form of forced labour, trafficking, forced marriage, extreme child labour and commercial sexual exploitation of children, but it will also contribute to consciousness-raising and suggest methods for putting an effective end to slavery.

Subrosa Film: “The Ice Cold War” (2009)
Directed by: Anne Berit Vestby
Produced by: Anne Berit Vestby
Format: Series
Production support grant: NOK 2 100 000

The increase in organised crime is a relevant and dangerous topic that the jury feels it is important to illuminate. By directing attention to organised crime, this film project can serve as an important instrument in the struggle to counteract this trend. The topic is not only an international, but also a national challenge. White-collar crime is flowing freely across national frontiers, featuring widespread cynical trade in drugs, human beings and weapons. In selecting suitable projects, the jury attached importance to film projects that explored topics in a particularly clever, insightful and courageous fashion.