The Optimists (Optimistene)

Despite their weekly training sessions the volleyball ladies THE OPTIMISTS (66-98) have not played a match for 30 years. Now this is exactly the plan. But against whom? Rumours say there is a group of handsome Swedish gentlemen across the border. Goro (98) is the Queen of the team with her will power and purple Converse shoes. Laughter is their match strategy.

Many of us fear age. Maybe these ball playing ladies will change our ideas.

The Optimists is a moving, humorous and absorbing documentary film about an extraordinary volleyball team in Hamar town, consisting of ladies between 66 and 98 years of age. Even though the team has been training once a week for 40 years, it has not played a single game the last 30 years. Now they have decided they would finally like to play a game. But who would they play against? Maybe they can find a team of handsome men in the neighbouring village Brumunddal? Or do they have to go to Sweden to find a worthy opponent?

Goro, 98, is the queen of the team. With her willpower, joy of life and pink Converse shoes, she is the incarnation of the team's philosophy of life. But the challenges of old age also affect Goro. Loneliness and yearning often knock on her door. On those occasions, it's imperative to fight her way through the challenges and set new goals for herself.

The film follows her and the team - in everyday life and on the court - from when they decide to play one last game, through their preparations, and until the game finally takes place. - And soon the strategy is clear: Laughter, training, team spirit, crochet flowers, and maybe a few handsome Swedish gentlemen?

Production and distribution

Production Year
2013
Country of origin
Norway
Release date (national)
2013-08
Production Company
Skofteland Film as
Nyveien 26 A
3470 Slemmestad
Producer
Hilde Skofteland
Ingunn H. Knudsen
Co-producer
Stina Gardell
Co-production Company
Mantaray Film AB
Co-production Country
Sweden
Festival Contact
NFI Documentaries
International sales
CAT&Docs

Crew

Director
Gunhild Westhagen Magnor
Screenplay
Gunhild Westhagen Magnor
DoP
Gunhild Westhagen Magnor
Editor
Robert Stengård
Jo Eldøen
Sound Designer
Svenn Jakobsen

Technical information

Format
DCP 2k
Screen ratio
16:9
Colour
Colour
Sound format
Stereo 5.1
Length in min's
90'
Language
Norwegian
Swedish
Subtitles
English

Director

Gunhild Westhagen Magnor

Director and DOP Gunhild Westhagen Magnor (b. 1976) studied at Surrey Institute of Art and Design. Her recent documentary series were both nominated for Best Documentary Series in Norway 2011; Karanba (NRK, YLE) and Thaifjord 2 (TV Norge). Previous works includes numerous audience favorites, like the doc series Thaifjord 1 (Winner of the TV prize Gullruten 2008, TV Norge/SVT), and her single docs Rabbit King (2007 NRK/Krakow Int. Film Festival), Wings under Water (2005 NRK), Norwegian Wood (TV2) and The Day of The Dead, (Rain Dance international film festival, 2001). She has shot the theatrical doc Nemesis (2006), was nominated for Best Cinematography for Songs from the Street (Audience Award, Norwegian Doc Festival/ Krakow Int. Film Festival). She has worked as 2nd unit on several major Norwegian fiction features.

Prizes

2013
The Norwegian International Film Festival, Haugesund: The Ray of Sunshine
2014
Kanon Award for Best Editing
2014
International Filmfest Emden-Norderney: The AOK Award
Norwegian documentaries

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