Norsk filminstitutt

A stunning film based on majestic music based on a mesmerizing short story based on a unique natural phenomenon

In 1980, Philip Glass wrote a piece of music inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story A Descent into the Maelstrom, which in turn was inspired by Moskenesstraumen – a unique natural phenomenon outside the Lofoten islands. In this documentary, we follow the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra to the top of the Ryten mountain where they perform Glass’ music overlooking Moskenesstraumen itself. With its powerful music and majestic landscapes, Descent Into The Maelstrom is an ode to the beauty and harsh living conditions of Northern Norway.

Production and distribution

Production Year:
2019
Production country:
Norway
Release date (national):
2019-09-30
Production company:
Beacon Isle Productions AS
Wegge Films
Financing company:
Beacon Isle Productions AS
Nordnorsk Filmsenter AS
Filmfond Nord
Executive producer:
Jan Vardøen
Producer:
Inge Wegge
Jan Vardøen
Christine E. Robsahm
Line producer:
Else-Beth Viddal
Sales agent:
Poorhouse International Ltd.

Director

  • Jan Vardøen

    Jan Vardøen is a household name in his native Norway. He is a highly profilic film director /producer, author, musician,  businessman, TV personality and restaurateur.  Born in London, grew up in Ireland. After a great deal of travelling, working as a chef, he returned to Norway and learned his Norwegian family’s trade: wooden boatbuilding. He runs his own film production company, Beacon Isle Films and is currently in production with one feature, “Oslo Copenhagen”, a TV-series called ”The revenge agency” and one documentary, Phillip Glass “Descent into the Maelstrom” based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe and the musical piece of the same name by Philip Glass.         

    The short Working Stiff was released in 2013, the feature Heart of Lightness in 2014. Autumn Fall in 2015 and House of Norway autumn 2016.

    Jan Vardøen

Awards

2019:
BIFF - Bergen International Film Festival
Best Norwegian Documentary

Festivals

2019:
BIFF - Bergen International Film Festival
2020:
TIFF - Tromsø International Film Festival
2020:
Human International Documentary Film Festival
2020:
Nordic/Docs
2021:
Krakow Film Festival

Crew

Director:
Jan Vardøen
Screenplay:
Jan Vardøen
Cinematographer:
Inge Wegge
Editor:
Mathilde Fridlund
Composer:
Philip Glass
Sound Design:
Kai Andersen
Anna Burrell Nilson
Sound Recording:
Kai Andersen
Voices:
Hallvard Holmen

Technical information

Genre:
Music
Format:
DCP 4k
Screen ratio:
1:2,35
Colour:
Colour
Sound format:
Stereo 5.1
Length in mins:
68'
Language:
English

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