Norsk filminstitutt

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
Production country:
Norway
Co production country:
Sweden
Release date (national):
2013-08-20
Production company:
Skofteland Film as
Co production company:
Mantaray Film AB
Producer:
Hilde Skofteland
Ingunn H. Knudsen
Co producer:
Stina Gardell
Sales agent:
CAT&Docs

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.

    Gunhild Westhagen Magnor

Awards

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
2014:
Nordisk Panorama
Audience Award
2014:
DocsMX International Documentary Film Festival of Mexico City
Audience Award for Best Feature-length Documentary
2015:
Würzburg International Film Weekend
Audience Award - Documentary Film
2015:
Festival 2 Cinéma Valenciennes
Audience Award
2015:
Brussels European FICTS Sports Film Festival
Lauréat dans la catégorie « Le sport au féminin »
2015:
Milano International FICTS Festival
Honorable Mention

Festivals

2013:
The Norwegian International Film Festival Haugesund
2014:
Göteborg International Film Festival
2014:
DocPoint - Helsinki Documentary Film Festival
2014:
Tempo Documentary Festival
2014:
Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival
2014:
Titanic International Film Festival
2014:
The Norwegian Documentary Film Festival
2014:
Visions du Réel, Nyon
2014:
International Filmfest Emden-Norderney
2014:
Nordic/Docs
2014:
Brave Festival
2014:
Nordisk Panorama
2014:
Film Festival for Womens Rights, Korea
2014:
DocsMX International Documentary Film Festival of Mexico City
2014:
Nordic Film Days Lübeck
2014:
Northern Film Festival, Leeuwarden
2014:
European Film Forum Scanorama
2014:
Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival
2014:
Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival
2014:
Filmfest Coast Mediale
2014:
Cinéma Vérité - Iran International Documentary Film Festival
2015:
Nordic Lights Film Festival in Seattle
2015:
Scandinavian Film Festival Los Angeles
2015:
Würzburg International Film Weekend
2015:
FIFE - International Environmental Film Festival
2015:
FrauenFilmTage
2015:
Salem Film Fest
2015:
Festival 2 Cinéma Valenciennes
2015:
Transilvania International Film Festival
2015:
Brussels European FICTS Sports Film Festival
2015:
Milano International FICTS Festival
2015:
European Film Festival in Göttingen

Crew

Director:
Gunhild Westhagen Magnor
Screenplay:
Gunhild Westhagen Magnor
Cinematographer:
Gunhild Westhagen Magnor
Editor:
Jo Eldøen
Robert Stengård
Composer:
Stefan Nilsson
Hanne Tveter
Sound Design:
Svenn Jakobsen

Technical information

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

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