Norsk filminstitutt

Camilla Strøm Henriksen’s first feature named ”a courageous debut” at North America’s most important film festival. 

Norwegian writer-director Camilla Strøm Henriksen’s feature debut, Phoenix (Føniks), received an Honourable Mention at the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival, considered the most important in North America, which ended on 16 September. Phoenix was screening in the Discovery Section (for New Talent), and the jury found it was ”a courageous debut .”

Visually arresting and emotionally nuance

”A visually arresting and emotionally nuanced film, Phoenix focuses on a young teen who assumes an enormous burden of responsibility in the face of her mother’s mental illness and her father’s absence. With a seamless blend of stark realism and cinematic magic realism, Henriksen’s story subtly, yet powerfully, unfolds from the perspective of her mature young protagonist,” the jury explained.

The Audentia Award for Best Female Director was presented by The Festival and the Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund.
The jury was comprised of Anne Frank, Reinaldo Marcus Green, and Kerri Craddock.

Partly based on her own real-life experiences, Strøm Henriksen’s  feature debut is the story of 14-year-old Jill, who has for a long time been the responbile adult in her small family, caring for her mentally unstable mother and her eight-year-old brother.

From the children`s perspective

 "I primarily wanted to make a film about those children who, on one hand, have to take on the adult role too early, and, on the other, do not have the needs fulfilled they have as children. I wanted to show it from the children's perspective, without demonising the adults, "says Henriksen.

Phoenix will be premiered in Norway on 12 October. – The Norwegian selection for Toronto included Tuva Novotny’s Blind Spot (Blindsone) and Bobbie Peers’ short, To Plant a Flag. Also UK director Paul Greengrass’ 22 July, about the 22 July, 2011, attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utøya, and backed by the Norwegiasn Film Institute, was among the 300 films presented at the festival.

See interview with director and writer Camilla Strøm Henriksen here