The Norwegian documentary iHuman, a political thriller about Artificial Intelligence, power and social control, will have its world premiere at the documentary film festival in Amsterdam. Also featured in the festival are Once Aurora and the short Karla and Nordahl.
We are facing a silent revolution in which AI - artificial intelligence - is changing our lives and the world as a whole. Some believe AI can solve our biggest challenges, while others fear that artificial intelligence will be our downfall. Tonje Hessen Schei’s new film iHuman follows pioneers at the frontline of the AI revolution to show how the technology is developed and implemented in what may be the most powerful and exciting technology we have created. The film will now be shown to an international audience at the world’s largest documentary film festival, IDFA.
Director Tonje Hessen Schei is best known for her documentary Drone (2014), which won Norway’s national film award Amanda and the Gullruten awards for best documentary, as well as many national and international festival awards. iHuman is produced by Jonathan Borge Lie for UpNorth Film.
Life with a brother with learning difficulties
The documentary short Karla and Nordahl also receives its world premiere at this year’s festival, in the competition for Kids & Docs. The film is directed by Elisabeth Aspelin and tells the story of six-year-old Karla, who has a big brother named Nordahl, whom she considers her little brother because of his epilepsy and learning difficulties. The film follows the siblings throughout a winter, and is a very close and warm portrait of them. The film is Aspelin’s debut film; it is produced by Halvor Nitteberg for Nitteberg Film & TV.
The last Norwegian film to be screened in Amsterdam is the Once Aurora, about the pop sensation Aurora Aksnes. She was discovered at the age of 16, dropped out of school, and spent the next years touring the world. At the age of 21 she is at a breaking point. Is this really what she wants, and if not, does she have any other option but to continue? Directors Stian Servoss and Benjamin Langeland also photographed and edited the film. Benjamin had known Aurora since childhood, and this gave him and his team unique access to the artist. The film, produced by Thorvald Nilsen in Once Aurora AS, won two Gullruten-awards in Norway and was recently awarded Best Nordic Documentary at the Nordic Panorama festival.
The Norwegian documentary industry has become increasingly internationally oriented, and several co-productions by Norwegian minority producers will be shown during the festival.
Angels on Diamond Street, a film about three inspiring women fighting for social justice in an African American church in impoverished North Philadelphia, was produced by Netherland’s ZIN Documentaire and Norway’s Ten Thousand Images. The film received funding from the Fritt Ord Foundation.
Aswang is a co-production between France’s Cinematografica Films and Norway’s Stray Dogs Productions Oslo. The film is a shocking account of the unprecedented violence of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war - death squads have shot, tortured and kidnapped tens of thousands of drug users, dealers and innocent bystanders over the past years; and follows a group of people whose lives have been caught up in these events.
BirdBoy, a Danish-Norwegian co-production between Toolbox Film and Relation04 Media AS, follows 12-year-old Reshat in his love for pigeons and his desire to train them. The film received funding from the Norwegian Film Institute and Nordnorsk Filmsenter.
Fat Front tells the story of four young Scandinavian women unashamed of their big size and part of a growing fat-activism movement that supports fat women and fights for body positivity and inclusivity. It was produced by Denmark’s Hansen & Pedersen Film og Fjernsyn and Norway’s Medieoperatørene. The film received funding from the NFI.
Khartoum Offside gives an account of everyday existence in Khartoum and how tradition, politics and religion there dictate women’s lives. It was co-produced by Sudan’s ORE productions and Stray Dog Productions Oslo and Copenhagen and funded through Sørfond.
Sunless Shadows, filmed in a small juvenile detention center, steps into the world of five young Iranian women, all accomplices in the murders of their abusive husbands, fathers or brothers-in-law. Co-produceed by Carsten Aanonsen for Indie Film and funded through Sørfond.
The Look of Silence is a follow-up to Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing. It follows a family who, after viewing the previous film, discovers and confronts the former right-wing militiamen who murdered their son during Indonesia's anti-communist purges of the mid-1960s. The documentary is a co-production between Indonesia, UK, Finland and Norway’s Piraya Film. The film also received funding from Fritt Ord Foundation.
IDFA - the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam - will take place between November 20 and December 1. It is regarded as the world’s most important documentary film festival. Previous Norwegian films that have received awards from IDFA are “Nowhere to Hide”, which won the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary in 2016 and “Twin Sisters”, the winner of the Audience Award in 2013.