Jorunn Myklebust Syversen's new feature film Disco is invited to the New Director’s competition in San Sebastian. The main prize is € 50,000 for the director and the film's Spanish distributor, and a jury of 300 young people will award the best youth film.

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Josefine Frida Pettersen in Disco. Photo: Jørgen Nordby, Mer Film

The 67th San Sebastian International Film Festival runs from September 20-28, 2019. Disco is Jorunn Myklebust Syversen's second feature film, after The Tree Feller (Hoggeren, 2017), which was nominated for two Amandas - the national film awards - and praised by Norwegian film critics.

About faith, and how religion affects us

 - I am very pleased that Disco has been invited to the New Directors competition in San Sebastian. It's a fantastic setting for the film's first meeting with the audience. I want Disco to contribute to discussions and conversations about belief and how religion affects us, says director and screenwriter Jorunn Myklebust Syversen.

About Disco

On the surface, everything seems perfect. 19-year-old Mirjam is the stepdaughter of the charismatic pastor of an evangelical movement called The Freedom. As a world champion in disco freestyle dancing and leader of the youth group in the congregation, Mirjam is the pride of the church. Whilst defending her world title, she collapses on stage. This makes her start to question her faith. Her family's solution is for her to be a better believer. Mirjam tries, but her body continues to fail her. Frustrated by the feeling of not being seen and in search of answers, she is drawn to a stricter, more conservative congregation. Secretly she leaves for their summer camp.

Josefine Frida Pettersen in the lead

 Josefine Frida Pettersen, known from the drama series Skam, makes a strong feature film debut in the lead role. In the other roles, we find the actors Nicolai Cleve Broch, Kjærsti Odden Skjeldal, Andrea Bræin Hovig and Espen Klouman Høiner.

Recognition of a director’s talent

- This is a huge recognition of the film and Jorunn's talent. San Sebastian is one of the most important film festivals in the world and is a festival I, as a movie lover and audience, have visited many times. Finally, having produced a movie that gets its premiere here is great, says producer Maria Ekerhovd of Mer Film.

San Sebastian Film Festival

San Sebastian's New Directors section is recognized for being the place to discover new, exciting directors of the first or second time feature films. The main prize is € 50,000 for the film's director and Spanish distributor. The films also compete for the youth award from a jury consisting of 300 youth aged 18-25.

Norwegian films at the festival

Together (Matias Armand Jordal / 2009), Sons (Erik Richter Strand / 2006) and Uno (Aksel Hennie / 2004) have all competed in the New Director competition. Norwegian actress Pia Tjelta won the Best Actress Award for her role in Blind Spot (Tuva Novotny) in the main competition in San Sebastian last year.

Financing and launch

Disco has received € 680,000 in production grants from the Norwegian Film Institute and is produced by Maria Ekerhovd for Mer Film. The film is distributed by Mer Film Distribution and will open in Norwegian cinemas on October 4. 

International sales

Warsaw-based New Europe Film Sales has picked up international rights to Jorunn Myklebust Syversen’s Norwegian drama Disco.