For the first time, the Norwegian Oscar Committee has selected a documentary film - Songs of Earth - as Norway's submission for the Best International Feature Film Academy Award.
Announcing its decision at a press conference in Oslo on September 22, the Norwegian Oscar Committee described Songs of Earth as a meditative portrayal of Norwegian nature and a father closely tied to this landscape. It is an existential and heartfelt documentary that shows how nature is threatened by climate change, while also depicting the passage of generations.
This is the first time a documentary film has been selected as the Norwegian entry to the Best International Feature Film category.
Written, directed and produced by Olin
Director, screenwriter and producer Margreth Olin’s Songs of Earth (Fedrelandet) had its world premiere this year at CPH:Dox, won an award at the Krakow Film Festival and was screened at the film festivals in Toronto and Haugesund, Nordic Panorama and several US festivals.
– Through breathtaking images, Songs of Earth portrays both the power and fragility of nature. Offering a close-up view of life in Oldedalen, the film speaks to a wide audience, across generations and national boundaries. Songs of Earth has had an impressive start at festivals around the world, with strong reviews and passionate feedback from viewers, says Kjersti Mo, CEO of the Norwegian Film Institute and head of the Norwegian Oscar committee.
– Being the Norwegian Oscar Entry is an immense joy for my father and me, as well as my talented team of great artists, and our international co-producers, distributors, international sales agent, and supporters, says Songs of Earth director and producer Margreth Olin.
– Songs of Earth has been picked up for distribution in several countries and continues its worldwide festival tour. With this decision, we will now be running for an Oscar in two categories, best international film and best feature documentary. We will do our utmost to get nominated, says Olin.
Committee work: From shortlist to submission
The Norwegian Oscar Committee, consisting of seven representatives from the industry organizations, the Film Critics Association, and the Norwegian Film Institute, determines which film is submitted for the Best International Feature Film Academy Award.
The committee first presented a shortlist of three films: A Happy Day, Ellos eatnu - Let the River Flow, and Songs of Earth.
Subsequently, the producers and directors of the three films presented their Oscar campaign plans to the committee. Based on the presentation, the committee decided that Songs of Earth has an Oscar campaign plan and an experienced team that, along with the film's qualities, has the potential to elevate the film to the Oscar shortlist and subsequent nomination.
The Norwegian Oscar Committee 2023
Norwegian Film Institute: Kjersti Mo, CEO
Norwegian Film Critics Association: Øyvor Dalan Vik, film critic
Norwegian Actors’ Union: Jan Erik Madsen, actor
Norwegian Film Directors Association: Maria Sødahl, director
Virke, Norwegian Producers Association: Christian Fredrik Martin, producer
Writers’ Guild of Norway: Mette M. Bølstad, screenwriter
Norwegian Film Workers Union: Bobbie E.G. Pertan, editor
Previous Norwegian Nominees for Best International Feature Film Award
The Worst Person in the World (Verdens verste menneske, 2022)
The Other Side of Sunday (Søndagsengler, 1996)
The Pathfinder (Veiviseren, 1987)
Nine Lives (Ni Liv, 1957)
The King's Choice (Kongens nei) made the Academy's shortlist in 2016
Hope (Håp) made the Academy's shortlist in 2021.