Bergen Film Festival
On Norway’s southwestern coast surrounded by mountains and fjords, is the 1000 year old city of Bergen. It’s a great mix of old and modern, brightly coloured historic wooden homes on cobble stone streets are steps away contemporary architecture and state of the art cinema’s. A renovated, full of character, waterfront sardine factory was one of the venue’s by the BIFF festival.
The Messenger was part of a program called KLIMAFESTIVALEN, a group of 8 films that all, in different ways, touched on the theme of Climate Change. In addition to two very successful public screenings, The Messenger was part of the School Program and a Master Class at the University.
BIFF also offers a robust School Program. Masterminded by Hakon Tveit they grouped three films; The Messenger, License to Krill and Racing Extinction and showed them in one day to a group of 500 high school kids. How amazing is that! I found myself wishing I was 17 again.
Some of these enthusiastic students also run the film magazine Kinosyndromet and Utenriksmagasinet MIR with Bergen Student Radio broadcast on Chagall 2100. They invited me to discuss The Messenger. I confess was expecting a typical Canadian college radio station in a basement with some basic equipment and all night music. Not so, the show was hosted live in front of an audience by two enterprising young women, in a technically sophisticated and crowded social venue. You can download the podcast here – originally broadcast – Tuesday Sept 29, 2015
The University of Bergen hosted a Masterclass in science communication titled “Get the Message Out”. The intent was to create a dialogue between the filmmakers, broadcasters and scientists with the goal of improving our ability to communicate science to a broader audience.
The kick-ass panelists were Thomas Wallner, Director of POLAR SEA 360. Me, Director of THE MESSENGER. Carina Bordewich, Acquisition Executive, NRK. Kaare Hersoug, Head of Development at Teddy TVand Øystein Jansen, Assistant Professor at the University Museum of Bergen – all of whom shared thier diverse, innovative and creative approaches.
On another level the topic felt especially important to me as a Canadian, as in recent years our scientists have been muzzled by the current government. For more on this listen to the great CBC podcast series Science Under Siege.
On another note entirely, I highly recommend a film I was fortunate to see at BIFF called Poached.
Directed by Timothy Wheeler, Poached reveals the bizarre underworld of illegal bird egg collecting. The film follows convicted egg offenders as they evade an army of bird lovers and wildlife crime police during “Operation Easter” in Britain. As the most notorious eggers begin to realize the destructiveness of their behavior, we wonder whether they ever can be redeemed and harnessed for good.
The festival has a wonderful hard working & talented team that made my brief visit a worth while experience.
Thanks to BirdLife Norway for helping to spread the word.