Friday, 20 January 2012

Bridges, Mountains

Walk across the Bruvegen Bridge, over the Norwegian Sea. To the north, you can see the sun for the few hours in the day that it is above the horizon. There is no "day" here, only a glimpse of the sun. To the south, frozen mountains.

Below you, ships are waiting to be repaired in the freezing water. The water is crystal clear. I remember diving in while in Svalbard. My hands froze in pain and then numbness in three and a half minutes. 

A video loop in the Arctic Museum reminds us that there are no wild Polar Bears in mainland northern Norway. The beautiful project "Nanoq: Flat Out And Bluesome" hunted and documented all the stuffed Polar Bears in the UK.

Somehow, I find it hard to believe the ships in the museum actually made it to the Arctic. They look too small:

We spend our day in workshops, deconstructing and reconstructing our poor, struggling, starving film ideas. I tried to set my film in 2044, it didn't work. I still like the idea of "a documentary shot in the future" We hear about Visionary Violence and Norway's solitary, mesmerising space odyssey.

Is this city in stasis during winter months? I can no longer follow day and night, only looking at my watch tells me where I am and what I should be doing (eating? Sleeping? Waking up? Feeling tired?)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Tromso Black Ice

Tromso is the northernmost film festival in the world. It has a lot of superlatives. Most wooden houses in Norway. Highest suicide rate in the world. Northernmost city in the world. Northernmost mosque in the world. Northernmost university in the world. If you build something significant here, chances are it will be the northernmost of that thing in the world.

But I have beaten Tromso at its own game. I have used the world's northernmost ATM and it's not in Tromso.

Never mind. The Tromso International Film Festival is on.

 Mar and I are here to pitch There Will Be Some Who Will Not Fear Even That Void. It is a semi-fictional, science fiction documentary - an ecological film for the 21st century, part expedition document, part meditation on mankind's relationship to nature, part surreal art experiment, part love-letter to the Arctic, part impressionistic examination of loss.

It features several of my good friends and radical thinkers. It features the incredible landscape of the Norwegian Arctic. It features a stuffed Polar Bear and a silver inflatable whale.

Tromso is an island, so don't think of using the water as a navigation tool, it will only confuse you. There is invisible black ice on the roads, but despite rumours it isn't that cold. The cheapest meal costs £15.00  

Herzog's Into The Abyss plays at 11pm. It is simple, messy, beautiful and tragic. He never cares about aesthetics. He is more removed here than in other films. He is quieter and more respectful. Burkett's father is heartbreaking, and perhaps the most honest person in the film. The cinema seats are very comfortable:

Tomorrow, there might be a boat museum that we need to visit in the city before more screenings and the first meeting with the rest of the Below Zero group. Norway loves its boat museums.

This image wasn't taken in Norway, but I liked it so I've included it here: