The first guest AMIFF presents is director Knut Andersen, born in Harstad in 1931 and raised here, and with 14 feature films and numerous television productions from a long and strong career. The festival showcases some of his films, and he will talk about his childhood in Harstad, and his career. Some clips Andersen filmed while living in Harstad as a youngster will be shown – unique archive material from Harstad in the 1940s!
Commendable, socially engaged veteran
Knut Andersen have received the highest recognized Norwegian awards within the film industry: the Aamot statuette in 1976 and Amanda Committee Honorary Award at the Norwegian film festiaval in Haugesund in 2007.
The festival will show two feature films of Andersen; “Scourched Earth” and "The summer I turned 15," and the short film "There once was a fishing village" set in the Northern Norwegian village Nyksund. The films show a breadth of his work, from war film to coming-of-age drama and art film. They demonstrate a commitment to social issues, which make the movies time witnesses.
War portrayal from the north
"Scourched Earth" from 1969 is one of the films that are closest to the heart of Andersen. This is the very first account through film, of the burning of big areas of the most northern part of Norway by the Nazis during World War 2, and the consequences it had for individuals and entire communities where both town and country was laid waste. Like many families in the rest of Northern Norway at the time, the Andersens had refugees from further north living in their homes. The war made a big impression on Andersen, and for him it was important to make a film that brought up this part of the history of Northern Norway. To date there are made considerably more films about what happened in southern parts of Norway during World War 2, than what happened in Northern Norway. AMIFF aims to bring stories of the north to the forefront, and therefore the movie fits well into the programme of the festival.
New gender roles in the 70s
"The summer I turned 15" (1976) is an adaptation of the novel by Norwegian author Knut Faldbakken; "Insect Summer." It is a portrayal of a young boy's sexual awakening, with a parallel story about a cold man who is oppressive to women. The film can be seen in the context of women's liberation struggle which took place in the 70s, and it’s connected sexual liberation and men's new role in society.
Depopulation of the fringes of Norway
"There once was a fishing village" (1978) is an experimental short film through the sound of the past, and pictures from contemporary decay, evoking memories of the Northern Norwegian fishing village Nyksund - and the many other deserted fishing villages along the coast in the 70s. Depopulation of northern Norway was a topical debate at the time, and continues to be so today. The film stands out in terms of the rest of the films Andersen made. This is one of two films he made with his wife, Nicole Macé. The film was shown at the international and prestigious short film festival Oberhausen shortly after it came out.
A man with a warm heart
Andersen announced that it pleases him greatly to be invited back to Harstad, to this first edition of a film festival in his home town. After the festival director Helene Hokland discovered by chance that we have such a great film director from Harstad, she had great and long talks with Andersen. Andersen is an incredibly warm person and has a lot to give to its numerous memories of a long and rich life. That film director is a warm person is repeated in many of the character sketches his collaborators have written about Andersen, including a magazine published by the Norwegian Film Institute in connection with his 70-year anniversary in 2001. His great ability to get the best out of amateur actors have been explained with his good-heartedness. For example, he received great praise for performances by youngsters who played the main characters in the movie "The summer I turned 15," and that will be shown at the festival.