Berlinale stops premiere of Norwegian children’s film after anti-racism complaint – NRK Culture and Entertainment

Berlinale stops premiere of Norwegian children’s film after anti-racism complaint – NRK Culture and Entertainment

On Sunday, the Berlin Film Festival, also known as the Berlinale, received a complaint about children’s film “Helt super.”

Anti-racism film organization Artef (European Film Anti-Racism Task Force) believes that the film contains stereotypical representations of people of colour, According to Berlingske Tidende.

It also caused the festival to cancel the premiere of the film.

The directors tell NRK they were disappointed and did not understand the reaction.

– The film was seen by 110,000 in cinemas in Norway, and won the Audience Award during the junior edition of the Tromso International Film Festival this fall, says director of drama Ellen Alveberg at Qvisten Animation.

She says they have not gained insight into the subject matter of the complaint other than what appears.

– surprised and very disappointed

Alveberg notes that the film has been sold to more than 150 countries, including the USA.

– It happened without any feedback. Our intention was to tell a story that everyone is good enough just the way they are, she says.

The creators behind “Helt super” don’t understand the complaint.

– Are they surprised?

– surprised and very disappointed. We missed the premiere and celebration of the movie.

What do they think of how the Berlinale will handle the matter?

– You have received an invitation to participate in the contest Generations programmeAnd experience it shortly before the movie is shown. If we don’t trust the festival to stick to its choices, one will have to consider participating in Berlin in the future. The festival risks becoming irrelevant if they do not decide for themselves which films to see.

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The Berlinale’s head of communications, Frauke Greiner, wrote in an email to NRK that they had spoken to the filmmakers, the production company and the Norwegian Film Institute after receiving the letter.

After discussions with them and a meeting with Artif, I decided I needed more time on both sides to find a way to present the first point of view, Greiner writes.

– We take these concerns seriously in accordance with our ethical guidelines. We discussed with experts and wanted more feedback.

The Berlinale decided that there would be a warning text in subsequent film showings, according to Greiner.

Non-Food Items: – Nothing to warn about

Artef is an organization that will tackle institutional racism in European film.

he Supported by various film organizations. NFI has previously provided a grant to a course run by Artef.

NFI’s Kjersti Mo told NRK that she believes the way the festival has handled the issue is unsustainable.

Kjersti MO 03

NFI Director Kjersti Mo says artistic freedom and freedom of expression are under severe pressure in our time.

Photo: FRODE FJERDINGSTAD / FRODE FJERDINGSTAD

– This is a matter of principle. The film was invited and was slated for its international premiere, and there was a lot of excitement around it, she says and continued:

– We didn’t want to include the “warning text”, I think the movie stands up just fine.

She says they told the festival what they thought about the matter, and that they had long discussions with the festival.

– Artistic freedom and freedom of expression are under severe pressure in our time, and the fact that the film is shown without hindrance at a festival is important if we are to have good discussions afterwards. This also applies to children’s films.

– silly

After the decision to cancel the gala premiere, the Berlinale sent a notice to everyone who had bought tickets for a later screening of the film.

There they wrote, according to Berlingski-Tindende, that one becomes “aware that the film can be interpreted differently than the director intended, and that the film’s depiction of people of color can be seen as a stereotype”.

As for the newspaper, the Film Festival assures that they are “monitoring the situation and ready to do more if necessary”.

Virke Produsentforeningen, which organizes Norwegian production companies, also reacts strongly to the way the Berlinale behaves.

“It is worrying that a well-known festival like the Berlinale would act so disorganized and without its own integrity on such an important matter of principle as owning ownership of its own festival programming,” says Åse Kringstad, head of Virke Produsentforeningen.

Åse Kringstad is the leader of the Virke Produsentforeningen.

Åse Kringstad is the leader of the Virke Produsentforeningen.

Photo: Virke Producersforeningen

The Norwegian Producers Union say they are worried about what the film’s release means in the future, and believe the Berlinale cannot be trusted.

– This is deeply problematic from a freedom of speech perspective, and we cannot just sit back and let this happen, says Kringstad.

That the Berlinale now says it will show the film with a “warning text” also sounds ridiculous.

– stands out as a mystery

The film was released in Norway in September 2022. NRK film critic Birger Vestmo rolled the dice on four.

He says he is very interested to know the context in which the criticism is being given and what the background to the complaint actually is.

– It stands out to me as a mystery. Seeking to be overly alert here. At the same time, I’m a little nervous that I’m overlooking something a white man in his fifties just doesn’t understand. But I can’t quite fathom that there should be anything controversial about “Helt super”. It’s a funny movie for kids with a safe, recognizable theme about trusting one’s inner qualities, he says.

He adds that he believes the complaint appears to be too broad and unfounded.

Alveberg says they were disappointed in Qvisten Animation.

Berger Vestmo, film critic at NRK.

Film critic Berger Vestmo believes that the complaint against “Helt Super” is broad and without substance.

Photo: HENRIETTE DÆHLI / NRK / Henriette Dæhli

The trip to Berlin was supposed to be a nice celebration of the movie, but it wasn’t anything we were looking forward to. The festival handled this in an extraordinarily chaotic and unprofessional manner, as it was difficult to understand what this was actually about. We were supposed to be happy guests, but it just didn’t happen that way.

NRK has not yet been able to contact Artef.

In an earlier version of the case, NFIs were mentioned among the organizations they support rise up. This is not true, but the NFI did in one instance award a grant for a sponsored course rise upwhen the organization was completely new.

Ashura Okorie

Ashura Okorie

"Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert."

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