EUROFILMER
Europäischer Autorenkreis für Film und Video e. V.
European Film & Video Makers Circle

Amateur film in Norway – second part

As many of you will have understood, my article in the last issue of Eurofilmer Digital was not new. Actually, it was written and printed in Der Eurofilmer some 15 years ago. In this article I will tell something about the development since the first article was published.

In some ways, the situation is the same. There are still many creative young filmmakers, but most of them are not in clubs or federation. They form their own small groups and workshops. There are also still many older video amateurs, and there are clubs for these, with meetings not least about technique. The number of these traditional clubs is going down, but the number of filmers is probably increasing.

As in other countries, the technical development of smartphones has led to a decrease in the sale of video cameras. The sales figures for video cameras in Norway went down with almost 50 % from 2015 to 2016, and further down until now. The sale of smart phones, on the contrary, of course goes up.

The organised Norwegian amateur film culture has undergone great changes. The most important is that the Norwegian amateur film and video federation has ceased to exist. However, the most vital video clubs have got a new home in The Norwegian Society for Photography. This is a huge organisation with 4000 members in more than 120 clubs (and a few members who are not affiliated to any club). Some 8 to 10 clubs are for video makers, so we are a small minority with approximately 150-200 members.

The Society (as we call it for short) has taken over the responsibility for the Norwegian amateur film championship. However, this competition is now open only to members of the Society. Contrary to how it is in many other countries – and in the EAK – non-members cannot participate. In my opinion, this is a pity, as allowing non-members to the championship could help to recruit new members. However, the rules imply that also the still photographers who are members of the Society, can participate in the championship if they make videos. They are, as you have seen, several thousands. Few of them take part in the video championship, however, but it happens from time to time. It is my hope that more and more photographers will turn to video in the future.

There have been great changes in the international connections for Norwegian amateur filmmakers, some positive and some negative. When I wrote my first article, there existed an Eurofilmforum in Oslo, which sent several good films to the Eurofilmfestival. It was organized by Oslo Kamera Klubb. Unfortunately, this forum ceased to exist about 10 years ago. The reason for this is unclear, but the consequence was that for some years there were no Norwegian films in the Eurofilmfestival at all. This is better now, In the 3 last years you have seen films from leading Norwegian authors, like Terje Idsø, Per Øgland and the club in Bergen, in the Eurofilmfestival. A revival of the Eurofilmforum in Oslo, however, is not very likely.

Norway is now also a member of the UNICA and send films and delegates there. We are unfortunately not doing as well in UNICA as our Swedish neighbours. The regional international video festivals, with participants from Norway and our neighbouring countries, have ceased to exist. Up to the beginning of this century there were two such festivals. One of them was the Nordic festival, with participation from Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and occasionally Iceland. The other was the Baltic festival, with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and occasionally St. Petersburgand occasionally the Nordic countries. Neither the Nordic nor the Baltic festival exist anymore, but the Estonian federation has established a big and successful festival where Norwegians often take part.

More Norwegian authors should send their films abroad. They should also travel more. I see it as a task for me to get more Norwegian films in the Eurofilmfestival, and hopefully also more Norwegian authors travelling there.

Jon Gisle