Northern characters united in Murmansk

The Northern Character festival was ended with an award ceremony, celebrating the best contributions to the festival. Photo: Jonas Karlsbakk

MURMANSK: Film producers from all over the Barents Region gathered in Murmansk last week to share their work and unite journalists of the Northern countries.


In a four day TV-festival, hosted by Murmansk TV-channel TV21, journalists from all four Barents countries gathered in Murmansk to view, discuss and learn about TV-media. It was all summed up in the big finale on Thursday with an award ceremony for the festival contributions.

Northern Character 2011Grand prix award
The winner of the main award, “The Grand Prix” price was the Norwegian director Knut Erik Jensen for his documentary “The acute man”. A documentary which is a portrait of the work and life of the Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, who worked as a doctor in Gaza during the Israeli attacks there in 2009. It is not solely about the work he did in Gaza, but more on the numerous aspects of Gilbert’s life.

Director Knut Erik Jensen from Norway won two prices on the festival, and among them the main prize of the festival. The Grand Prix Prize. Photo: Jonas Karlsbakk

- This award is a confirmation that I have done a good job. I believe this is the most important work I have done over the last years, says Jensen.

In total there where more than 150 contributions to the festival, in categories varying from children shows and culture programs, to short reports and news programs.

Fourth time
Northern Character was held for the fourth time and has become a very important meeting place for media people working with TV in the Barents Region. The wide variety of contributions from all four nations shows also that it is a festival which has become acknowledged by the media.

On Tuesday and Wednesday different contributions to the competitions were shown all through the day. In between there were also held seminars on key issues for producers in the north.

During the festival there was also a debate on media’s handling of the “anti-heros” in society. With the bomb in Oslo and the following massacre on the youth camp this summer as a background, it was important to evaluate on how TV-media has been reporting from the tragedy. The debate displayed some of the differences between medias in the Barents countries.

Northern Character 2011
The Media Forum focused on how media reports from tragic events and how the “anti-heros” who are responsible for such massacres are displayed. (Photo: Jonas Karlsbakk)

Main categories winners:
Festival Grand prix:
Knut Erik Jensen, Nordkappfilm, Norway, “The Acute Man”

Best documentary:
Ville Suhonen, Illume OY, Finland, ”Frozen Hell – Prisoners of War in Finland 1941-42”

Best news program:
Erkki Määttänen Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, Finland, “Rubens from the North”

Best TV-program:
Peter von Bagh, Nosferatu Oy, Finland, “Sodankylа Forever”

Best children&youth program:
Magnus Fredriksson, Bortbyting AB, Sweden, “Lukas’ Dad is not a Rabbit”

Best short report:
Information Agency “Port Amur”, Russia, “Evenki”

Best short fiction:
Robert Lundmark, Magnus Johansson, Botnia Film, Sweden, “The winner is Weightless”

Best news program:
TV – 21 News, Russia, “Tragedy in Oslo”


Special prizes:
Best camera:
Corto Fajal, Jokkmokk Sami kompania, Sweden, “Jon – Facing The Winds”

Best editing:
Kelly Saxberg, National Film Board of Canada, “Letters from Karelia”

Best use of material:
Knut Erik Jensen, Nordkappfilm, Norway, “The Church is an old Institution”

Most experimental work:
Concept laboratory GoofyCrew, Russia, “Tutosh”

TV21’s special prize:
Valentina Svensson, “Dangerous Russian women”

Northern Character 2011
Norwegian Maria Bock presented her internationally award winning short film “Skallamann” on the festival. It is an energetic musical focusing on that each and everyone must be just the way you would like to be and love whom ever you love. (Photo: Jonas Karlsbakk)