Mellom Oss: A portrait of today’s Norway

Photo courtesy of Filmprosjektet Mellom Oss / The Film Project Between Us

Photo courtesy of Filmprosjektet Mellom Oss / The Film Project Between Us

Molly Jones
The Norwegian American

“What does your world look like? Can you film it?” asks Mellom Oss, Norway’s first documentary film to invite all Norwegians to become filmmakers.

Mellom Oss, which translates to “Between Us,” will be made entirely of videos submitted by Norwegians. The project started accepting videos in April and as of the beginning of June had received around 400 video submissions.

The documentary is directed by Charlotte Røhder Tvedt and produced by Mari Monrad Vistven of Medieoperatørene, who hope that Mellom Oss will help Norwegians relate to each other while creating an untraditional portrait of this changing society.

While people are sharing more and more through social media, they ask if this actually helps the community get to know each other better or if it instead leads to more isolation. Through Mellom Oss, they encourage participants to share things they wouldn’t normally share—their secrets, wishes, processes, important places or memories, conversations with people special to them, or simply everyday moments—anything that allows them to share their own perspectives with others.

To learn more about the intriguing project and the inspiration behind it, I was able to get in touch with the director, Charlotte Røhder Tvedt, and ask her a few questions.

Molly Jones: What inspired you to start the Mellom Oss project?

Charlotte Røhder Tvedt: After the death of a close relative, my need for new perspectives arose. I often meet people with an assumption that is not necessarily true. Most of the time I don’t ask to find out if I’m wrong; I just assume. But in a state of grief and loss of close relationships, I wondered how well my own assumptions serve me. In a way my skepticism towards other people doesn’t do me any good. Instead it makes me feel isolated.

Photo courtesy of Filmprosjektet Mellom Oss / The Film Project Between Us Charlotte Røhder Tvedt, director.

Photo courtesy of Filmprosjektet Mellom Oss / The Film Project Between Us
Charlotte Røhder Tvedt, director.

How do other people view the time we live in? How do people do things? I want to see different perspectives on life and to reflect on my own.

We are living in a time that is changing globally, digitally, and environmentally: more individualism and less community. All of this can be good, at least it’s not necessarily bad, but it challenges the community either way. It challenges the feeling of belonging, which is so important for a community to work… I think people are very different, now more than ever.We need to get to know each other. This film is a community project told by individuals.

This has not been done before in Norway, but many films have already used the same method, collecting images from people through interactive tools. Films like Ridley Scott’s Life in a Day (2011) and Britain in a Day (2012) inspire us. Mellom Oss is going to be a stream of consciousness kind of film, where we pass through many people’s thoughts and days in Norway and also follow some characters from the beginning to the end.

Together, we will tell a story about our time, our thoughts, and the things we do; in there the stories between us are told.

MJ: What do you hope to achieve with Mellom Oss?

CRT: A feeling of togetherness. Everybody that contributes with a film is a filmmaker in this project and a part of the team. The viewer will experience exotic stories in a well-known frame, which I believe will make it easier to relate to.
I hope it makes people want to say hello or ask questions instead of making assumptions. The feeling of other humans’ non-perfectness can make us all relax.

Røhder Tvedt is hopeful that this project will help bring Norwegians together and transform feelings of isolation and judgment into a sense of community.

Mellom Oss is accepting submissions through July 1. The film will now be edited and released in 2017. Following the exclusive cinema release open to everyone who submitted a video, Mellom Oss will be screened on Aftenposten TV, where everyone in Norway can view it for free.

To learn more about the Mellom Oss project, visit www.mellomossfilm.no.

This article originally appeared in the July 1, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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