Film festivals: the ultimate destination

Photos by Nils Wanberg. Kon-Tiki directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg with Thor Heyerdahl’s book The Tigris Expedition.

Featuring photos of the Kon-Tiki cast and crew at the Scandinavian Film Festival in Los Angeles, Calif.

Larrie Wanberg

N.D. Contributing Editor

An epic film attached to a location or an event in history is said to be the greatest draw to attract droves of tourists to relive the story or be in proximity with celebrities in the performing arts.

Travel and tourism industry is the world’s largest service-sector industry and the film industry, especially film festivals, is becoming the most exciting appeal for destinations that combine stories of culture, history and sheer entertainment.

Trends in cinematic storytelling have evolved from an interesting history, dating back to the 1932 when the first major film festival was held in Venice, Italy. Early American films from the 1920s generally exported films into the International marketplace, while importing foreign films developed in the mid 1950s.

Photos by Nils Wanberg. Tobias Santelmann portrayed Knut Haugland in Kon-Tiki. He is interviewed by NRK.

Photos by Nils Wanberg. Kon-Tiki star Pål Sverre Hagen also attended the film festival.

These origins progressively grew into the three prestigious International film festivals in Europe: Cannes, Berlin and Venice, where tourists flocked for the excitement that films offer.

Today, all eyes are now waiting for the 85th Academy Awards on Feb. 24th. The upcoming telecast is a far cry from the first Academy banquet in 1929, when 270 members, each paying $5, witnessed the first Oscar Awards.

It seems that the concept of filmmaking is coming full circle since the first film festival in 1950 that organized the “Chris Awards” in an ongoing search for excellence in visual media. Short, first-person, placed-based stories are a rapidly growing segment of filmmaking in a digital age and these cinematic stories are becoming a primary marketing tool in the tourism and entertainment industries.

Photos by Nils Wanberg. Petter Skavlan (center) wrote the manuscript for Kon-Tiki. He and a Kon-Tiki crew member are interviewed by VG.

Photos by Nils Wanberg. Director Joachim Rønning.

Photos by Nils Wanberg. Jakob Oftebro plays Torstein Raaby in Kon-Tiki.

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Larrie Wanberg

Larrie Wanberg, 1920–2021, contributed features to The Norwegian American for many years, drawing on eight decades of life experience highlighted by three career recognitions: as a researcher through a Fulbright Scholarship to Norway in 1957; as a health care provider in behavioral science through a 27-year military career and awarded upon retirement in 1981 the highest non-combat medal, the Legion of Merit medal; as an educator, through a 50-year career in college education, culminating in the 2010 Public Scholar award at the UND Center for Community Engagement. Wanberg passed away in May, 2021.