Iram Haq’s What Will People Say will be Norway’s candidate for Best Foreign-Language Film

REEL NEWS: From the Norwegian Film Institute (

Hva vil folk si

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Hva vil folk si (What Will People Say) has been chosen as Norway’s entry to the Academy Awards.

Norwegian director Iram Haq’s second feature What Will People Say (Hva vil folk si) will be Norway’s bid for the Oscar nomination as Best Foreign-Language Film.The Norwegian Oscar Committee announced its choice on Sept. 4 from a shortlist of candidates also including Tuva Novotny’s Blind Spot (Blindsone) and Erik Poppe’s U—July 22 (Utøya 22. juli).

Social control

What Will People Say portrays 16-year-old Nisha (Maria Mozhdah), who lives with her Pakistani parents in Norway. She has two sides—at home she is the perfect Pakistani daughter, but when she is in town with friends, she is a normal Norwegian teenager. When her father discovers her with a boyfriend, she is sent to live with family in Pakistan, where she has never been before.

Personal experiences

The film is based on personal experiences. “When I was 14, I was more or less kidnapped by my parents and forced to live for one and a half years in Pakistan. It was a rough experience since I was there not by my own will. But except for kidnapping, the film is fiction,” explained Haq, whose feature debut, I Am Yours (Jeg er din) was also chosen as Norway’s Oscar candidate in 2013.

“The director’s timely relevant description of loss of liberty through social control means that the film concerns many people where relocations create conflicts across religious, social, and generational expectations. We think Haq’s strong film will do well in competition with the best from around the world,” said the Norwegian committee, chaired over by Norwegian Film Institute CEO Sindre Guldvog.

Prize winner

Produced by Maria Ekerhovd for Mer Film, What Will People Say premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017 before its Norwegian launch on Oct. 8. In August 2018, it received four Amandas, Norway’s national film prize, for Best Feature, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Actor (Adil Hussain).

Every country can propose a title for the Best Foreign-Language Film category, which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will reduce to six beginning in October. An executive committee will add three, and two committees will select the five nominations for the Jan. 22, 2019, announcement. The winner will be named at the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 24, 2019.

What Will People Say was reviewed by Victoria Hofmo in the Aug. 24, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American:

This article originally appeared in the October 5, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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