Once Aurora named Best Nordic Documentary film

Reel News from the Norwegian Film Institute (nti.no)

Once Aurora

Gro Rognmo
Norwegian Film Institute

Once Aurora—En gang Aurora in its original Norwegian—won the prize for best Nordic documentary film at the Nordisk Panorama Festival in Malmö, Sweden.

Once Aurora is a story about the Norwegian pop sensation Aurora Aksnes, directed by Stian Servoss and Benjamin Langeland, and produced by Thorvald Nilsen. The happy trio says: “We have enormous respect for all the unbelievably good documentary films that are produced in the Nordic region, so it was huge for us to win this prize! Pure joy and pride, plain and simple. And we are very thankful for all the fantastic people involved in the project, not least Aurora herself!!”

Prestigious prize

On Sept. 24, they indeed won the prestigious prize for best Nordic documentary film at Nordisk Panorama, competing with 13 other very strong documentary films. The prize, which is worth 11,000 euros, goes to the directors.

The jury had this to say about the film: “For its strong cinematic power, through its cinematography, sound and editing, this colorful portrait of an artist as a young woman brings us to a new dawn.”

This is Once Aurora

Aurora is a pop sensation from Os, outside of Bergen. She was discovered as a 16-year-old, quit school, and spent the last of her teenage years building up her career as a musical artist. In 2016, she played 150 concerts for packed venues throughout the world, but by the end of the year, the hard-driving pace had truly begun to take a toll on her. She is exhausted and lacks motivation.

How she responds will define her future as an artist. Is this what Aurora really wants, or does she have any choice now but to continue?

Team Bergen

Servoss and Langeland are at once directors, photographers, and editors for Once Aurora. Langeland has known Aurora since childhood, and that has contributed to the team’s full access to her story.

The film has already won several prizes, including two awards at Gullruten. [Ed. note: “Golden Screen”—Norway’s premier annual television awards.] The film is also available on NRK. [Ed. note: as of this writing, it is only viewable online with a Norwegian IP address.]

The film has received a total of  NOK 2.3 million in funding from the Norwegian Film Institute. Documentary film commissioner at NFI, Helle Hansen, has this to say: “Once Aurora is a strongly visual project about a young woman’s choices in a challenging music industry. This is documented by the team, which has unique access to and clear agreements with Aurora, the band, manager, and family. This is a story that is both touching and intimate with the phenomenon of Aurora, her fight to find out who she is and how she wants the world to remember her. This is both a complex and authentic narrative that has a clear theme, with emphasis on a beautiful aesthetic.”

Doc Norway

Next week, Once Aurora will participate in Doc Norway in Bergen, a meeting place between the North American market and representatives from the documentary sector of the Norwegian film industry. Sixteen American TV stations, streaming services, film festivals, and distributors will gather there, including Netflix.

“This was a great entryway into Doc Norway, where we will present the film for the American market. We wish to spread our film to the whole world, and this acknowledgment in the Nordic region is a perfect beginning,” says Thorvald Nilsen.

Official press release translated by Assistant Editor Andy Meyer.

See also “Rainbow flags and Valentine hearts: www.norwegianamerican.com/arts/rainbow-flags-valentine-hearts.

Visit AURORA’s official website at www.aurora-music.com/home.

This article originally appeared in the October 4, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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