Northern Script Camp 2022 – Werewolves, Films, Snowfall & lots of Storytelling

It’s been little over a week since the young Nordic scriptwriters returned from the Northern Script Camp from the Oulu International Children’s and Youth Film Festival and what an incredible week we had there!!!

STORYTELLING WITH THE HELP OF A GAME CALLED ‘A WEREWOLF’

From the very first evening the participants hit it off and made true connections with each other. Rebekka Rut Svasdottir, a Northern Script finalist from Iceland made quite an entrance to the camp by introducing a fun storytelling game called ‘Werewolf. The ‘Werewolf’ game’ got all the camp participants to relax and get to know each other through storytelling, fantasy, imagination AND a lot of humor.

The game settled the spirit of the camp from the very early on and got everyone out of their shells to trust one another in a welcoming mood.

THREE NORDIC SHORT FILMS

This year the Northern Script made history as we collaborated for the first time ever with the local Film students of OSAO Vocational College, from Oulu Finland. Young Nordic scriptwriters from all over the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland & Faroe Islands) wrote together three short films with the help of their mentor, a Finnish professional scriptwriter, Milla Tuokkola. During the writing process, the writers were in contact with the local Film students who made the casting, edited & shot the short films. 

Once the camp started, the Nordic writers and the Finnish Film students finally met each other for real and got to see the modern facilities of the OSAO Media department in Oulu, Finland. At the OSAO school the Nordic writers & the local film makers made an introduction video of themselves and the writers followed a bit of the raw cut editing process of the short films as well.

SCRIPTWRITING WORKSHOPS BY NORDIC TALENTS

Most of the camp relied on the scriptwriting workshops held by magnificent Faroese film director Andrias Høgenni and the excellent Icelandic actress and scriptwriter Kolbrún Anna Björnsdóttir. 

Andrias Høgenni

Andrias Høgenni is a Faroese film director who moved to Denmark in 2009. He graduated from Super16 in 2018, and his thesis-film “Ikki illa meint” won the Canal+ Award for best short film at Semaine de la Critique in the Cannes 2019 festival. It also won the Danish Academy Award (Robert) for best short film the same year. He has since directed two Tv-series for Danmarks Radio. The latest one being “Ingen vej tilbage”, which premiered on DRTV in 2022

Kolbrún Anna Björnsdóttir 

Kolbrún Anna Björnsdóttir is an Icelandic actress and scriptwriter, working both on stage and screen since her graduation from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Kolbrún Anna co-founded and ran two independent theatre companies: Theatre of the Republic and Ekka Dance Theatre, the latter pioneering in dance theatre in Iceland. 

Kolbrún Anna has been working as a teacher in addition to her work as an artist and is currently the Head of Acting and Movement at the Icelandic Film School. She is also a published author of children’s fiction and educational materials. Kolbrún Anna recently wrote and acted in the 8-part TV-drama FRACTURES, airing in 2022, based on her original idea. The series was co-written with Vala Thorsdottir and co-created with Vala Thorsdottir and Eva Sigurdardottir.

The Northern Script workshops focused both on the theory of storytelling and the character creation as well as practical exercises about feedback and pitching. One of the most memorable exercises was given at the end of the camp when the participants were asked to go outside to the snowy streets of Oulu to observe people and choose one person to write a fictional character analysis.

Once back inside the participants in pairs of two had to create a story where two of these fictional characters met. All the stories created by the finalists turned out to be really fascinating and it was a perfect way to teach in a practical way about character creation and its importance in a story.

DIVERSITY IN FILMS

On Friday, Venla Hellstedt, a Finnish producer from Tuffi Films, came to hold a lecture about the scripts with diversity and about the presentation on the films. Hellstedt really got the participants to talk freely about the subject. In the end it was concluded that as much as diversity is in everyone’s lips at the moment in the film industry-  it can be considered quite multidimensional and there are no easy answers.

I think many participants got the feeling that whilst acknowledging the diversity issues in the scripts of today, at the end of the day you just have to believe in your story and stay true to yourself no matter what.

PEHKOLA SAUNA EVENING

Besides the scriptwriting workshops, the participants of the camp got nearly VIP treatment by the Oulu Film Festival. Each Northern Script finalist got VIP tickets to the Oulu Film festival and also invitations to some VIP Film events. One of the high points of the week was certainly our trip by bus to Pehkola Sauna which was situated in the middle of a thick forest and pure white snow. After our arrival to Pehkola, we all got to taste the most delicious salmon soup and afterwards to bathe with the international film directors, scriptwriters and producers in the guest saunas. In the mist of the sauna – everyone feels equal. Therefore the communication between the professionals of the film industry and the Northern Script finalists was absolutely genuine and effortless.

OULU FILM FESTIVAL

Northern Script camp is always held at the same time as the Oulu International Children’s and Youth Film Festival. Each year the festival organizes some film screenings for the Northern Script finalists. This year was no exception. First we were invited to view a long feature film called, Freeskate,  by Roope Olenius and scriptwriter Veera W. Vilo. The idea for the script came from Vilo’s own past in the world of gymnastics. The script wanted to show the brutal and somewhat impossible requirements of the sports industry towards young girls. Some of the scenes were brutal to watch but important to see. The side role by Finnish actress,Leena Uotila, was spot on. Afterwards the finalists were given a chance to ask multiple questions from both the director and the scriptwriter.

In the evening we were invited to watch a new children’s film ‘Detective Agency Henkka & Kivimutka’ by directors Väinö Weckström and Jarkko Felin. The script was based on the book series by Kalle Vierto. It was delightful to see such a colorful and truly well done Finnish children’s film with a positive message.

At the end of the Northern Script camp, the whole audience of the Oulu Film Festival, the Northern Script finalists & the local OSAO Film students were all invited to a first ever screening of the three common Nordic Short Films. The films were written by the Nordic Northern Script finalists together in small groups and shot & edited by the local OSAO Film students. Each of the project participants got diplomas of the hard work they had done during the autumn 2022 in front of the live audience in the Valve Cultural Centre. Hopefully these diplomas will help the participants in their search to pursue a career in the film industry. 

GROWING PAINS

(Emma Finot (DE), Ester Högberg (SE) & Mimmi Riikonen (FI)

A WARMING REMEMBRANCE

(Brage Grindeland (NO), Kjetil Heimdall-Handen (NO), Anna Hirvi (FI) & Khali Hashi (DE)

SCARF

(Rebekka Rut Svansdóttir (IS), Kerttu Pakkasvirta (FI), Sølvi Næs Hoydal (FO)

The short films dealt with themes and topics such as compulsion, otherworldly & regret. Each of the three short films were well scripted and surprisingly well edited & shot. Keeping in mind that all the people involved in this project are still aspiring filmmakers, the end result was amazingly good. The fact that these young people were able to put it together and evoke real emotions among the audience in such a short and tight time schedule, I can’t but applause to them all !!

A FAREWELL PARTY – A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

At the end of the whole one-week-long Northern Script Camp, both the Northern Script finalists & the local OSAO Film students were invited for a common Nordic farewell party at the Turusen Saha which worked as the finalist’s accommodation and workshops place throughout the week. There in the big dining room, the lights were dimmed and decorations were put out for a big party.

In my own end speech the tears were near as all the emotions concerning this project came through. All the proudness of these young aspiring scriptwriters, the true connections they made in the camp and the collaboration with the local Film students made me full of joy and happiness.

After the tears, we put karaoke on and it turned out that scriptwriters and filmmakers can actually be really good singers as well. The prize for the best performance of the evening goes to Sølvi Næs Hoydal from the Faroe Islands whose imitation of Johnny Cash might just be better than the real version itself!! The more we sang – the more it became true that this one-week-long-camp had made us all, the workshop leaders, the producers and the finalists real friends – friends who you can reach out to in different times of your life.

That connection is something beautiful and I can’t wait where these aspiring Nordic scriptwriters will go in their film career in the future and what kind of possible collaborations might happen in the Nordic Film Industry because of the Northern Script 2022.

Only time will tell.

Written by the Producer of the Northern Script 2022, Johanna Lappalainen

Northern Script 2022 was funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, Mediametka ry, Nordic Culture Point, and Nordisk kulturfond with the help of the Nordic Northern Script Partners