Kosmorama – the final curtain call

Kosmorama fil festival Trondheim 2013

The credits have just rolled on a wonderful week of films and festivities in Trondheim. My wife and colleagues thought I was mad to volunteer my time to Kosmorama, Trondheim´s annual film festival, citing the minimum time commitment as excessive. They required 20 hours of photography in return for a free festival pass, worth about 1000 kroner. Monetarily that is not a good return by any stretch of the imagination, especially when you factor in all the editing hours. But not everything is about money, and often it is good to do something to refresh the mind and enliven the soul.

The organisers were not hard-arse about the time commitment in any event; they simply gave me a list of the aspects of the programme they needed me to shoot and let me get on with it. The task took me to corners of the festival I would never usually visit and although I was knackered at the end of the week, I enjoyed just about every minute of it. Including the editing time I would say I completed my 20 hours, during which time I also saw some great stuff. Here are some of my highlights:

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The Name of the Rose, Erkebispegården.

I had in fact never seen this classic and now, after one showing, I would rate it as one of my favourite films! The array of weird and wonderful monk faces and tufty hair on offer in this 1987 epic is thing of beauty. The showing was held in the Archbishops quarters at the cathedral in Trondheim, to add to the experience. Whilst I would say that the arrangement didn’t quite have the desired effect (we were in the new wing of the building and it was quite a poor projection) the film had me riveted from start to finish. And, as much discussed over the rest of the festival, there was a delightfully uncomfortable reaction from the crowd witnessing some dirty sex in such a revered location.

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Art Will Save the World, Blæst with Luke Haines.

Probably my favourite experience of the festival. The much defamed Luke Haines took to the stage to talk about the film (with director Niall McCann) and to treat the audience with his footnoted musical genius. I don’t use that word lightly – the only incredible aspect was that I hadn´t seen him play before. I am, after all, a Southern Englishman. This was a lovely evening – with the audience casually getting up for beers and wine during the film, and a really intimate concert afterwards.

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Family Day, Lademoen Kirka.

This clearly falls in to the the “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t taking photos” category, but another church and another viewing, this time with old fashioned 35mm to really stick it to the touch-screen generation.

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The volunteers.

You would be forgiven for thinking I was the most generous of service providers, following my introduction to this post, but there were dozens of other volunteers who put in an even more sterling effort. I only signed up for the festival at the last minute when I realised I would have quite a bit of free time last week. But others had taken time off work specially, and put in so many hours. Special mention to Nina and Ingrid, who took the word “festival” literally – you know what I mean! Generally I thought the planning went really well – but above all else I loved seeing screening after screening full to capacity. We must have been doing something right.

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Celebrate with film.

Last, but not least, the films themselves. I enjoyed The Name of the Rose, but festivals are really about new films which you are unlikely to see on general release. I saw around 12 I reckon, including those I was at to photograph. My pick of the bunch was debutant Rufus Norris’ “Broken”. Sad and heart-warming in equal measure, it depicts the broken society of UK neighbourhoods. Audiences will read it in different ways, and indeed at the screening I attended, people laughed in completely different moments (the mispronunciation of  ‘fellatio’ was kind of lost on the Norwegian audience, me laughing alone), but everyone will feel the vulnerability of the situations it portrays. Amazing character development for the length of the piece – thoroughly recommended.

Looking forward to next year already!