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ABOUT THE FILM
A stubborn, old skipper refuses to accept the demise of Norwegian sealing. He gathers a motley crew and sets out on a hazardous journey through the polar ice
Ocean, ice and bitter cold in a seemingly untouched corner of the world. A crew who can only trust each other in the kingdom of polar bears and sudden storms. Until now this has been an annual ritual for the obstinate, ageing skipper Bjørne and his first mate Espen.
In the beginning of the 20th century, more than 200 Norwegian sealing vessels were active, now there’s only one ship left. Massive international condemnation and the EU ban on all imports of seal products has almost wiped out the industry. But the skipper and his first mate refuse to give in. With a motley crew of greenhorns and old-timers, they set out on the dangerous journey into the polar ice. They are the last seal hunters of Norway.
PÅ kino 17.mars
As raw and shocking a film as it’s possible to imagine about a dying way of life, where dinner doesn’t come from Tesco’s but rather out of the mouths of polar bears...
Ruaridh Nicoll, editor, The Observer Magazine
Koko Film is a production company for documentaries, established in 2013. Based in the Arctic meteropole Tromsø, Northern Norway, we aim to make local stories for a global audience. We are warm, but prefer getting cold – and like raw and smelly projects. We do producing, directing and cinematography.
Gry Elisabeth Mortensen grew up on a diet consisting of whale meat and codfish, on a barren island in Arctic Norway. While Trude Berge Ottersen is a domestic southerner from a farming family. Together they are Koko Film. On set they’re teamed up as co-directors, while Gry does the soundwork and Trude director of photography. They are both educated within anthropological filmmaking, and make films with a relevant and captivating story.
Søndre Tollbodgate 17
+47 9181 6093
THE MAKING OF
It started in 2010. Trude, who was then a vegetarian, got to know some young sealhunters and through their enthusiasm for their profession her fascination was aroused. In spring 2015 the two women in Koko Film boarded Havsel, Norway’s last sealer ship. Living for two months on this 33-meter-long vessel, out at sea, together with a motley crew of sealhunters was challenging and exciting - personally and professionally.
We became one of the crew, shared their everyday tasks and took part in their work on deck. Showers were rare and blood-stained wool-underwear became our uniform! The unknown, intimate and bizarre environment we found ourselves in was full of contrasts – visually and emotionally. Red blood on white snow, noisy engine in quiet nature, the small man in the huge landscape. Life on board was much more than just hunting. It was a moving experience, filled with companionship, sharing of ancient traditions – and a lot of drama.
We call our film an action documentary for a reason. It was a dangerous journey; we came across hurricanes, accidents, engine-problems, polar bears and an unexpected termination of one sealhunter’s career. It has been an unforgettable journey.