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A film by Lars Einar Skageberg
An Arctic Space Odyssey (2013) is a Norwegian documentary film directed by Lars Einar Skageberg, produced by Tordenfilm AS. The film spans themes of human interest, pioneering space science, life in an extreme, polar environment as well as Cold War history on a grand scale. The film's duration is 48 minutes.Back to top
SYNOPSISAt an isolated outpost in the Arctic, the pioneering spirit of the Space Race clashes with the suspicions of the Cold War. One man, shouldering great responsibility, stands at the crossroads. Unique footage from the 1960s takes us to the world's northernmost settlement, Ny-Aalesund.
An Arctic Space Odyssey portrays a humble man who stood in the middle of a highly dramatic and little-known piece of Cold War history. Through private film footage, we are transported to the Arctic in the late 1960s, where international, political conflicts collided with substantial personal challenges.
In the summer of 1967, Roald SĂ¸fteland (38) travels to the northernmost settlement in the world - Ny-Aalesund, Svalbard. He is on leave from the Norwegian Air Force and has been selected to manage a high-tech satellite station and its crew of 25 men.
The station is part of a major space research project: for the first time, Europe will launch satellites into orbit around the Earth. The Ny-Aalesund station is responsible for downloading valuable research data from the satellites.
But the Soviet Union accuses the satellite station of espionage, and Roaldâ€™s military background serves only to strengthen their suspicions. Roald must convince the Russians that the station is for civilian research only, to avoid that the Soviet Union uses it as a pretext for launching military activities of their own in Svalbard.
In addition to the political pressure, Roald and his men must endure more than a year in near total isolation. With technical difficulties, monotonous polar darkness, large allowances of alcohol and a hostile, arctic environment surrounding them. The pressures on Roald are further intensified when he receives bad news from his family back on the mainland.Back to top
Apart from the obvious attraction of 60s space-tech, Cold War history and the adventures of human endeavor at the edge of the world, I felt that An Arctic Space Odyssey had to become a sober and humble film.
I did not want to hide my respect for Roald SĂ¸fteland's personal story and the project he was a part of.
I also wanted to emphasize the mood of the arctic settlement, and learn how these men, and Roald specifically, dealt with their isolated situation.
In this place where time passes by so slowly, the outside world does not matter that much, and everyday routines become increasingly important. I wanted the film to reflect the experience of being there, and at the same time give an understanding of Roald's motivation for his actions.
Roald SĂ¸fteland is of the same generation as my grandfather. A hard-working, no-nonsense generation which experienced World War II, and whose motivation was never to glorify themselves, but to do the right thing and carry on. Obviously, these old-timers also had an appreciation for the good life, but I believe they acted upon a sense of duty for themselves and their society that has changed over time.
Roald sets the example. When surrounded by darkness and isolation, he turns constructive rather than destructive.Back to top
Starring Roald SĂ¸fteland
Narrated by Finn Schau
Writer and director Lars Einar Skageberg
Producer Eric Vogel
Original score Grand Island
Cinematographer Daniel Voldheim
Editor Kirsti Marie Hougen
Sound designer Fredric Vogel
With the support of:
The Norwegian Film Institute / commissioning editor Stig Andersen
The Swedish Film Institute / commissioning editor Cecilia Lidin
The North Norwegian Film Centre / commissioning editor Jesper Bergom-Larsson
The Audio and Visual Fund
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation
Atmo Media Network
Sement & Betong
Kings Bay AS
Writer-director Lars Einar Skageberg (b. 1976) has a bachelor from NTNU, Trondheim, and an MA from the University of Bournemouth. He has a decade of experience from the Norwegian TV and film industries as director, editor and videographer. He is an award-winning music video director through his collaborations with the group Grand Island. An Arctic Space Odyssey is his first documentary as director. For more information and showreel, visit www.tamburin.no
Producer Eric Vogel has a diploma in producing from the Norwegian National Film School at Lillehammer. He is managing director and co-founder of the independent production company Tordenfilm AS. Producer of the feature films Sons (2006) and Norwegian Ninja (2010), co-producer for the animated feature Metropia (2009) and the mini series Norwegian Cozy (2011). Member of the European Film Academy.
Production company biography
Tordenfilm AS is an independent production company with a ten-year track record of high quality film and TV projects for national and international markets. The company is based in Oslo, Norway. Among its latest productions are the documentary An Arctic Space Odyssey (2013), the mini series Norwegian Cozy (2011), the feature film Norwegian Ninja (2010), and the upcoming animated feature Knutsen & Ludvigsen (2015). For more information, visit www.tordenfilm.no
CONTACTBack to top
WATCH THE TRAILER
An Arctic Space Odyssey at IMDB
European Space Research Organisation
Invation of Czechoslovakia
The Svalbard Treaty
Gerhardsen and Kosygin meeting
Gunter's Space Page
Norwegian Space Activities 1958-2003
S. A. AndrĂ©e's Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897
IsbjĂ¸rn - Fra fangst til fredning (norwegian)
The permafrost on Svalbard and in Norway is thawing
Original music for the film
WATCH THE SOUNDTRACK PREVIEW
BAND STATEMENT - GRAND ISLAND
We let ourselves be inspired by the quiet and lingering images of the film, a contrast to what we normally do. The film provides an opportunity for contemplation while there are also moments of intensity and speed, be that in an abstract sense. The everpresent feeling of a slight sadness also gave way to a more patient approach to our music. From one mans solitude on the snowwhite plains to the coldwar polar spacerace; it is a vast place to be situated. Sometimes a simple E minor is all you need, but other times it simply will not suffice. It was a true pleasure to take part. We just hoped that Roald would like our sketches to his story on the screen. From what we gather, he thinks it frames him well. Thank you.Back to top