Nordic Reality: Emil Trier

Youth culture is always interesting and diverse, Trier says. - And the people who’s skeptical to join the project are the ones to approach, Trier says about his music video trilogy "Don’t Look Now".

How did your film project begin, and under which circumstances?

It all started with another documentary I made some years ago called “The Norwegian Solution”. The film was about an ammunition factory in the middle of Norway. In the film I wanted to show the little town surrounding the factory, this led us to filming young people in the area. We ask about the ambivalence of choosing to work at the factory or not. The youngsters where all car enthusiast, listening to loud music and doing donut slides with there cars. After filming them for a small sequence in the film, I knew that this rural phenomenon with kids hanging out in cars in small towns was something I wanted to explore further – it was a typical Scandinavian thing.

So when I started talking with music artist Torgny, we decided to make a film/video with the same kind of youngsters. 

After making “The Only Game”, we decided to make a trilogy, it was important to show the contrasts of Norway. It was essential to find something particular and specific in each of the films and it had to be a Norwegian phenomenon, I wanted to embrace something that was specific for Scandinavia.

What was the biggest challenge making the film – artistically as well as technically?

Since it is three films, they had different challenges. In “The Only Game” it was a lot of logistics – especially the continuity of the people we where filming. The concept was to follow a gang of youths in there cars for a whole day and into the night, but after 6-8 hours it was hard to hold track of them, they started disappearing, at a point I thought we would never get the night sequence, but luckily we hooked up with them again at a parking lot.

“Big Day” was the project I was most afraid of, because we had chosen to make a video about “celebrating the graduation of High School in Norway” as a theme. It was a cliché, so it was very important to show the complexity of the journey, its happiness, sadness and melancholia all together.

“I Came Here” was the most ambitious in a way, we filmed it in Kautokeino witch is a small Sami town in the north of Norway, 2 hours in a plain from Oslo and surrounded by mountains. We brought with us a phantom flex camera from London to shoot some super high-speed shots of a snow scooter speeding across the river, this was a technical challenge.

It was important in the whole video trilogy to keep it spontaneous and with a documentary style combined with more complex visual shots.

Why did you choose this specific visual and narrative approach for your film?

My motivation was to show an exclusive take on youth culture. The restlessness, the energy, the creativity and destruction, trying to stylized it in a poetic direction with the premises that we are both with them and observers from the outside.

What was the most important thing you learned from the people you’re describing in your film?

That youth culture is always interesting and diverse! And that the people who’s skeptical to join the project are the ones to approach, all the people who wants to be in the film is useless, because they want to be actors and that was not what I was looking for. –A Sami kid who is able to just be himself in front of the camera that is what makes it interesting.

What do want the audience to take away from your film?

I hope people find them interesting, and that the films also can be seen as another kind of music videos.

How do you look back at the result yourself?

I hope we have cached some of the essence of youth culture 2010-12 in Norway. It will be interesting to look back at it in 10 years time and se if the videos had any relevance. We filmed people in a specific stage of there life, the girls in “Big Day” for example is all in the middle of a new life face, they are not high school girls anymore, so the identity we see in the film was just a brief stage of there life, just a couple of days in may, they are totally different now.

Which contemporary Nordic documentary film has made the biggest impression on you?

One of the recent films I love from Nordic countries is “Swenkas” by Jeppe Rønde, that’s one example.

Which aspect of life in the North have the documentaries neglected in the recent years?

I don’t know, but it is always interesting to see a documentary about pop culture, and underground phenomenon’s. It’s never enough films with this kind of themes.

What’s your next documentary about and why have you chosen this subject?

I am currently making å hybrid film, a combination of documentary and fiction. The spirit in the film is close to the trilogy stylistically, but much more narrative. The two main characters is actors, but a lot of the people around them is played by amateurs just playing them self. This is the only way to grasp the authenticity I seek in this new project.

It is a coming of age film about identity and family, a theme I believe is always interesting.

If you could change one thing about the conditions of making documentaries in the Nordic countries, what would it be?

My answer on this question is not tied up to film politics or new ways of financing, it is simply the weather, it would be nice to have more daylight in the wintertime, when shooting.

[Return to Nordic Reality DVD: Director interviews]

Skriv kommentar

  • Scott Pollock 17. jan 2013

    Hello, I am the Director of Exhibitions at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I would to request permissions to share a quotation from this interview for an exhibition we are working on. Who would you recommend I direct this request to?

  • kjetil lismoen 17. jan 2013

    Hi, Scott, please feel free to quote from the interview. Just send me an email about the context for the quote. I’m sure it’ll be fine. Kjetil Lismoen, Editor of Rushprint and co-publisher of the dvd. Email: