When the film breaks but still has a happy ending
By Tupaarnaq Rosing Olsen, Photo: Private/Nuummioq, greenland today March 2010
The creation and release of Nuummioq, the first Greenlandic feature film, was anything but easy for the film’s director, Otto Rosing.
The seed is sown
- Three years ago, I made a short film together with Lars Rosing called The Plan, which included Axel Raahauge. They played two characters and when Torben Bech, who wrote Nuummioq’s script, saw the film he said: »I’d like to see those two characters in a feature film«.
- That was when the seed to Nuummioq was sown. So I started to write, and passed it on to Torben, who then lifted the script to new heights.
With the dream of making a feature film follows the necessity of finding people to make it happen. A producer who, among other many things, has to raise the capital for the film.
The money was not lying in a bank waiting to be used. It had to be found.
- At one point we made the pilot film which was our instrument for raising money and awakening people’s interest in the project. At the same time it was our script tool, helping to hone the idea.
- There was exactly one year between making the pilot film and the first day of shooting.
There were plenty of challenges during the process. The first million they had when they started was quickly spent. The film finally cost DKK 4.2 mill. The rest of 3.2 mill had to be raised along the way.
- We applied to every single foundation and private sponsors. It took an unparalleled amount of begging before we could complete the project.
- One week before filming started, we’ve bought one-way tickets for the people who are coming from Denmark. We could not afford to send them home again.« It was very nerve-racking.
- The reason we were able to do it for DKK 4.2 mill was that people were willing to work for symbolic wages.
- We had a huge help and backing of the local community who helped us with food, props, locations and much more.
- My interest in movies began in 1984. I saw the film called »Next stop Greenwich Village« by Paul Mazursky. In that second I knew I was meant to make movies.
- The atmosphere in the film struck me. If I thought in words, I would have wanted to write a book and if I though in music I would be a musician. But I think in pictures, so I’m a movie man.
- The idea for Nuummioq comes from a desire to show modern Greenland. Greenland is often shown with two extremes – whoring, murder and arson as one extreme and beautiful hunters on the ice as the other extreme.
- We wanted to show the world the story of everyday life. And with regards to nature, we didn’t want to use it particularly in the film. We wanted to film some people who live in this nature. And not the other way round, beautiful nature with people in it. The focus has always been on the people in the film.
The film broke
After some very hard work, filming was completed in the autumn of 2008. And as it sometimes happens for marathon runners, the same thing happened to Otto – only mentally.
- I went down, simply collapsed, fell over. It was the greatest pressure I had ever been under in my life.
The film wound up in the main competition in the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, USA. It did not win an award but just being there was an enormous victory.
- I have a life before and after the depression I went through. I am a completely different person now, calmer and more focused and I live in the present.
- I’ve never been so poor, but I feel better than ever and that’s fantastic. I have achieved what I wanted. To make films and show Greenland.
- You must take action and throw yourself into it. Keep on going, is Otto’s advice to coming movie makers.
Read the full article from the magazine here