The Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund has for several decades celebrated film and film art by being a meeting place for the Norwegian and Nordic film industry and the general public. The festival is an arena for film-professional and film-political discussions and a display window for national and international cinema.
The Norwegian International Film Festival is our country’s first film festival. It is currently organised as a private limited company with Film & Kino as the main owner with 60 percent, and it is partly owned, with 20 percent each, by the Municipality of Haugesund and Rogaland County.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon is the High Patron of the Norwegian International Film Festival and Liv Ullmann is its Honorary President.
The board of the Norwegian International Film Festival is chaired by Guttorm Petterson. The other members of the board are: Arild Kalkvik, Marte Eide Klovning and Arne-Christian Mohn. The board is joined by Festival Director Tonje Hardersen.
The festival is led by Festival Director Tonje Hardersen and administrative manager Nina Samdal. The film market New Nordic Films is led by programme director Gyda Velvin Myklebust.
The festival history goes back to Drøbak in 1973. A group of volunteers with Bjørn Bjørnsen and Olav Sandsmark had received funding from the National Association of Municipal Cinemas, as Film & Kino was called at the time, for organising a film festival. Here cinema managers, politicians, film professionals and the press, and also a more general public, received a broad presentation of the programme for the autumn and winter. The French directorial genius François Truffaut also visited the festival. He was an honorary guest during the very first edition, and added film-historical prestige for what was an ambulating festival up to 1986. After having visited ten Norwegian cities, the festival found a permanent home in Haugesund in 1987. That year Gunnar Johan Løvvik joined the festival as a festival manager, a position he held until 2015. Gunnar Johan Løvvik was awarded the Norwegian order of chivalry Knight 1st Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olavs for his cultural initiative. In 2005, he received the Rogaland County Culture Prize. Tonje Hardersen was appointed as festival director in March 2015.
Amanda, the national film award, saw the light of day in 1985. At the outset it was a film and TV award, but from 2005 and onwards it became a pure film award. For the first 20 years the ceremony was – except the Nordic Amanda in 1993 – a co-operative effort between the Norwegian International Film Festival and the TV channel NRK. From 2006 to 2018 the Amanda ceremony changed the channel to TV 2, was presented on VG+ in 2019 and is now back on NRK . The Amanda Award consists of a statuette designed by the sculptor Kristian Kvakland, produced and delivered by the company of Olaussen metall in Haugesund.
New Nordic Films
1995 saw the start of New Nordic Films – The Norwegian International Film Festival’s annual film market for Nordic cinema. Eleven years later an international co-production and film financing forum was established. New Nordic Films annually receives approximately 400 industry professionals from Norway and abroad, to familiarise themselves with new Nordic film productions and initiate co-production efforts across the borders.