Norwegian Film Institute defends role in Burma film

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The Norwegian Film Institute is fending off criticism reported in newspaper Aftenposten last week that it didn’t provide enough support for the film Burma VJ, which was nominated for an Oscar last week.

While journalists at the Oslo-based Democratic Voice of Burma celebrated the Oscar nomination for the film about “reporting from a closed country,” an Aftenposten critic claimed it was “embarrassing” that Norwegian Film hadn’t offered more support, which led to Burma VJ becoming a Norwegian-Danish venture with Denmark getting most of the credit.

Not true, responded Norwegian Film Institute officials on Monday, claiming the film’s producers never applied for Norwegian Film grants, nor were the film’s Norwegian minority producers affected by an agreement Norway signed regarding European co-production.

Norwegian Film officials wrote in Aftenposten Monday that they were proud of an Oscar nomination for a film with close ties to Norway. Torstein Nybø, one of the film’s Norwegian producers, was elated, telling newspaper Dagsavisen that “an Oscar nomination is the most we can contribute towards putting more focus on the situation in Burma.”

The film is based on authentic video recordings from Burmese journalists who risked their lives to document the violent conflict with Burma’s military junta in 2007. The Norwegian foundation promoting freedom of expression, Fritt Ord, contributed NOK 400,000 to the film’s production.

Views and News staff