Utøya 22. Juli press conference with Erik Poppe, Andrea Berntzen and Stein B Kvae
Utøya 22. Juli is a harrowing, single-shot immersive experience that puts the audience on the island of Utøya during the Anders Breivik massacre, which took place in 2011. Director Erik Poppe, lead actress Andrea Berntzen and producer Stein B Kvae discussed the great challenges they faced working on the controversial project at the film’s press conference.
Why did you choose to focus on this story?
Erik Poppe: Looking around in Europe today, realising the neo-fascism growing day to day, we need to remember what happened on that island, what right-wing extremism can look like. I felt I needed to go into this material to figure out how to put that story into a film. When words can describe what it was like to be out there they are limited to the emotional story. To put the audience on that island was the goal of the film. I wanted to show it from the young people’s perspective entirely. I also realised I wanted to show one long take for 72 minutes without anything happening – no police and no rescue. To show time, which is hard for us to show in films.
It’s hard for me to go into the function of the film. It was finished two days ago, 3 o’clock in the morning on Friday, so excuse me for not having the big analysis yet.
How did you join the project Andrea?
Andrea Berntzen: When I first heard about this film I was very critical; like many others in Norway, I thought it was too early. However, after reading the script and learning that the focus would be on the youths on the island instead of Anders Breivik, and speaking to Eric about the form of the film, I thought it was the correct way to do it.
Do you think enough time has passed to tell this story?
Stein B Kvae: This summer it will be seven years ago. For us who didn’t lose loved ones seven years is a long time. However, for those who lost someone it feels like it was yesterday. It was really important to us to share the film before it was finished with those who were most affected. Those who wanted to see it were moved by it and gave us feedback during the last sections of post-production, and I think everything we are doing marketing wise is to make sure that everything we do is done with a lot of respect for those who suffered most.
Utøya 22. Juli does not have a UK release date yet. Read our review here.
Read more reviews and interviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival 2018.