The Huldra and me
Once she gets hold of you, she won't let go. That's the huldra for you - one of the most beloved and feared creatures in Norwegian folklore. And I'm living proof of her spell.
My name is Aleksander L. Nordaas (b.1982), and I'm a filmmaker/photographer/author based in Mosjøen / Norway.
In 2010, I turned my father's basement into a studio and set out to make a feature film about the tailed creature. Three years later, "Thale" launced - and even though the film made it a lot further than I and we had ever hoped for, I was by now pretty fed up with both her and folkore. I needed to do something different. So I made two children's books, the slightly offbeat miniseries "Made in Mosjøen" and a couple of other shorts. And in betweeen, I had twins. So I pretty much forgot about her.
But apparently, she didn't forget about me. She had just been lurking around, waiting, to one day jump out of hiding and catch hold - again.
The Huldra: The short film "Heim"
'Cause one summer's day in 2017, I suddenly found myself in some ruins, surrounded by hulders. 55 of them to be exact.
With lead actress Johanne Fossheim and 54 local extras, I was doing the first shots for the short film "Heim" - which by the way has nothing to do with "Thale". This little story is a completely different breed.
Maybe I've grown old and boring. Maybe it's my suppressed artsy side that's finally had it and wants out. Maybe it's just a phase. I don't know. But I do know that I had to make "Heim". Even though the story's told with the huldra as a central ingredient, the content/theme is very much personal.
In short, I believe we're all much more than flesh, bones and brains. But in this shrieking world, we just don't have time and space to figure out what. The constant online makes us increasingly offline, and we become wireless to ourselves. At least I'm having this feeling of playing myself in a third-person video game. And this isn't just parenthood speaking. I've watched myself jump over day-to-day-obstacles and initiate pre-scripted dialogues for years. And the autopilot didn't even sneak up on me. I've watched and felt it take over for quite some time. And even though I've now finally starting to actively deal with it, trying to reconnect with that present gaze I can see in photographs, there's still a long way - and constant fight - to go. "Heim" is sort of my acknowledgement and first step in finding back home with myself - with the help of the huldra.
"So wait... You're making this story with lots of nude women - and it's really all about you?"
Yeah, I know. That's the initial question I asked myself before even creating a folder for this project. How on earth can I stand at a film festival scene and deliver a believable answer to this question? So not only was I unsure about the whole thing from the very beginning, but when #metoo exploded in midst production, doubts set in for real, and I was very close to cancelling the whole project.
But apparently and long story short - mainly thanks to Johanne and some of the extras - I decided to go through with it. As they claimed - and which I've now settled with - this short had/has absolutely nothing to do with the campaign, and if I cancelled this project because of something it's not, we would effectively be creating our own cencorship - growing even more afraid of nudity than we already are. "And besides, Aleksander - we've already been freezing our asses off in the forest. Don't say it was all for nothing!"
One does not argue with the huldra - at least not 55 of them. So "Heim" finished up late 2018, and the eight-minute short film is now ready for festivals around the world. Hopefully. And this is were this crowdfunding campaign comes in.
"So what do you need?"
The film's finished, but the work pushing it out there has just started. And I suspect this film is a tougher festival sale than my previous shorts and features - for several reasons. Besides naked skin (which I've come to understand is much more problematic putting up on the big screen than severed heads and such), the film doesn't have a typical narrative, and it's partly told with a rhyme-based voiceover. So yes, it is a different kind of creature, and I believe it will be needing some extra attention when it comes to distribution. So to be able to man those hours, I've launched this campaign, which hopefully will be the film's distribution kickstarter.
"...and what do we get?"
For helping out (Reward 2 and 3), you'll of course receive the short film. And here's where a filmmaker would normally add: "...but you'll have to wait a year before the major festivals are over". Traditionally, this is the golden rule; that a film mustn't be sold or distributed before the festivals have had their go.
But with "Heim", which already is somewhat experimental, I want to explore a slightly different approach; namely if an early pre-distribution actually can help the film getting in to festivals. The film landscape is changing (to say the least), and screening platforms are now actively looking and adapting to us as an audience instead of the other, traditional way around. And perhaps that goes for festivals as well? Perhaps it turns out to draw an even bigger crowd and interest if festivals start bigscreening short films which have already had an audience buzz? Maybe this can help boost a short film's exposure - and lifespan? Who knows, so let's try.
Anyways - and to cut to the chase - that means you'll receive a download link of the film shortly after the campaign has ended!
The Huldra: The Photography Book
Making "Heim" proved that it was possible to initiate a project I've had on my list ever since "Thale". As the huldra is a diverse creature, both in ways and visuals, I've always wanted to portray her in all her different forms and settings. And a photography book seemed a very suited format.
But I never thought it was possible to find all the models required, and truthfully; I didn't dare ask around. But when I had worked up the courage to search for possibly ten-twelve extras for "Heim", over fifty volunteered (!). Now, for the photography book, the huldras have doubled. And with almost all of them living here in Mosjøen/Helgeland, I find this pretty impressive - and honestly, a bit intimidating. 'Cause I'm aiming for everyone - in all their shapes, sizes and colors - to be in it. In my mind, that's truly portraying the essence of the huldra. And because of that, the book project has upscaled quite a lot from what I originally set out to make. I'm now aiming for a 300-400 pages photography book, to be released in 2020, and what started out as a side-project has now become one of my main projects for 2019/2020.
The photography book is still very much in the works, and therefore not a possible reward in this campaign. The crowdfunding campaign for the book will be launched somewhere around spring 2020, but for those of you who want to follow/back this project in its early stages, you can! Choose Reward 1, and you'll receive the occasional project newsletter. Also, please feel free to follow the project on Facebook or on Instagram!
And as always, if you've got any questions or input, please click my face above for contact info :)
Very best from Mosjøen/Norway, Aleksander
Risks and challenges
There are no risks with this project. The film is already done, and will be delivered digitally to all the backers after a successfully ended campaign.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)