Erik Poppe’s film about the 2011 terrorist attack in Norway, U – July 22 (Utøya 22. juli), will compete for the Golden Bear in the main competition programme of the Berlin International Film Festival (15 – 25 February), where it will also premiere.
On 22nd July 2011, far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik detonated a van in Oslo killing eight people, then shot dead 69 people at a summer camp on the island of Utøya. In August 2012 he was convicted of mass murder, causing a fatal explosion, and terrorism.
U – July 22, written by Siv Rajendram Eliassen and Anna Bache-Wiig (Acquitted), is a fictional account which tells the story from the young people’s perspective, based on a series of in-depth interviews conducted with survivors from Utøya.
The film begins 12 minutes before the first shot was fired, where we meet Kaja, her little sister, and their friends. Over the next 72 minutes we follow Kaja as she becomes separated from her sister, and finds other youngsters with different strategies for survival. Some make it, others do not.
Erik Poppe added: “It’s a story that I do not own in any way. It belongs to the victims and the survivors of this political terrorist attack. That the film is now considered artistic and well made is something that I share with those who helped me make the film as realistic as possible and who were present on Utøya that fatal day.”
Meanwhile, Paul Greengrass is backed by Netflix to make a film based on the book One Of Us by Åsne Seierstad, which will reconstruct the events of the day and show how the nation responded to the attacks; and NRK is to produce a six part drama entitled 22 July (22. Juli) which will concentrate on those who were indirectly affected by the events.