NORWAY 75 MIN, 2019
When Torarin and his sister Svalin want a horse for riding, their parents buy two Bactrian camels. The family soon discovers that camel training is not for amateurs. Therefore, they take on an expedition to Mongolia, hoping to find a professional camel trainer who will accept an invitation to train their camels in the Arctic Norway. And deep into the Goby desert, they actually find a candidate. But they are not prepared for Mongolian training methods.
KARL EMIL RIKARDSEN
Lives in Harstad, 300km north of the polar circle in Norway. He studied philosophy and economics before he entered media studies at Volda University College in 1984. His work experience includes the directing, writing and producing of more than 30 films; including single documentaries, documentary series and fiction films. Since 2000 he has dedicated his work to the making of documentaries. A few of these have been targeting a younger audience: These are two series about young girls with ambitions to become international champions as freestyle skiers («KuleJenter 1 &2»). He also directed the 8 episode series following the socialization of bears and wolves at the world´s northernmost zoo («Salt & Pepper»).
In the beginning of his professional carrier, Rikardsen also wrote and directed drama stories for a younger audience. Among these are the four episode TV drama «Kjære Kamera(t)» (Dear PAL) that he wrote and directed in 1994/95, the adapted feature story «Utboropprøret» («The Rebellion») written in 1993 and the 30 minutes short film «The Next Dance» written in 1987.
In 2004 he was one of the founders of the production company Relation04 Media which is the delegate producer of «The Arctic Camels».
Furthest north along Norway’s rugged coastline is the lush Sørøya (South Island) located. In itself so contradictory that one can hardly be surprised that one of the families on the northern tip of Norway’s fourth largest island, has acquired camels when their children wanted a horse.
It is inspiring to see the world with head slightly askew. And halt at situations that are otherwise allowed to pass. Wonderful people and animals in fantastic landscape. So different from what children and adults most experience, anywhere, that even everyday events stand out as unique.
The scenery in Akkarfjord was wild and exotic long before camels came to the village. Nothing changes either before or after a trip to Mongolia. But with camels as part of this environment, we see the world slightly differently.
I have interest in things that occur in cultural meetings. There may be confusion, humour, conflicts and new ways of seeing the world, which also perhaps bring it forward. And then I have a philosophical past that sometimes bursts. All this I get plenty of in this story. And the characters, action and relationship to nature bind the elements organically together.
The children want most of all a horse to ride around in the magnificent and sparsely populated landscape of the island. They receive camels instead, also because the animals fit better into the parents’ plans for a new livelihood. They will establish an eco-philosophical center.
But then something happens when Øystein, the children´s father, saw wood for the winter. He cut himself badly. All fingers except the thumb, being bruised on his best hand. It brings empathy in the children and a heartfelt desire to help the father to be left-handed. It's wistful and beautiful, full of warm humor: Therefore, the slightly tilted head appears to be completely normal.
A recurring question is whether children are able to realize the dream of riding with their camels. That’s certainly a lot harder than what they and their parents had imagined. They must in fact be trained, which is a path filled with obstacles. Neither the kids nor their parents have the necessary time and expertise for that.
They understand that a camel trainer is needed in order to reach the goals of both parents and children. But there are no camel trainers in the arctic parts of Norway. The kids therefore suggest a travel to Mongolia to find a camel trainer. They decide to do the journey into the unknown, hoping to learn more about camels and find a trainer. One of the things they will discover is that thoughts about animal welfare may be different.
Not all the training methods are equally desired by the kids from the north. Perhaps they must make a choice between tough training methods or to let the camels be wild, rebellious and «happy» like now?
- Leeds Young Film Festival
- Cleveland International Film Festival
- Tromsø International Filmfestival
- Tel Aviv International Children’s Film Festival
- Zlin Film Festival
- Filem’On Bruxelles
- Ajyal Youth Film Festival
Doker Kids 2020