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Ola Solum

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Ola Solum (17 July 1943 – 28 June 1996)[1] was a Norwegian film director. In 1983, he directed the documentary Kamera går! – Norsk filmproduksjon gjennom 75 år (Camera Running - 75 Years of Norwegian Film Production). One of Norway's greatest directors,[2] he was particularly known for Orion's Belt, which premièred in 1985 and won four Amanda Awards, including best Norwegian film of the year. He also wrote scripts for a number of Norwegian films.[3]


Solum began his career as a director in the early 1960s, writing and directing short documentary and educational films primarily for Norsk Documentarfilm A/S, by whom he was employed beginning in 1964, but also for other companies, such as a film about the Norwegian State Railways made with Ed Epstein for ABC-Film in 1966.[1] In 1968 he co-directed Bare et liv (Only One Life - the Story of Fridtjof Nansen), a Norwegian-Soviet co-production.[1][4] The Norwegian production partner for this film was Norsk Film, a company with which he was associated for the rest of his career. He was one of the young film makers supported by that company, and was a member of the Vampyrfilm group.

He made his solo feature-film directing début in 1976 with Reisen til julestjernen (Journey to the Christmas Star), a children's film with a stellar cast[2] which has since been shown on NRK every Christmas.[4] He also wrote the shooting script.[5] In 1978, he made Operasjon Cobra (Operation Cobra), which was intended for older children and successfully used their language, earning praise from Norsk Film.[citation needed] He was therefore given the assignment to direct Carl Gustav, gjengen og parkeringsbandittene (1982) in connection with Norsk Film's 50th anniversary.

In 1985 Solum directed Orion's Belt. The film was a big success both in Norway, where it was seen by some 700,000 people, and abroad. It won four Amanda Awards, including best Norwegian film of the year,.[4] It had an effect on the Norwegian film industry, sparking the so-called "helicopter period" of films marked by internationalisation (partly as a result of the need for international financial support for such large projects) and emphasising suspense and special effects;[1][6] it was listed in Dagbladet in 2007 as the tenth most important Norwegian film.[7] His next film, Turnaround (1987), was not even shot in Norwegian and was therefore ineligible for state financing.[6]

Solum was appointed artistic director of Norsk Film in 1982[8] but resigned to take over the direction of Wayfarers (Landstrykere, 1989) after the original director became ill. The film was a success,[1] but required two years and 12 million kroner over budget, leading amongst other things to a change in leadership at Norsk Film.

After this, he directed only two more feature films before his death from cancer in Oslo in June 1996:[1][4] Kvitebjørn Kong Valemon, a well received children's film, and Trollsyn, for which he again took over directing duties. In 1990–93 he ran his own production company, Alpha Film A/S.[1]

In addition to the Amanda Awards for Orion's Belt, Solum three times won the Norwegian cinema managers' award, Sølvklumpen, in 1978, 1980 and 1985.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Ola Solum", Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian)
  2. ^ a b Atle Jørstad, "Lager ny Reisen til Julestjernen", Verdens Gang, 29 January 2011 (in Norwegian)
  3. ^ Gunnar Iversen, Øivind Hanche and Nils Klevjer Aas, Bedre enn sitt rykte - En liten norsk filmhistorie, 2nd ed. Oslo: Norsk Filminstitutt, 2004 (in Norwegian)
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ola Solum, Norwegian Film Institute, accessed 21 July 2013.
  5. ^ Astrid Thon, "Laget den store julesvisken", Drammens Tidende, 21 December 2001 (in Norwegian)
  6. ^ a b Gunnar Iversen, "Norway", in Nordic National Cinemas, ed. Tytti Soila, Astrid Söderbergh-Widding and Gunnar Iversen, London / New York: Routledge, 1998, ISBN 9780415081948, p. 130.
  7. ^ Karen Moe Møllerop, "Iskald krig og ekte mannfolk", Dagbladet, 10 July 2007 (in Norwegian)
  8. ^ Scandinavian Film News 2.2 (1982) p. xlii.
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Ola Solum
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