Even though films from the great wide world were popular and attracted guests, the most popular films were those where something recognizable could be seen. The biggest hits were Palos Brudefærd (1934) and Qivittoq (1956), in which the Greenlandic nature and recognizability could be experienced with the Greenlandic language and the Greenlandic actors. The film, Qivittoq, also led to Greenland’s first film star and that was Niels Platou. Following the première in Denmark, he had 200 idol photos taken of himself which he could autograph and take home. That they would be devoured by fans was not what he had imagined!
SEND FILMS BY AIR DROP!
But it has not always been easy to get to see films in 1960s Greenland. The transportation of films was dependent on postal connections, field ice and changes in ships’ timetables. In 1964 when Uummannaq needed new films and could not continue showing the same films, Filmcentralen (Film Library) in Nuuk was assured via telegram that the films could easily be delivered by air drop without this damaging the films. The enquiry was unsuccessful, but the year after they tried to convince them again to send films via air drop! It’s not always easy when there are no roads – but a plan can be made for everything!
STORYTELLING CONTINUES ON SCREEN
Greenlanders have always been eager storytellers and stories are told about everything from heroes and anti-heroes to horror and fun. And since new media is fun to play with, it has been obvious for the Greenlanders to continue storytelling in this way.
Popular themes on screen have, for example, kept to the already existing interest in the supernatural, which was given a new media initially by way of the 1990s horror literature and now with popular feature films. Another popular theme is also telling about Greenlanders’ way of life close to nature, told by film-makers who come from outside Greenland and are inspired, but also from local film-makers.
Many films and documentaries are made in and about Greenland today. We can expect to see many more made by Greenland and about Greenland. The interest locally and internationally in Greenland will certainly not get less and this is also reflected in the growing film industry in Greenland.