Norwegian students capture Greeks on film

“We envy you.”That’s something you don’t expect to hear from foreign visitors to this country. Most of us feel so much fear that it has deformed us; our insecurities have aged us. “Still, we envy you.”

After 30 cinematography students from Westerdals School of Communication in Oslo worked in Athens this November during an internship, they concluded that Greeks were fortunate: “It’s your chance to change everything, a chance we are all searching for.”

Every year, second-year university students from the program spend time in a foreign city with the goal of capturing contemporary heroes. “Usually we travel outside of Europe to international ‘red zones,’” said senior lecturer Even Stormyhr. “But this year we decided to stay in Europe. Athens was calling us.”

Having already established contacts in Athens, the students, all aged between 22 and 29, scattered across the city, avoiding the tourist spots and searching for unexpected protagonists. They found them in a photojournalist who covers breaking news, a policeman who has been assigned to guard an MP, a clown, an anarchist student, an artist, a synchronized swimmer, a drama teacher, a surfboard manufacturer, a mother from the SOS Children’s Villages charity, and a drag queen. In parallel with shooting 10 documentaries, the students hit the streets with cameras to document everyday life through a series of reports. They went to Ixthioskala, the main fishing port that serves Athens, and the Varvakeio Market in the city center. They covered the 2012 Athens Marathon and attended an outdoor concert on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street. They were there for the November 17 commemorations.

“They were very enthusiastic that day,” said director Agathi Darlasi, who helped the group while they were in Athens. “They had prepared themselves for the climate of the demonstration which they of course participated in. I remember them asking why the leftist political groups were fragmented, why everyone on the streets failed to recognize their collective power.”

One month was enough to change the image of Greece that the students had already formed in their minds. “The stories that accompany your country in the international media are limited in their scope, so the impression that foreigners have is different.” explained Stormyhr. “It seems that even the domestic media want more than anything to polarize the climate further. We met so many exceptional people, we documented so many great stories that never get told outside.”

The students said they found Greeks passionate, with an opinion and awareness of the current situation that “inspired us.” “You are incredibly helpful, open and honest,” they said to Kathimerini. “We are impressed,” they said.

The students made a website for the documentaries and reports (, where they upload their footage. They are currently in the process of editing their work.

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