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Bergen International Film Festival

The Bergen International Film Festival (BIFF) is a film festival held annually in October in Bergen, Norway since 2000, and is the largest film festival in the nation in number of films. The 17th edition of the festival in 2016 featured 160 films in the program. The festival leader is Tor Fosse, and BIFF is owned by Bergen Cinema.

Bergen International Film Festival
BIFF 4f norsk logo.png
LocationBergen, Norway
LanguageNorwegian & English

The festivals main venue is Bergen Cinema's Magnus Barefoot Cinema Centre, with additional screenings taking place at the local art film theatre at Georgernes Verft and at the student cinema at Kvarteret.


The Magnus Barefoot Cinema Centre i Bergen, the main venue of BIFF.

In 2000, Bergen was a European Capital of Culture. Due to the occasion, Bergen Cinema arranged Bergen International Film Festival, with the most important films from the festival circuit of the year and many sneak previews of movies already picked up for Norwegian distribution. BIFF was one of the most successful events to take place during the celebration of the Cultural City with almost 20,000 visitors, and was arranged again the year after.

Over the years the festival has grown to be one of the biggest in Norway, with more than 160 films and 64,000 admissions in 2016.


Bergen International Film Festival is organised in various sections:

  • Checkpoints, the main program at BIFF, hosted with the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, consisting of documentaries focusing on human rights. Since 2010, a jury has selected a winner.
  • International Documentary Program, with a special selection competing for the best international documentary award.
  • Norwegian Documentary Program, with a special selection competing for awards for best Norwegian documentary and best Norwegian short documentary.
  • Norwegian Short Film Competition, a special program of short films, where filmmakers have to apply before being accepted.

BIFF and educationEdit

Bergen International Film Festival has an extensive program for high school and junior high school students in Bergen. BIFFs offers schools in the area to participate in two different programs:

BIFF for SchoolsEdit

The festival offers free showing of documentaries that covers important subjects in history, democracy and human rights. BIFF also tries to bring filmmakers and even the characters the films portray to the screenings, making it possible for the students to converse with the talent afterwards. In 2010, former mayors of Bogotá, Antanas Mockus and Enrique Peñalosa held strong appeals to students of the power of local democracy after the showings of Bogota Change.

The School Film FestivalEdit

BIFF also offers a crash course film school for junior high schools, with professional filmmakers holding seminars. The festival then make camera and editing stations available for the students, and award one school each year for best student film.

Awards at Bergen International Film FestivalEdit


Awarded since 2010 and one of the main prizes at BIFF, selected by a jury from a competition program consisting of films focusing on human rights.

Best International Documentary/Documentaire ExtraordinaireEdit

Awarded since 2004, after BIFF started to shift its focus more over to documentaries. The prize is 50,000 NOK, since 2013 awarded by NRK.

Best Norwegian DocumentaryEdit

Awarded since 2011. The prize is 40,000 NOK, since 2013 awarded by NRK.

  • 2011: Folk ved fjorden, directed by Øyvind Sandberg
  • 2012: De andre, directed by Margreth Olin
  • 2013: Banaz A Love Story, directed by Deeyah Khan
  • 2014: Drone, directed by Tonje Hessen Schei
  • 2015: Voldtatt, directed by Linda Steinhoff
  • 2016: Barneraneren, directed by Jon Haukeland

Best Norwegian Short DocumentaryEdit

Awarded since 2011. The prize is 10,000 NOK, since 2013 awarded by NRK.

  • 2011: Selger 327, directed by Kari Anne Moe
  • 2012: Havets sølv, directed by Are Pilskog
  • 2013: Du velger selv, directed by Kajsa Næss
  • 2014: Dette er Kabul, directed by Sadaf Fetrat, Sahar Fetrat, Nargis Azaryun, Anders Sømme Hammer and Christoffer Næss
  • 2015: Asylbarna: Farida, directed by Ragnhild Sørheim og Christer Fasmer
  • 2016: Boys, directed by Sunniva Sundby

The Audience AwardEdit

The Golden OwlEdit

Awarded by the University of Bergen since 2014 to the best science documentary. The prize is 25,000 NOK.

Youth Jury's Documentary AwardEdit

A prize awarded since 2004 by a jury consisting of high school students that choose from the films that is a part of the BIFF for Schools program.

Best Norwegian Short FilmEdit

Awarded since 2004.

  • 2003: Fear Less, directed by Therese Jacobsen
  • 2004: The Bible, directed by Bjørn Amundlien
  • 2005: Drømme kan du gjøre senere, directed by Thomas A. Østbye
  • 2006: Drømmehuset, directed by Øystein Mamen
  • 2007: Bo jo cie kochom (Fordi jeg elsker deg), directed by Gine Therese Grønner
  • 2008: Ekornet, directed by Stian Einar Forgaard
  • 2009: Skylappjenta, directed by Iram Haq
  • 2010: Jenny, directed by Ingvild Søderlind
  • 2011: Asyl, directed by Jørn Utkilen
  • 2012: Å vokte fjellet, directed by Izer Aliu
  • 2013: Money Back Please, directed by Even Hafnor
  • 2014: Ja vi elsker, directed by Hallvar Witzø
  • 2015: Small Talk, directed by Even Hafnor
  • 2016: The Committee, directed by Gunnhild Enger

Young Talent AwardEdit

Awarded since 2005, with a prize of 20,000 NOK.

  • 2005: Aleksander Nordaas
  • 2006: Morvary Samaré and Astrid Schau-Larsen
  • 2007: Tor Kristian Liseth
  • 2008: Olav Øyehaug
  • 2009: Espen Faugstad and Eivind Nilsen
  • 2010: Kedy Hassani
  • 2011: Frida Eggum Michaelsen
  • 2012: Are Pilskog
  • 2013: Mads Andersen
  • 2014: Kjell Mathiesen
  • 2015: Hildegunn Wærness
  • 2016: David Alræk

Cinema Extraordinare (discontinued in 2011, re-established in 2016)Edit

The former main award at Bergen International Film Festival, awarded to the best feature film 2000-2011. The prize has had its present name since 2007. 2000-2005 it was called The Jury's Award, and 2006-2007 it was named The Norwegian Film Institute's Import Award, with the prize being Norwegian distribution.

Best Scandinavian Music Video (discontinued)Edit

Awarded 2010-2013.

  • 2010: Torgny - "The Only Game", directed by Emil Trier   Norway
  • 2011:
  • 2012: Todd Terje - "Inspector Norse", directed by Kristoffer Borgli   Norway
  • 2013: The Knife - a Tooth for an Eye,   Sweden

The Critic's Award (discontinued)Edit

Only awarded once, by the film journalists attending the festival in 2003.

The Festival by yearEdit

External linksEdit