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It has been said that Norway has more talent per person than anywhere else on earth. This may be so, but perhaps it is only in the past several decades that the country is really coming into its own with the export of music and film. 


This kickoff day of the Halden International Music Film Festival (HIMF) will profile this talent and the international connection – and the cultural connection is strong here in Halden. Halden is the unofficial capital of a region known as the Deep South of Norway. Long a strong home to the Americana movement and a myriad of creative cultural activities, Halden is now host to the Halden International Music Film Festival.


Join us on a journey through this first day of the HIMF that will give you a perspective about what Norway has achieved, and the creative direction the country is taking within the music film genre.


Through films, stories, food, music - and good old Halden southern hospitality – we invite you to join us. From the Speaker Program in the morning to the Norwegian-themed films in the afternoon to a full-fledged Halden evening at the Byporten to close out the day, reserve your space now! 


Here is what you can expect on this very special day:


  • A powerful and informative morning speaker program 

  • An authentic Halden lunch

  • Exhibitions opening at the the Kulturhuset at 9:00 am

  • An afternoon of Norwegian music documentaries

  • Networking as you enjoy dinner at the Kulturhuset  

  • Discovering the Byporten, the site of the evening event. First a debate with Thomas Seltzer, followed by the rockin' Notodden band Spoonful of Blues 

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Each morning, will welcome all participants with coffee and hospitality at the Kulturhuset. Since 2000, the online magazine and newspaper Ballade has published self-produced articles and facilitated debate on a wide range of issues related to artists, composers, songwriters, lyricists, the music industry and organizational life.

1000 - 1230 
Tordenskjolds gate 1

10:00 am 


Acting Mayor Linn Laupsa

Halden Municipality has been an important supporter of the Halden International Music Film Festival. Linn Laupsa will welcome participants on behalf of this music and cultural haven in what is know as the Deep South of Norway.


Åse Kleveland 

To kick of this day, there is certainly no better person suited to open the event that Åse Kleveland, truly an iconic culture figure here in this country, one of the most influential cultural politicians Norway has had. 


Mayor Gry Fuglestveit

Notodden and Halden are connected by a common love of music and culture. Hear how a town experienced a cultural renaissance when “Little Steven” came to town. The year was 2015, the third season of Lilyhammer had concluded – and “Little Steven” was on his way out of Norway, perhaps forever. Everything changed when he came to town, and for the next 5 years, Stevie came back each year, and left a legacy behind.



Gunnar Strøm 

Gunnar Strøm is professor emeritus in Film studies from Volda University College. He founded the documentary and animation programs at Volda University College. He has published widely on animation, documentary film and music videos.


These articles include an analysis of the music video for Take On Me by a-ha, which is ranked as one of the best music videos of all time. His book, Musikkvideo from 1989, is still relevant and is a classic book on the genre. In 2011 he received the awards Aamot-statuetten and The Golden Gunnar Life Achievement Award at the Fredrikstad Animation Festival.



11:30 am




Stine Osmo Lieng

Therese Næss Diesen 

Martin Horntveth 

​Panel Per Ole Hagen, moderator

Music and sound are one of the most important ingredients in any film, and especially in music films. In this panel, we will try to answer how the film composer thinks, how the sound designer works to arrange music and sound, and which rights challenges and opportunities apply.


Arvid Skancke-Knutsen 

One of the country's foremost experts within the music video genre, each day at 11:45, Arvid Skancke-Knutsen will present his choices and colorful explanations as he show his choices of the day.

Join Skancke-Knutsen each day of the festival right here in the Kulturhuset for an entertaining look at the past and present music videos that have help shaped our musical culture.





Join us at the Kulturhuset for an authentic and simple Halden lunch. The Kulturhuset is located just down the street from the Halden Kino and is the main networking venue here at the Halden International Music Film Festival.

  • For those with Full Delegate or Day passes, the lunch is covered as part of the package. 

9:00 - 18:00

Join us for several exhibitions to be held at the Kulturhuset, free to visit all through the festival.

These include​:

  • Exhibition about animation in music videos

  • Exhibition telling about the Bluestown of Notodden and their sister town Clarksdale

  • Poster art from Austin

  • Photo exhibition with concert photos of artists from the films shown at the festival

1330 - 1730


For those of you who have not chosen a Delegate Pass, and simply want to enjoy the different HIMF films

from Thursday to Saturday, we offer a film pass at a cost of just 400 kroner.

  • Note that this film pass does not cover the two closed screenings on Thursday nor the Last Waltz at the Aladdin on Saturday. Last Waltz tickets can be purchaed here

  • All entry is on a first-come, first served basis where capacity is limited.


Purchase your film pass today here!




Directed by Larry Locke. With Willy DeVille, Chris Frantz, Ben E. King, Jack Nitzsche 

The life of one of the most original American singer-songwriters of the past 50 years. He was one of the most original, most romantic artists of his time. From CBGB Latin Punk via New Orleans soul singers to the voice of American Roots music in Europe for three decades. Everything about him was a work of art. 

Respected by peer artists such as Ben E. King to Bob Dylan. His songs were hymns to the heartbroken and depressed. Yet almost no one knows where he came from or who Willy DeVille loved.

This gem of a documentary directed by Larry Locke truly brings to life a musician who will long be remembered as an American Original.



Directed by Paul Kendall and Jack Kendall

Note: Free for all. Festival delegates use their pass for admittance, free tickets for will be made available here on February 9th.

Introduced by Egon Holstad

Colorful, charismatic, and dynamic Egon Holstad has been asked to pick out his favorite music video, and what a choice he has made. A documentary on the life and work of Gene Clark, co-founder of The Byrds, whose subsequent career was a rollercoaster of pioneering music and personal disaster.


Meet Director Paul Kendall

We will meet Director Paul Kendell, who with his son Jack Kendall created this documentary.

Paul Kendall's documentary is described as an extraordinary accomplishment, a soulful testament to Gene Clark’s enduring brilliance.


For Gene Clark’s small but fiercely loyal cult of fans, carrying his torch through the decades has largely amounted to a silent crusade – one that Director Paul Kendall has brought to fruition with this documentary.




Directed by Jørn Stenersen 

Note: Closed screening by invitation only

The wheels of industry grind to a halt in 1987. The factories in this isolated Norwegian town of Notodden close overnight, leaving nothing. From the dust, young women and men create a Blues Festival that now 30 years later is one of the best in the World.


The kids were 18 and 19 years old back then. Working the blazing furnaces at the ironworks under chimneys spewing dark brown smoke over town. In the evenings they listened to music and they played music. Music always walked hand in hand with the workingmen in this town. Work hard, play hard, party hard, making music.


But the search for profits by the factory owners causes them to close the factories almost overnight. In 1987, in this town of 12,000, one thousand people are thrown out of work. The smoke disappeared, as did jobs and money. It was a devastating blow to the town, the region, and the country

This is the story of Notodden, the town that would not give up.



Directed by Brett Morgen

David Bowie was an English rock star known for dramatic musical transformations, including his character Ziggy Stardust, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.


Bowie was rock’s answer to the musical chameleon. His ever changing musical and cultural style over decades brought him a global following that remains loyal to this day.


Moonage Daydream had its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival in May 2022, then released in IMAX and theatres in the United States on 16 September 2022.


In this creative labor of love from visionary filmmaker Brett Morgen, join us in a cinematic odyssey exploring David Bowie's creative and musical journey, in full cooperation with the Bowie estate.


HØST (2023, Norway)

Directed by Leif Brynildsen

Høst was a Norwegian band based in Indre Østfold that played music on the borderland between hard rock and progressive rock. The band existed between 1973 and 1978 and was one of the first rock bands to use Norwegian lyrics.

Consisting of Svein Rønning (guitar), Lasse Nilsen (guitar), Knut R. Lie (drums), Geir Jahren (vocalist) and Bernt Bodal (bass), Høst recorded their first record På Stronge Vinger which was released on Polygram in 1974 in six days. The album was well received, and began a career that has gained a cult following in this eastern part of Norway. Join us for this musical journey into the story of the band Høst.


HENNING KVITNES (2007, Norway)

Directed by Bill Gystad

This documentary short by the national broadcaster NRK takes you into the musical world of Halden native Henning Kvitnes. With over 20 albums to his credit, Henning Kvitnes has been a musical force of nature in Norway for decades.



Join us at the Kulturhuset for a buffet dinner. The Kulturhuset is located just down the street from the Halden Kino and is the main networking venue here at the Halden International Music Film Festival.

  • For those with full Delegate passes, the dinner is covered as part of the package. 

  • For others, the price is 300 kroner including one non-alcoholic beverage. You can purchase online here

  • Spend time networking with your fellow music film enthusiasts.

  • Visit the Exhibitions

  • Relax as you get ready to walk down the street to the evening event at Byporten with doors that open at 19:00.

Doors open at 19:00

For those who hold a Full Festival Pass, this evening is included (excluding beverages). For others who want to join in the debate, the music and the fun, purchase your ticket here.

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    Attack on Democracy from a Rock perspective 

         Thomas             Ida Madsen           Egon                 Erik

          Seltzer               Hestmann            Holstad          Mosveen


Join us for an epic debate here as we gather four of the clearest voices in Norway to discuss the connection between rock, journalism and social development, starting from the attacks on democracy in the USA, but also with relevance for our own society. The debate will be open to the public and will be combined with film and music.



Thomas Seltzer

American citizen with a background as a musician and songwriter in Turboneger and host of numerous television program over the years, including the current UXA -  two seasons about the political reality in the USA.


Egon Holstad

ormer record shop owner and concert organizer in Tromsø, commentator in ITromsø and VG. Winner of the Golden Pen in 2022.


Eirik Mosveen

Former editor in music newspaper BEAT, commentator in VG, correspondent for VG in the USA between 2011 and 2014, and current political editor in Avisa Oslo.


Ida Madsen Hestman (moderator) - former program editor for Tromsø International Film Festival, cultural journalist and music critic for Dagsavisen, and Klassekampen, film critic for VG.




               SPOONFUL OF BLUES

           An evening of the rocking blues








Spoonful of Blues comes from the blues town of Notodden and has established itself as one of Norway's most popular blues bands with its catchy tunes and rock blues expression. Over the years, the band has release recordings praised on both sides of the Atlantic.

The band plays to sold out Norwegian blues clubs and festivals to full houses all over Norway, and they are increasingly playing internationally with increasing attention with Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France, Poland and the USA are on the tour schedule every year.

Spoonful of Blues experienced great success when they performed at the Tampa Bay Blues Festival in Florida in the summer of 2019. It was repeated together when the band took the Suwalki Blues Festival in Poland by storm in the summer of 2022.


Spoonful of Blues will release a new album before the summer, and the first two singles from the album "Rollercoaster Ride to Hell" and "Hellraiser" have received good reviews and a lot of radio play on radio stations both in Europe and the USA.

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