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Norway’s 2011 Utøya massacre reconstructed for a new film

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- Swedish director Carl Javér looks back at 32-year-old right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik’s terror attacks, which killed 77 people

Norway’s 2011 Utøya massacre reconstructed for a new film
Reconstructing Utøya by Carl Javér

On 22 July 2011 at 15:26, 32-year-old Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, dressed in a fake police uniform, blew up a 950 kg bomb in front of the State Minister’s Office, and the Ministry of Justice and Police in Oslo. Seven people were killed and more than 15 wounded. In a rented car, he then drove towards the island of Utøya in the Tyrifjorden lake, where the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth association had organised a summer camp. He arrived on the Thorbjørn ferry, and at 17:22 he began shooting at participants while shouting and cheering. He left 69 dead and 66 injured.

In an internet manifesto and a video, the Justiciar Knight Commander had explained that the killings were necessary because Muslims had started a “takeover” of Norway and Western Europe, supported by Labour. He was seized by police at 18:27 and sentenced to the maximum 21 years in custody for terror offences.

Swedish director Carl Javér and Vilda Bomben producer Fredrik Lange, who also collaborated on the award-winning Freak Out! (2014), about the 1900 youth revolt in southern Switzerland, will look back at the attacks in Reconstructing Utøya, which will be backed by €200,000 from the Swedish Film Institute

Five of the original campers from Utøya will describe what happened to them and how they came out alive, and will also bring their memories back to the surface by directing a group of 12 youngsters. The cameras follow what happens outside the studio, and how the relationships develop between the survivors, the contributors and the film team.

“It is an ambitious project – I’m sure it will become an important and also visually fantastic film,” said consultant Helle Hansen, of the Norwegian Film Institute, which has also supported the film (co-produced with Norway’s John Arvid Berger,of Jobfilm). In addition, the Danish Film Institute has contributed to the €700,000 budget.

“The strength of Reconstructing Utøya is that it is the young people themselves telling the story on their terms, and by sharing it with others, they give it more layers. They are taking it back and getting the last word, rather than the offender,” concluded Hansen. Filming has started and will be completed next year.

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