By Julia Dahr and Julie Lunde Lillesæter

18 March 2020 - 08:12

Man with tear in his eye wearing rainbow hat
'This story is about how Pride affects a small town.' Photo ©

Julia Dahr, Julie Lunde Lillesæter

When Pride comes to town is a documentary about Norway’s first rural Pride parade. It is directed by Julia Dahr and Julie Lunde Lillesæter. 

Why did you choose a religious theme for the film?

One of us is religious, and one of us is not. It's important to tell stories that help us understand viewpoints that are different from our own. Our different backgrounds, as directors, strengthened our story. 

This story is about how Pride affects a small town. That meant including the religious groups that opposed the parade as well as the religious groups that supported it. 

Volda, the village where this film is set, has strong Christian traditions. Religion is often debated in the local newspapers. But it is also a diverse town that stands together when needed. Showing that complexity was crucial to us. 

In fact, we just learned that this year’s third edition of rural Pride (the Pride parade in Volda), has partnered up with one of the local churches. 

The film follows Bjørn-Tore, a gay man who left his hometown of Volda so he could live freely. He seemed very open to sharing his story. What was it like to work with him?

Bjørn-Tore was wonderful to work with, and he has been extremely brave in deciding to share his story.  

The idea for the film came a few weeks before rural Pride, and just two months later the film had its premiere. Because of this, Bjørn-Tore only had 24 hours to decide if he wanted to be part of the film or not. 

He told us that the quick decision is perhaps also why he jumped into it with all his courage.

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Community is a strong theme in this film. Was it important to show that?

Yes. Volda is a small, diverse town with a strong community spirit.

We saw great support for Bjørn-Tore from his community and family. Two days before rural Pride, the organisers told us they were expecting a couple of hundred people. However, 4,000 people joined, in a town of only 9,000 citizens.

It would have been easy to only tell the story of the clear-cut conflict between the Pride organisers and the religious anti-Pride protesters, but the reality is more complex.

#FiveFilmsForFreedom, the world’s widest-reaching digital celebration of LGBTIQ+ themed film returns from 18 to 29 March 2020.