New York, NY –June 13, 2022 – POV presents an intimate look at the citizens of a small fishing town in Maniitsoq, Greenland as they reckon with their Danish colonial past and a promising future by an American industrial company in the eye-opening documentary Winter’s Yearning, directed by Sidse Torstholm Larsen (Living on the Ice) and Sturla Pilskog (Urban Hunters), and produced by Are Kvalnes Pilskog, Vibeke Vogel and BAFTA Award winner Emile Hertling Péronard (Borgen). The national broadcast premiere is Monday, July 25, 2022 at 10pmET/9C, and is available to stream free until August 25, 2022 atpbs.org, and thePBS Video app. In addition to standard closed captioning, POV, in partnership with audio description serviceDiCapta, provides real time audio interpretations for audiences with sensory disabilities. POV is America’s longest running documentary series and is currently celebrating its 35th anniversary season.
Greenland, officially named Kalaallit Nunaat, is a vast snowy island country, that most Westerners only know as a view from their trans-Atlantic jet window. In the cinematic documentary, Winter’s Yearning, co-directors Larsen and Pilskog showcase the immense, isolating landscapes as well as the rich lives of the self-sufficient Greenlanders, who reside in the fishing village.
The film captures a nation’s struggle for economic independence when the U.S. aluminum giant, Alcoa Corporation, plans to build a multi-billion dollar smelting plant in Maniitsoq, which would make it the largest industrial operation in Greenland’s history. With the promise of economic renewal, this could be the first major step towards Greenlandic sovereignty.
Filmed over seven years, Winter’s Yearning focuses on the stories of three Maniitsoq residents during the project’s delays and eventual collapse: Kirsten Kleist Petersen, a young woman who works on the assembly line at a fish processing plant; Gideon Lyberth, a therapist and social worker; and bureaucrat Peter Soren Olsen, the town’s “aluminum coordinator” and the first Greenlander with a master’s degree. Through their uplifting stories the filmmakers track the dreams, lives on hold, and the human capacity to rise again.
POV’s Executive Producer Chris White said, “Winter’s Yearning is a beautiful and poignant portrayal of yet another indigenous community reckoning with its colonial history, navigating the long-term traumas passed down through generations of exploited Greenlanders. Ironically, the film might also resonate with many small American townspeople, citizens desperately waiting for corporate investment to save their economically routed communities.”
Co-directors Sidse Torstholm Larsen and Sturla Pilskog said, “From the very beginning it has been our aim to do everything we could, to work on a micro level, and portray life from within. To tell stories from modern Greenland; allowing people that we rarely meet in the big media landscape to take the floor. The entire film was shot on location in the small and remote community of Maniitsoq, situated on the West Coast of Greenland,125 miles from the nearest neighboring town, but a place that today is influenced by globalization more than ever before. What does life look like from here? We, and the participants of the film, are very grateful and excited that Winter’s Yearning will premiere on public media in the U.S. Hopefully it will invite viewers to broaden a greater understanding of not only Greenland, but also how it is to be a human being with responsibilities and dependencies no matter where you are situated in the world.”
Winter’s Yearning, is a Blåst Film (Norway), Bullitt Film (Denmark) & Ánorâk Film (Greenland) co-production American Documentary. Directed, written and developed by Sidse Torstholm Larsen and Sturla Pilskog and produced by Sturla Pilskog, Are Kvalnes Pilskog, Vibeke Vogel and Emile Hertling Péronard. The co-producers are Vibeke Vogel, Emile Hertling Péronard and Inuk Silis Høegh. Henrik Bohn Ipsen is the cinematographer, Åsa Mossberg is the editor and Mats Andersen is the colorist. Sound design and mixer by Niels Arild, music by Sebastian Öberg and poster design by Mia Sehlin.
Directors: Sidse Torstholm Larsen and Sturla Pilskog
Producers: Sturla Pilskog and Are Kvalnes Pilskog
Co-Producers: Vibeke Vogel, Emile Hertling Péronard and Inuk Silis Høegh
Writers: Sidse Torstholm Larsen and Sturla Pilskog
Cinematographer: Henrik Bohn Ipsen
Editor: Åsa Mossberg
Colorist: Mats Andersen
Composer: Sebastian Öberg
Sound Design & Mixer: Niels Arild
Poster Design: Mia Sehlin
Download Winter’s Yearning photos here
About Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat)
Under Danish colonization for almost 300 years, in 1979 Denmark granted Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat) home rule, making it an autonomous Danish dependent territory with limited self-government and its own parliament. The majority of the population are of Inuit heritage admixed with Danish-Swedish-Norwegian ancestry. The country’s main economy derives from fishing and tourism; however, Greenland has a vibrant, emerging film industry. Many Greenlanders harbor aspirations for becoming independent of Denmark and controlling their economic, cultural and political growth.
About The Filmmakers
Sidse Torstholm Larsen, Director, Winter’s Yearning
Sidse Torstholm Larsen is a Danish film director and editor. She holds an M.A. in Visual Anthropology from the University of Tromsø, where she did her thesis on Greenlandic fishermen catching halibuts far out on the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It resulted in the film Living on the Ice (2007). Sidse has studied Inuit culture at Ilisimatusarfik, the University of Greenland. In 2009, she directed the short film Alianaak, following a girl from Maniitsoq and her Greenlandic football team in Copenhagen. Maniitsoq is also the location for her feature film debut, Winter’s Yearning, which had its premiere at Cph:Dox. Other work includes Urban Hunters (2011) and as an editor for the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. Sidse is based in Copenhagen with Sturla Pilskog and their two children. Their films tend to focus upon the relationship between humans and their environment.
Sturla Pilskog, Director/Producer, Winter’s Yearning
Sturla Pilskog is a documentary film director and producer from Norway. He holds an M.A. in Visual Anthropology from the University of Tromsø. In 2009 he established, together with his brother Are, Blåst Film, a production company situated on an island on the West Coast of Norway. Since then, they have produced several award-winning films for both the national and international market. Sturla directed Urban Hunters (2011), a film depicting immigrant boys getting to know Norway by going hunting, and Ice Handscape (2014) about old seal hunters in the Arctic, which was acknowledged for its innovative visual and poetic style. Ice Handscape has exhibited at modern art museums around the world. Winter’s Yearning, his feature film debut, premiered at Cph:Dox and was nominated for Best Film by the Danish Film Critics Association. In the US the film premiered at the Margaret Mead Film Festival. He is currently based in Copenhagen, where he lives together with his partner Sidse Larsen and their two children.
Are Kvalnes Pilskog, Producer, Winter’s Yearning
Are Pilskog is an award-winning director and producer that has been recognized as one of Norway’s strong talents for documentary filmmaking. Besides an education in film, he holds a Masters in Ecology and Animal Behavior, and his films are characterized by an in-depth understanding of the ecological processes and the behavior of the animals he films. He has directed films like A Toad Story (2015), Ice Handscape (2014) and The Silver of the Sea (2012). The latter one was the first nature film ever nominated for an Amanda (Norwegian equal to Oscar) and it won the EUIFA Environment Award, as well as the best Independent Film at the International Wildlife Film Festival. Together with his brother Sturla, Are founded Blåst Film in 2009, where they focus on the intersection of ecology, anthropology and essential storytelling.
Vibeke Vogel, Producer, Winter’s Yearning
Born in Sweden, Vibeke Vogel lives and works in Copenhagen. She started out with a special focus on video art, introducing international work to Danish / Nordic audiences before devoting herself to documentary production. Vogel has worked with moving images as a producer and curator for more than 25 years. She is the managing director of BULLITT FILM, which she co-founded in 2007. The company is behind a number of notable documentaries, several of which have won awards. Films such as We Could Be Heroes (Hind Bensari, 2018),The Agreement (Karen Stokkendal Poulsen, 2017) and Absolute Beginners (Thora Lorentzen, 2021) have cemented the company as an important contributor of documentaries with a personal cinematic language. Their solid collaboration with local and international film distributors and providers offers Bullitt’s titles wide distribution across platforms such as TV 2 / Danmark, Arte France, ZDF, Hot Docs, IDFA, One World and the Danish Parliament.
Emile Hertling Péronard, Producer, Winter’s Yearning
A Greenlandic film producer based in Denmark with production company Ánorâk Film operating out of both Nuuk and Copenhagen. Working to build bridges between Europe and the Arctic through films, Emile focuses on documentaries as well as fiction projects. He recently launched Greenland’s first production service company, Polarama Greenland, to advance the Greenlandic film industry and pave the way for more authentic screen content from Greenland. He has been an advisor for the Berlinale, is on the steering group of ARTEF - the Anti-Racism Taskforce for European Film, and his films have screened at Cannes, Venice, Berlinale, Sundance, with Aquarela (2018) being shortlisted for the Feature Documentary Oscar.
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