SMILE and WAVE
A personal and poetic meditation on life, death, history and habitat.
After 50 years of film-making, Eva finds her personal story hidden in the sand of an arctic beach. In a universe of skeletons and waving barnacles emerges a story of a life.
A story about life in the tidal zone and what remains when something is gone.
This is a film essay about small things and large questions. About presence and absence, about sensing and memory, about joy and loss. We encounter vitality and decay, the beautiful and the repulsive, memories that surge into us and memories that freeze and congeal. All triggered by life on a North-Norwegian tidal beach in constant change. Curiosity is an important driving force. It led to a French marine biologist, to the heath urchins, and to a father.
THE FILM STORY
Do you want to join me for a walk along the shore?
SMILE and WAVE is an essay film set in a tidal landscape in Northern Norway. Might one say something about life by portraying a place? Might one understand more of oneself by contemplating one’s passions? The flow of the tide and memories of the past are intertwined in this story about the vulnerability of life and what remains when something is gone. At this seashore you may wade for hours and find treasures. The heart urchin is one such treasure. It is magical and secretive, thinner than an eggshell and as vulnerable as you and me.
A film about the ways in which nature activates our memories and our curiosity. Ebb and flow day and night, eternally. A slow breath that never ends. As if death did not exist. In a universe of skeletons and waving barnacles emerges a story of a life. Fascination with nature led to a French marine biologist, to the fragile and secretive heart urchins, and to a father.
Eva Charlotte Nilsen with National premiere in Tromsø.
North-Norwegian film's first lady opens "Film from the North" at this year's Tromsø International Film Festival.
Captivating histories from the edge of the Arctic: The program of the Film from the North is ready!
Others about SMILE and WAVE
Lars Saabye Christensen, Norwegian author
It is an exceptionally beautiful and moving film. It is daring, headstrong and accessible at one and the same time. I am happy that such stuff is still being made. The director ’s story broadens our world and makes us all recognize it anew.
Ola Bremnes, musician/writer
SMILE AND WAVE is poetic and personal magic. To wander along the sea-shore will never be the same after this. A marvel of a film.
Espen Nomedal, program manager TIFF
A pearl. A light in the polar night. Of course this had to be our opening feature.
Linn Sollid Madsen, reviewer in Nordlys
The waves of the tidal landscape of Vesterålen can soothe the heart beat of anyone.
DOCUMENTARY Personal essay film. 57 min.
RAMPELYS, Sortland, Norway.
Script, direction, photo: Eva Ch. Nilsen
Distribution: Rampelys as, Sjøgata 56, 8400 Sortland, Norway.
Contact Phone: (+47) 913 59 496. E-mail:
Screening format: DCP or HD stereo-master. English subtitles
Tromsø International film festival, opening film Film from the North. Jan 18 2022
HUMAN International Documentary Filmfestival, Oslo. Docs in competition. March 2022
The Norwegian Documentary Filmfestival, Volda. Opening film and Honorary Mention. April 2022.
Local cinemas in Vesterålen, Norway. March 2022
Northcape Film Festival, Honningsvåg, Norway. September 2022
AMIFF Arts and Film Festival in Harstad, Norway. Oktober 2022
Bodø Film Festival, Bodø, Norway. Oktober 2022
DOKFILM-MARKET, Leipzig Documentary film Festival. Oktober 2022
NORDIC/DOCS Documentary Filmfestival Fredrikstad, Norway. November 2022
SMILE and WAVE won the award for Best documentary medium length at the Norwegian Documentary Festival Nordic/Docs in Fredrikstad.
Eva Ch. Nilsen was Guest of Honor during the festival and several of her films were shown in a retrospective program. Eva also got the NORDIC/DOCS HONORARY AWARD 2022
SMILE and WAVE won the award for best documentary!
Here is the Jury statement:
In 57 minutes Eva Charlotte Nilsen made a film which was both personal and universal. Using the Norwegian sea and seashore as her canvas, she dives into a personal journey, mystical and sometimes bleak about loss and love. Blending archival material from childhood with outstanding images of Norwegian landscape, Nilsen creates a film of harshness and beauty. A poem.
It was Ellen Jørgensen from the Norwegian Embassy in Paris
who received the prize on behalf of Eva and Norway.
The prize itself is a howling wolf.
After the award ceremony: Ellen Jørgensen (left), Ellinor Jensen, Irena Bilic, Knut Erik Jensen og May Beate Jensen.