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North of the Sun

Brad Van Wert

Norwegian Filmmakers Jørn Nyseth Ranum and Inge Wegge had the desire to pursue a dream. The two wanted to live a simpler life; to break away from the endless electronic banter of email and social media. They also wanted to surf.

The duo opted to buy only food that had passed its expiration date, and take nothing else on their journey but sleeping pads, sleeping bags and surf boards. As the old saying goes: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” But for these two, trash was more than treasure, it was also their shelter.

Ranum and Wegge spent nine months of the cold, Norwegian winter in an uninhabited bay on a remote, arctic island off the coast of Northern-Norway. When they arrived, they scoured the beach for anything they could use to build a shelter. What they found were washed up pallets, drift wood, oil barrels, and trash--tons of trash. Soon, plastic bottles became insulation and old buoys became the wheels of the cart that they crafted to gather their needs. As they worked to build their shelter, they vowed to also clean up all of the other useless garbage that had washed on shore.

During their time, the team managed to collect about three tons of trash-- a surprisingly large amount of garbage for an uninhabited bay, which had washed up from other spots and accumulated on an otherwise pristine beach.

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According to Wegge: “We wanted to do the project, living out there, and feeling how it is to live a simpler life. As we both went to film school and work in the television industry, it was natural to make a film out of the experience.”

Collecting trash and drawing attention to waste and over-consumption wasn’t the only motivation for their adventure. This remote bay holds a well-kept secret; some of the world’s finest surfing waves. Braving the frigid water and facing months of sunless days, these intrepid surfers donned their dry suits and paddled out into some of the coldest, yet kindest, breaks a surfer could ever hope to enjoy. In the heart of winter, they surfed in the dark beneath the majestic Northern Lights.

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“The cameras took a few beatings. Stormy weather and sand is terrible for the equipment. Filming in the water was cold, really cold. We really felt it on the toes and fingers when we did those shots,” said Wegge.

When asked about the true meaning of the film, Wegge had only one thing to say: “Hopefully people go out and follow their own dreams and projects, even if they sound a little crazy.”

Ranum and Wegge have created a sublime film that blends humor with humanity, touches the heart, and speaks to the soul. The pursuit of a dream is the pursuit of passion, strength and understanding. There is an ability in people to affect change; in our environment, in ourselves, and in the way we collectively view this world. North of the Sun is a film that shows how two men pursued a dream and affected change.



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