This January, filmmakers and film lovers from all over the world will convene to celebrate the 2019 Tromsø International Film Festival.

The Tromsø International Film Festival, also known as TIFF, is the biggest film festival in Norway. The festival’s primary aim is to help promote better knowledge and understanding of film as an art form. The TIFF selects and screens films from all over the world.

The festival is held annually in Tromsø, Norway. The primary screening venue of the festival is the public cinema Aurora kino Focus, which has six screens and can accommodate 936 people.

Several other venues all over Tromsø also have a role in the festival, including the Verdensteatret, the oldest cinema building in Norway, the Hålogaland Teater, the KulturHuset, and the Driv Student House.

One of the key features of the festival is its outdoor cinema which is stunning thanks to Norway’s dark star-filled nights.

The Tromsø International Film Festival was made thanks to the support of several key organizations and institutions. These include Tromøs County, the Tromsø Municipality, SpareBank 1 Nord-Norge, Leroy Aurora, the Arctic University of Norway, Norway’s Arctic Student Union, Mediehuset iTromsø, Montages, Norges Råfisklag, Total Renovering, Telenor, Mydland AS, Ishavskraft, Tank Design, The North Norwegian Film Centre, Ramsalt, Diode AS, Biltrend, Coop North, Mack Brewery, Clarion Hotel The Edge, Jekta Storsenter, AT Plan & Arkitektur AS, as well as many others.

2019 will mark the 29th anniversary of the Tromsø International Film Festival. The TIFF has announced that the festival will open with Green Book by Peter Farrelly, a film inspired by the real life story of Don Shirley and “Tony Lip” Vallelonga and their journey through the Southern part of the United States during the 1960’s. The organizers also announced that the festival will close with Hvor Man Vender Tilbake (Where Man Returns) by Egil Haskjold Larsen, a film that depicts the relationship between man and nature.

Some of the other films entered into the official competition include the Birds of Passage by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, Core of the World by Natalya Meshchaninova, The Man Who Surprised Everyone by Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov, Too Late to Die Young by Dominga Sotomayor Castillo, Happy as Lazzaro by Alice Rohrwacher, and many more.

The festival will also screen a collection of short films and documentaries during its Films of the North program in its Outdoor Cinema.

The History of the Tromsø International Film Festival

The Tromsø International Film Festival was founded in 1991 by Aurora Kino IKS, and was previously known as Tromsø Kino. Kino owns a cinema chain and runs theatres in three northern counties in Norway.

The inaugural festival held in 1991 had about 5,200 attendees.

Adding to the main festival, the TIFF founded Silent Film Days in 2006. This is a unique platform that creates partnerships between professional musicians and film.

These musicians get to create special music for silent movies of all genres and have them shown at the festival. In 2014, the Silent Film Days had about 1,770 attendees.

In 2010, the Culture Collaboration Treaty was established between Norway and Russia, allowing the TIFF to work with the film community in Northwest Russia. The Tromsø International Film Festival has since becine the main avenue to import and export films between Norway and Russia.

In 2013, TIFF created the Verdens Beste- Tromsø Children’s Film Festival. The festival focuses on promoting high-quality films for children from ages 2-15. The festival’s program consists of screenings of short and feature-length films, both live action and animation, workshops, seminars, and other film-related activities for children.

The Tromsø International Film Festival continues year upon year. The 2018 event had about 60,135 admissions. This figure includes 109 media representatives and 267 volunteers out of 1,559 accredited participants, and 10,905 individual attendees.

The festival has reported about 26 million NOK in revenue from its events, while the wider community has recorded a huge income as a result of the money generated from attendees.

Festival Program, Awards, and Past Winners

The Tromsø International Film Festival receives hundreds of film submissions. It has the following categories:

  • Competition Program – This program consists of twelve films that compete for the Aurora Prize.
  • Horizons – This program offers a variety of high-quality films of all genres.
  • Horizon East- This program offers a variety of high-quality films from Finland, Russia, and the Baltic States
  • Focus – This program focuses on everyday life—from drama, comedy, politics, ethnicities, economics, etc. The 2019 festival will focus on issues concerning Brazilian society.
  • Girl Power – This category promotes amazing and inspiring stories about women.
  • Cold War, Moving Pictures – This section focuses on the Cold War era.
  • Arabiyat – This section features inspiring stories about Arab women.
  • Overdrive – This section screens films with strange plots.
  • Critics’Choice- This program presents films carefully curated by the festival and the Norwegian Film Critics’ Association.
  • Films from the North- This category consists of films from the Barents Region.
  • Special Screenings- This program provides exclusive film experiences such as the Winter Cinema screening, sing-alongs, and film concerts.
2017 Jury

Below are the following awards, prizes, and recent winners at the Tromsø International Film Festival.

  • The Aurora Prize

2018- Western by Valeska Grisebach

2017- The Fits by Anna Rose Homers

  • The Tromsø Palm Award

2018- I Will Always Love You, Conny by Amanda Kernell

2017- Midsummer Night by Jonas Selberg Augustsen

  • The Norwegian Peace Film Award

2018- A Man of Integrity by Mohammad Rasoulof

2017- Hunting Flies by Izer Aliu

  • The Tromsø Audience Award

2018- Close Knit by Naoko Ogigami

2017- Sealers-One Last Hunt by Trude Berge Ottersen and Gry Elisabeth Mortensen

  • The FIPRESCI Award

2018- Angels Wear White by Vivian Qu

2017- Graduation by Cristian Mungiu

  • The Don Quijote Prize

2018- Soldiers’ Story from Ferentari by Ivana Mladenovic

2017- Heartstone  by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundson

  • The Faith in Film Award

2018- Per Fugelli- Siste Resept by Erik Poppe

2017- Forever Pure by Maya Zinshtein

How to Enter Your Film

Film submissions for the Tromsø International Film Festival can be submitted through the European Documentary Network (EDN). To do so, visit the link below.

The deadline for submission of films for the 2019 festival was November 28, 2018.

The festival has different guidelines for each film category. Read the submission rules and guidelines on the festival’s official website at to find out more.

For all other important information about TIFF, you can visit their website at

The Tromsø International Film Festival will run from January 14-20, 2019.


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