In Transit



Short Documentary Film

19 min 24 sec





The film In Transit is about the repatriation of Norwegian volunteers with the SS forces during the Second World War. It deals with the factual aftermath of a battle on the Eastern Front, where a potential homecoming of the remains of Norwegian political traitors is the central focus.

It looks at contemporary issues regarding reconciliation and closure. The film touches upon current politics reconciling painful aspects of recent history.
Set in an area of Russian Karelia on the Russian/Finnish border close to the Arctic Circle, the film is a cinematic investigation revealing history through landscape.

In 1944 approximately one hundred and twenty Norwegian soldiers serving voluntarily in a German SS unit were killed fighting Soviet forces in the area of the Kaprolat and Hasselmann hills in Karelia. Only a handful of the SS-men managed to escape. The rest of the battalion was either imprisoned in Soviet POW camps, or shot dead and left, unidentified, and neither retrieved or formally buried, for over 60 years. In Norway, the Norwegian SS volunteers are still regarded as political traitors.

In 2005 locals unearthed human remains under a thin layer of soil. Since then, locals, historians and forensic archaeologists have located more remains aiming to identify and arrange proper burials for the dead. This work is still on going.

Through the film, the specifics of place and landscape are haunting and compelling aspects of the story and its significance. In Transit is a cinematic response to the events of human intervention in a historical landscape where conflicts of the past have taken place.
In Transit explores through film the physical, psychological and emotional landscapes that the battle and its legacy occupies. Specific and shocking in itself, the episode raises larger issues, including the effects that such an event has on families and communities: deep, divisive and persistent.
The work deals with contemporary issues of difficulties of reconciliation and closure, and with current politics reconciling the many painful aspects of history, such as the potential homecoming of remains of political traitors. It deals with memory and perhaps more importantly, the forgotten and `buried’ chapters in history. It is an aspect of painful heritage.
Screening History


Film screenings and photographic exhibition at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK. February / March 2014.

Artist presentation and film screening.                                                    Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand. September 2012.

Keynote presentation and film screening of In Transit at ‘Making Visible: Narratives of Place and Belonging’ symposium. Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. September, 2012.

International Docurama Programme at the 31st Uppsala International Short Film Festival, Sweden. October 2012.

Focus Film Festivals Programme at the 20th Ozu Film Festival, Italy. November 2012

‘Best Short Films from Around the World’ programme at The Helsinki Short Film Festival, Finland. November 2012

International competition (doczone) in Concorto Film Festival, Pontenure, Italy. 2012.

International competition at Sapporo International Film Festival, Japan. 2012.

International competition, 10th In The Palace International Short Film Festival, Bulgaria. July 2012.

National competition, 35th Norwegian Short Film Festival, Grimstad, Norway, June, 2012

Official Lab Competition. 34th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. January, 2012.

Featured screening at Oslo Screen Festival. March. 2012.

Tabakalera, San Sebastian, Spain. February. 2012.
Part of Lab programme at 34th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

Official Selection at Aesthetica Short Film Festival, November 2011. York, UK.

Official Selection Encore at Ostrava Kamera Oko,
September 2011, Ostrava, Czech Republic. International Cinematographers Film Festival

Official Selection at Avanca Film Festival, July 2011, Portugal.


Limited edition DVD (120 editions) with an accompanying text by Dr Brieg Powel and photographs by Heidi C Morstang. Internationally distributed. February 2012


‘In Transit’ part of Norwegian Short Documentary Collection. Film available through FilmBib, The Norwegian Film Institute  and the  Public Library Service