Turn Me On, Dammit! gets Tuscaloosa go-ahead

The Tuscaloosa Arts Council has backtracked on its decision not to show a Norwegian film about teenagers’ sexuality after members of the public expressed an interest in seeing the movie despite the misgivings of a local pastor.

Turn Me On, Dammit! gets Tuscaloosa go-ahead
Photo: New Yorker Films

The Arts Council last week said it had decided not to show the acclaimed film, Turn Me On, Dammit!, as part of the Bama Art House summer series following complaints from a Methodist pastor and queries from the mayor.

The pastor, John Kearns, registered his opposition amid concerns that a film detailing the sexual awakening of a 15-year-old girl in a small Norwegian town was "not in step with community standards".

But the Arts Council on Friday reversed its decision after city officials reassured the group that its public funding would not be jeopardized, reported.

”The Arts Council came to this decision after receiving feedback from community members in support of the film as well as consulting with the City of Tuscaloosa," the Arts Council said in a statement.

"The city emphasized that future funding for the organization is not linked with programming decisions. Public funds will not be directed toward the screening of the film, but will be presented entirely with sponsor dollars."

The film’s director, Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, last week said she had never intended to offend anyone with her film, which she said anyone who watched it would see contained a Christian conservative message about waiting before having sex.

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Better luck next year: Norway’s Oscar drought continues

Hopes that Norway would claim its first Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film were dashed when ‘Kongens nei’ (English title: The King’s Choice) was not among the nominees announced on Tuesday.

Better luck next year: Norway's Oscar drought continues
'Kongens Nei' got a 'nei' from the Oscar committee. Photo: Paradox Film
Director Erik Poppe’s film about King Haakon VII’s resistance to the Nazi invasion of Norway had survived the cut from 85 submissions to nine but was not among the five finalists revealed on Tuesday. 
Adding insult to injury, Norway's two Scandinavian neighbours Denmark and Sweden are among the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film with ‘Land of Mine' and ‘A Man Called Ove’, respectively. The other films that will vie for the award at the Oscars gala in Los Angeles next month are 'The Salesman' (Iran), 'Tanna' (Australia) and 'Toni Erdmann' (Germany).
‘Kongens nei’ was hoping to be just the sixth Norwegian nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film. The previous nominees were ‘Ni liv’ in 1957, ‘Veiviseren’ in 1987, ‘Søndagsengler’ in 1996, ‘Elling’ in 2001 and ‘Kon-Tiki’ in 2012. None of those managed to take home the Oscar, so there were high hopes that ‘Kongens nei’ could make Norwegian film history and end the country's Oscar drought. 
Instead, the best Norwegian film buffs can now hope for is that one of their neighbours claims the prize. The Danish entry ‘Land of Mine’ (Original title: Under Sanden) is about a group of German POWs who are made to clear Danish beaches of Nazi mines following the war. Swedish hopeful  'A Man Called Ove' (original title: En man som heter Ove) meanwhile tells the story of a Saab-driving curmudgeon who has his heart opened by a warm new neighbour.
The German entry ‘Toni Erdmann’ is also a clear favourite, with the comedy winning best film, director, actress, actor and screenwriter at the European Film Awards earlier this month. 
Some 720,000 Norwegians saw 'Kongens Nei' in theatres, making the war drama the biggest box office draw in what was the Norwegian film industry's best year in more than four decades