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Lost Disney short film found in Norway

A copy of a 1927 Walt Disney cartoon which was thought to be lost has been found in northern Norway, the country's National Library said on Thursday.

Lost Disney short film found in Norway
The National Library of Norway (pictured) said it had digitized the film and sent a copy to The Walt Disney Company. Photo: Nasjonalbiblioteket/Wikicommons

The film — an almost complete version of "Empty Socks", the first Christmas film by the US entertainment giant — was discovered during an inventory at the library's facility in Mo i Rana, near the Arctic circle.

"At the beginning, we didn't know it was a lost cinematographic treasure," Kvale Soerenssen, an archivist at the library, said in a statement.

"The film was in two reels which weren't clearly labelled."

The original version of "Empty Socks" had a duration of 5:30 minutes, but between 30 and 60 seconds from the central part were missing in the footage found in Norway, which was authenticated by Disney cartoonist David Gerstein.

The film stars Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit, a predecessor of Mickey Mouse who appeared in 26 movies by Walt Disney and his countryman Ub Iwerks.

The National Library said it had digitized it and sent a copy to The Walt Disney Company.

Before this find, the only known copy of "Empty Socks" was a 25-second sequence preserved at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The Norwegian film originally belonged to a private individual, before ending up in the collection of the Norwegian Film Institute, which handed over its archive to the National Library of Norway.

Most of the library's works and documents are kept in a high-security bunker in Mo i Rana.

According to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, the nitrocellulose reels — a highly flammable compound — are stored in a room with controlled temperature and humidity.

The National Library has launched a large digitisation project to make its collection more accessible, which has helped discover lost documents.

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FILM

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
 
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