Why do we actually celebrate Whitsun?
Even if you, as a young person, belong to the Christian faith, it is not all that easy to relate to the many festivals that occur throughout the year. For many people, it simply means having a day off work or school.
The result is 20 completely new films with not only animation but also presenters, whom the co-producers at DR, UR and Swedish Yle can replace with their own hosts.
The videos are produced by the Norwegian company TV Inter.
“As for the schools, which are of course our target audience, there’s very little material in Norway which explains these things properly and in a way that reaches the target group,” says Pål Solum, project manager at NRK Skole.
The existing material, he says, is often slightly outdated or too adult-oriented.
That is why the aim was to update the offering thoroughly.
The allocation – 10 films about Christian festivals and 10 about holy days in other religions – is based on the new Norwegian curriculum, in which teaching is organised in precisely this way.
Teachers were keen to get new material
In a way, the new material was commissioned directly by the teachers themselves.
“In January last year, we held a workshop with ten teachers on the combined subjects of Christianity, Religion, Outlook on Life and Ethics, known in Norway as KRLE. We haven’t had a lot of resources to put into these subjects in the last five to ten years. But our statistics show that the films about religion we provide are among the most frequently viewed. Teachers rely very much on these videos,” says Pål Solum.
The idea emerged for a modern video series containing humour and warmth, and at the same time this inspired thoughts of a broader, pan-Nordic effort.
It’s not our intention to create a debate with these films, but we’re preparing for viewers’ reactions.Pål Solum, NRK Skole
Thanks to the use of a green background screen in sequences where the presenter is in the frame, the series can be adapted to the co-producers’ specific wishes. In this way, the other Nordic countries can add their own presenters.
NRK and the production company TV Inter have sought to create a series with humour and warmth. In a sense, the commission came directly from Norwegian teachers.
“In our case, we wanted a high-profile presenter from NRK Super. Selma Ibrahim Karlsen features in Supernytt, so all the younger viewers know who she is and think she’s good fun.
She speaks their language,” says Pål Solum.
NRK expect a response
Pål Solum says that NRK expect the new series to provoke reactions.
“Non-religious audiences might think that we shouldn’t be spending money on this. Religious viewers may think that we focus on the wrong issues within their religions. For example, we don’t depict the prophet Mohammed, which in itself is a very topical issue for teachers. It has been a challenge for the animators to tell the story without including images of the prophet. It’s not our intention to create a debate with these films, but we’re preparing for viewers’ reactions,” he says.
To make things easier for the co-producers, all information that is specific to Norway has been added at the end of the videos. That way it can be easily cut out and replaced, and the other Nordic broadcasters can access all the digital material and adapt it to their own requirements.
“We think this is a great and innovative approach to consider in future, when hopefully we’ll be able to collaborate further on projects such as this one. We’ve already discussed this in Nordvision’s knowledge group. After all, we always have a common interest in sharing more content,” says Pål Solum.