Premiering today in Trondheim, Norway, is Utburd, a low budget student film based on myths about children left in the woods to die. But is it really just a myth?
Made by nine film students at NTNU (the university of science and technology in Trondheim), Utburd is the first full-length feature film made in Norway as part of university studies. Having been made over two years, with filming beginning in August 2013, Utburd is their “exam project” and will premiere at the Kosmorama festival on May 2nd.
The somewhat strange and unusual word utburd is a certain type of ghost in Scandinavian folklore. In English it’s called myling, from the ancient Nordic word for murdered; “the phantasmal incarnations of the souls of unbaptized children that had been forced to roam the earth until they could persuade someone (or otherwise cause enough of a ruckus to make their wishes known) to bury them properly” (Wikipedia). The myths about the mylings – unwanted children left in the woods to die – have roots in real history, as unmarried young women giving birth to “bastard” offspring was a big shame through the centuries. As late as the 19th century, most murders in Norway were infanticides.
Following in the footsteps of previous Nordic folklore-based horror hits Troll Hunter and Thale, Utburd is about the young author Adrian who is working on his second book, about the myling myth. Unfortunately, he is suffering from writer’s block, so he joins his friends on a cabin trip to get some stress relief. During the stay, Adrian talks about the myths and legends of the unwanted babies, but soon the gang wonders if the mylings are just old ghost stories, or if there is something more to them than that.
The 75-minute film is directed by Astrid Thorvaldsen, who says the production spent two thirds of their money on practial effects and the monsters. The 150.000 kr budget (18.200 euros / 25.000 dollars) was provided to a large extent by the university, with contributions from power company TrønderEnergi, parents and own pockets. After the film was shot, the producer also got funds from a regional public film development fund.
The script is written by Jonas L. Hustad, and the film is produced by Elias Nonås. The main actors are Jonas L. Hustad, Jenny Kaatz, Marte Ingvild Stordahl, Jørgen Hunstad, Asbjørn Røen Halsten.
Distribution beyond the Kosmorama festival appearance is at the time of writing not decided.
Behind the scenes video:
Do not confuse this film with the Danish zombie short, Udbrud (aka Outbreak).