OSCAR Shorts Special: Eirik Tveiten Talks Night Ride

Director Eirik Tveiten stops by on Close-Up Culture to talk about his OSCAR-shortlisted short film, Night Ride.

The film shares the story of Ebba who is waiting for the tram, an unexpected turn of events transforms the ride home into something uncomfortable and potentially violent. 

Can you tell us where the inspiration came from for the storyline of your short film, Night Ride

The inspiration came from personal experiences and from observing society. The story was framed around an episode when a friend of mine took off with a tram one late night in Oslo.

The narrative follows a woman who, heading home on a cold and snowy winter’s night, inadvertently takes the wheel of a tram car – but that’s just the first twist in this surprising story. As an experienced short filmmaker, how crucial is it to incorporate unexpected twists in a short-format film? 

I wouldn’t say It’s crucial, but it has its advantages. I personally love surprises and I think it is a good way to catch the audience’s attention. 

The narrative goes on to explore serious topics alongside comedic elements – how difficult was it to get that balance right? 

That is a good point because it can be quite challenging to mix elements of gravity and comedy, but I hope the audience follows the changes in tone on our journey. 

Can you tell us a bit about how you approached the casting process, particularly the role of Ebba (played by Norwegian actress Sigrid Kandal Husjord), as well as newcomer Ola Hoemsnes Sandum? 

Sigrid came to our open audition in Trondheim, and I was immediately convinced she was the right person for this part. For the part of Ariel (Transperson) we searched quite some time until a friend of mine suggested Ola. He was only 16 at the time and not a trained actor, but when I finally met him, I was deeply impressed. 

You’ve written and directed 14 short films, having directed your first short, the acclaimed Friendly People, in 2010. Night Ride is now shortlisted for the 95th Academy Awards, in the “Live Action Short Film” category. What are the blessings and the challenges of having a film that’s a potential Oscar contender? 

I have already received a lot of wonderful attention. It can be helpful when I go on to make a feature film. I hope there are not too many challenges. Time will tell. 

Finally, what do you hope audiences take away from watching Night Ride?

Often it seems easier to mind our own business and look the other way when people in our community and other places in the world fall victim to harassment, prejudice, ostracization, and systematic persecution. I would like to raise awareness of these issues and inspire people to find the courage to speak up – and take action.

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