This spring, nine Decorah-area students participated in a stop-motion animation workshop to create episodes for a film about Norwegian immigration to the United States in the 1800s. The workshop is a partnership between E6 Mediaverksted of Fredrikstad, Norway; Studium Actoris of Kråkerøy, Norway; Vesterheim; and the Decorah Home School Assistance Program (HSAP). The workshop in Decorah was organized by Vesterheim and supported by a generous gift to the Vesterheim Annual Fund from Vesterheim Trustee Ruth Sorenson.

The Decorah HSAP students who participated in the workshop are Lucas Fankhauser, Eston Flatland, Shepard Harman-Wood, Eva Kriemelmeyer, Noah Kriemelmeyer, Caleb Johnson, Kaya Johnson, Dominic Wheeler, and Isaiah Wheeler. Their teacher is Kelly Johnson.

The students spent a week with professional Norwegian animators and instructors Katz Plunkett and Gitte Ous from E6 Mediaverksted. They designed backdrops and animated characters and props in scenes. Within the script, which was written by the animators, there were opportunities and freedom for the participants to be creative. One student remarked that although it is sometimes “hard to make things how they actually are in real life, I liked making the motion look real.”

The Decorah students’ scenes will be combined with other scenes animated by Norwegian students to create a film that will be premiered during a large arts festival in December in Fredrikstad, Norway. The goal of the arts festival is to share stories about Norwegian immigration to the United States that act as a mirror to facilitate dialogue about the modern experience of immigration worldwide.

More information about the film’s premiere will be shared as it becomes available later in the year.