Next year in March, Star Wars fans will again come from nearly a dozen countries to the tiny Norwegian mountain village of Finse for the Annual VISIT HOTH celebration, deep in the glacier region of central Norway on the edge of the Hardangervidda National Park.
This annual event celebrates one of the most influential movies of all time, The Empire Strikes Back, filmed in Finse in the winter months of 1979, during the worst storms in over 100 years. Visit Hoth is described as Norway’s best example of film tourism in action.
All who come to Finse experience the feeling of Hoth film locations, and, during the weekend the Visit Hoth participants made the trek to these locations on cross country skis, snowshoes, and even by one of the many dog sleds available. Nothing has changed in the four decades since the filming.
This past year, Alan Tomkins (Art Director in dozens of classic films including Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brother and 2001 A Space Odyssey), Oscar-nominated for The Empire Strikes Back, was at the heart of the gathering for the second year in a row, a keynote speaker, also spending time through the weekend signing prints of his artwork and his book ‘Stars and Wars.’
Alan was reunited with his colleague Director Peter MacDonald (four Harry Potter films, Wolverine, Guardians of the Galaxy, and more.)
Mr. MacDonald was back at Hoth for the first time in 40 years. Other speakers included Martin Gant, the special effects master who helped raise Empire to one of the top-rated IMDB movies of all time.
The visitors this year came from near and far, families and individuals, old and young, bringing with them creativity, a creativity that was expressed in many ways. Some were outfitted as the much-loved characters such as Chewbacca, Jawa, Stormtroopers, Snowtroopers, and of course, Princess Leia.
The hallmark of the Visit Hoth event is that it is inclusive and open for all ages.
Miguel Valenzuela, coordinator for the Hoth Children’s Program, said, "We had a great time providing a fun program for the kids, and we are working with Disney to help us create more Star Wars related, hands on, activities for the kids."
Film Tourism & the Future
The Hoth film locations are just the same as they were during those long-ago winter months, preserved forever in the highlands of central Norway. Next year is the fortieth anniversary of the release of the Empire Strikes Back, and planning has already begun. It will be better than ever.
Ian Brodie, New Zealander, photographer, author and film photographer for films that include o The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Narnia has this to say about Visit Hoth,
My experience in Norway with ‘Birkebeinerne’ and ‘The Heavy Water War’ has shown that this country has excellent stories to tell. Norway has every chance to succeed with film tourism on the same level as New Zealand or Scotland...
...Visit Hoth is an excellent example of film tourism and all its benefits in action.
See Ian Brodie's upcoming DKS Telemark Master Film Seminar under Hva Skjer.