* Brussels European FICTS Sports Film Festival
* Transilvania International Film Festival
* Festival 2 Cinéma Valenciennes
* Salem Film Fest
* FrauenFilmTage
* FIFE - International Environmental Film Festival
* Würzburg International Film Weekend
* Scandinavian Film Festival Los Angeles
* Nordic Lights Film Festival in Seattle
* "Cinema Vérité" Iran International Documentary Film Festival
* Filmfest Coast Mediale
* Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival
* Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival
* European Film Forum Scanorama
* Northern Film Festival, Leeuwarden
* Nordic Film Days Lübeck
* DOCSDF International Documentary Film Festival of Mexico City
* Film Festival for Womens Rights, Korea
* The Norwegian International Film Festival
* Göteborg International Film Festival
* DocPoint - Helsinki Documentary Film Festival
* Tempo Documentary Festival
* Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival
* Titanic International Film Festival
* Vision du Réel, Nyon
* The Norwegian Documentary Film Festival
* International Filmfest Emden-ordemey
* Nordic/Docs

* Brussels European FICTS Sports Film Festival: Lauréat dans la catégorie « Le sport au féminin »
* Festival 2 Cinéma Valenciennes: Audience Award
* Würzburg International Film Weekend: Audience Award - Documentary Films
* DOCSDF International Documentary Film Festival of Mexico City: Audience Award for Best Feature-length Documentary
* Nordisk Panorama: Audience Award
* Haugesund: The Ray of Sunshine Award - The Norwegian International Film Festival
* Kanon Award for Best Editing
* The AOK Award - International Filmsfest Emden-Nordemey

The Optimists

Category |Entertainment, Health, Human Interest, Social Issues, Sport, Women
Year | 2013
Country | Norway
Running time | 90’ & 52’ & 3x39'
Format | HD
Production | Skofteland Film AS, Mantaray Film
Director | Gunhild Westhagen Magnor

Not having played a match for 30 years, despite their weekly training sessions, the ladies on the volleyball team THE OPTIMISTS, 66 to 98 years old, are now refining their final match strategy - consisting of laughter, unity, crochet flowers and some handsome Swedish gentlemen.

 «The Optimists» is an extraordinary volleyball team of women between the ages of 66 and 98. Despite weekly training sessions, they have not played a match for 30 years. Now this is exactly their plan. But against whom? Goro (98) is the Queen of the team, with her will power, lust for life and purple Converse shoes. We follow the ladies on and off the court, through highly serious, laughable preparations involving everything from intense training sessions to «team building» crochet, leading up to the grand finale.

Many of us fear age. Youth is our modern world's ideal. These ballplaying ladies might change our ideas, and possibly make us realize that those who do get to experience old age are actually the lucky ones. Gunhild Westhagen Magnor

PRESS IMAGES: (click to preview)




Bio and selected filmography - Director and DOP

Gunhild Westhagen Magnor studied film at Surrey Institute of Art and Design. Her most recent documentary series before she started working on The Optimists were both nominated for Best Documentary Series in Norway 2011; Karanba (NRK, YLE) and Thaifjord 2 (TV Norge). Previous works includes numerous audience favorites, like the doc series Thaifjord 1 (Winner of the TV Award Gullruten 2008, TV Norge/SVT), and her single docs Rabbit King (2007 NRK/Krakow Int. Film Festival), Wings under Water (2005 NRK), Norwegian Wood (TV2) and The Day of The Dead, (Rain Dance International Film festival, 2001).

As DOP she has also shot the theatrical doc The Truth Hunter (2006, dir. Erlend Moe), and was nominated for Best Cinematography for Songs from the Street (NRK 2010, Audience Award, Norwegian Doc Festival/ Krakow Int. Film Festival).