In the months before the presentation of her PhD thesis, Nina Sylvia Liland spent much of her free time making the film 'Å fôre en laks' ('How to feed a salmon').

In January, Nina Sylvia Liland was presented as the winner of the Hjernekraftprisen 2014 award. She won the award, which is presented by the Norwegian Association of Researchers, for her film ‘Å fôre en laks’, which she made in her spare time.

Liland started working on the film in September last year and submitted it to the Norwegian Association of Researchers in November. She was scheduled to defend her PhD thesis just a few weeks later.

‘December was an exhausting month for me. But I had to do it. I had made up my mind,’ says the scientist, who is now working at NIFES as a postdoctoral fellow.

A lot of evening work

Liland had wanted to make a film for a long time when she started her project after summer last year.

‘I am very interested in research dissemination,’ says Liland, who also participated in the Research Grand Prix in 2012.

‘I had been thinking about making a video about my field, but you have to have the time for it. So this was an after-hours project.’

Liland says she spent many evenings making the film. Her partner, who has experience from film production, was a great help.

‘He spent a long time editing and working on the sound,’ she says.

A jungle of clips

Liland used a single-lens reflex camera to film the interviews with Head of Research Rune Waagbø and Director of Research Bente Torstensen. Waagbø gave her several of the archive clips, while one clip was found on YouTube.

‘But it was difficult to find videos and music that you’re allowed to use,’ Liland says.

She found the clips about El Niño on a website run by the American authorities.

‘I didn’t want to use images from the industry. I wanted to keep it neutral,’ says Liland, who found it a bit difficult to find her way around the jungle of film clips.

‘But when you’ve done it once, you know how to do it the next time,’ she says.

Reaches a different audience

Liland thinks that most scientists are capable of making a simple film themselves, but she has some good advice for others who may be harbouring a dream of making a film.

‘You learn as you go along, but the result will be better if you can get some help from people who have the right equipment and know-how,’ she says.

Liland is convinced about the advantages of disseminating research through films.

‘Films reach a different audience than texts. The threshold for watching a video is lower than for reading an op-ed article, for example,’ she says.

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