Ellen Ugelstad is a Norwegian filmmaker and artist.


Will an amusing artistresidency in Lofoten lead to less suffering in a small village outside of Nairobi? The idealist Jone insists on the refugees right to work and is thrown into a conflict with the Norwegian Law, while the retired social worker Edith, invites her recently divorced housekeeper for a weekend at her cabin in the mountains. The stewardess Trine is anxious about her first speech ever to be held in her mother´s 70th birthday, while the blind student Hanne dominates and splits the classroom in two.

Fiction (in developement)

Duration: 115 min
Producer: Elisabeth Kvithyll for Nordisk Film

Supported by
Norsk Filminstitutt - Nye veier ideutvikling
Filmkraft Rogaland
Nordisk Film

Script: Einar Sverdrup / Ellen Ugelstad


Jury statement, The Golden Chair Award

This film was ambigious, yet elegant, drawing on real events to provoke complex questions about privilege and interconnectedness. Despite it dramatic implications, it maintained a sense of humor and playfulness that engaged throughout.


The Green Valley is a shortfilm that explores the connection between politics, art and dailylife in a multicultural neighborhood in Oslo. The film is inspired by three real events that took place in the director´s neighborhood.

Fiction / hybrid Short
HD 16:9
Duration: 25 min

Director: Ellen Ugelstad
Script: Einar Sverdrup, Ellen Ugelstad
Cinematography: Janne Lindgren
Producer: Substans Film / Twentyone Pictures

Festivals and screenings
Nordic Docs, 2018
The Norwegian Short Film Festival, 2018; The Golden Chair Award
Nordisk Panorama, 2018; SPECIAL MENTION
Riga Internationale Film Festival, 2018
Los Angeles Scandinavian Film Festival 2019
Minimalen Kortfilmfestival, 2019
Sundsvalla Film Festival, Sweden 2019
Helsinki Internationale Film Festival 2019

Supported by
Norwegian Filminstitute (NFI), South Norwegian Filmcenter, The Audiovisual Fund Of Norway (FFLB), The Freedom Of Expression Foundation (Fritt Ord), Visual Arts Foundation (BKV), Norwegian Photographic Fund (NOFOFO), Norwegian Art Council (Kulturrådet), Substans Film and Twentyone Pictures. 





A filmessay about power and powerlessness in psyciatric healthcare

Through five close and personal testimonies, the film highlights power structures in the health service told by both users, relatives and employees. What does the feeling of powerlessness do to your mental health and to your own feeling of self? How is it to live with the feeling of powerlessness over a longer period of time? How does it affect the people that exercise power?

Documentary, 2018
HD 16:9
Duration: 68 min

Director: Ellen Ugelstad
Script: Einar Sverdrup and Ellen Ugelstad
Cinematography: Audun G. Magnæs and Ellen Ugelstad
Producer: Twentyone Pictures

Supported by
Norwegian Filminstitute (NFI), Viken Film Center, The Audiovisual Fund Of Norway (FFLB), The Norwegian Extrafoundation for Health And Rehabilitation,
The Freedom Of Expression Foundation (Fritt Ord),
Visual Arts Foundation (BKV) and Twentyone Pictures. 

Festivals & Screenings
Oslo Pix, 6. June 2018
Oslo Pix politikk, 7. June 2018
Bergen Internasjonale FIlm Festival, October 2018
Humans International Film Festival, Valencia, Spain February 2019
DokFilm Volda, April 2019
Nordic Docs, Fredrikstad, May 2019
SEPREP yearly conference// 8th of June 2018


In this kafkaesque meeting a mother and her son is fighting a clogged bureaucracy that intensify the personal suffering it is supposed to remedy. The story is based on the directors own experiences with her brother suffering from schizophrenia. The film is inspired by both theater and documentary.

Documentary / Hybrid Short, 2017
HD Red 16:9
Duration: 14.49 min

Honorary Mention, Nordic Docs
The Hourglass, Writers Guild of Norway

Director: Ellen Ugelstad
Cinematography: Audun Magnæs
Editor: Kirsti Marie Hougen, Ellen Ugelstad
Producer: Twentyone Pictures

Supported by
Norwegian Filminstitute LAB (NFI), The Freedom Of Expression Foundation (Fritt Ord) and Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond

Festivals & Screenings
Look and Roll, Switzerland September 2018
Stavanger Theatre, Mental Health Concerence 2017
AMIFF, Artic Moving Image & Film Festival, Harstad, 2017
Høstutstillingen 2017
ØyaKino 2017
Nettkino, july 2017
Cinemateket, Norwegian Shorts
Nordic Docs 2017, Fredrikstad
The Norwegian Shortfilmfestival, 2017


This year’s HOURGLASS award is given by the Writers Guild of Norway, go to a film where the screenplay shines through a complicated piece of work. The film masterfully manages to describe a situation and tell a story that we as an audience know its fiction, but that always feels real. That´s not easy. The films have a clear and apparent story that helps us to understand the frustration and powerlessness the people in the film feels. It’s a story that moves us emotionally while we were watching and sticks around after we have seen it. It shows a side bureaucracy specifically mental health care, that cannot turn our backs to. How mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, often have to put their life on hold in order to care of their sick ones. All because the system is unable to take care of them. This year’s winner is an important film and though it’s a screenplay, it manages to portrait exactly this reality.


Here is an incredible well-played docudrama in incredible concise wrapping. We meet a young boy with a diagnosis in psychiatry. The majority of the film takes place through a bureaucratic, kafkaesque meeting, where Kjetil's ability to work and the ability to ve released is discussed. It goes from cold to lukewarm and back again. The Docudrama is so realistic that many viewers will think that what they experience is from reality. The replicas here sit so it hurts and the actors perform tremendously. The region is tight and cold-blooded, genre play is effective. This film shows how intimate, creative fictions can scarcely replace our documentary film experience, thus reducing the distance between so-called reality and the other, or should we say: the other realities, if they exist



- It takes a lot of nerve to be admitted

When dreams and reality entangle, Torstein identifies himself as a Native American Indian. Indian Summer is the director's personal story about her younger brother, who has battling schizophrenia for 17 years. While feeling trapped in his illness as well as in the hospital, he dreams of being free - living close to nature. The film gives insight into the daily challenges of living and trying to cope with mental illness. 

Documentary, 70 min. 2011

Director: Ellen Ugelstad
Cinematography: Ellen Ugelstad
Editing: Kirsti Marie Hougen
Sound Design: Svenn Jakobsen / Technopilot
Producer: Mediamente and Twentyone Pictures

Festivals & Screenings
Eurodok, Premiere 2011
Dok Leipzig - International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film 2011
The Norweagian Documentary Festival, Volda. 2011
CPH:DOX 2011
Nordische Filmtage Lubeck 2011
Nordic Dox, Bejing, China 2011
The National Annual Art Exhibition 2012 (Høstutstillingen)
European Film Festival 'Integration You and Me'

Nominated for best documentary // Gullruten 2012 (Norwegian Emmy Award)
Nominated for best directing // Gullruten 2012 (Norwegian Emmy Award)
Nominert International Young Talent Award // DOK LEIPZIG
Nominated best documentary Volda // DEN NORSKE DOKFESTIVALEN
Nominert Nordic Dox Award // CPH:DOX

Supported by
The Audiovisual Fund Of Norway (FFLB), Norwegian Filminstitute (NFI), Health and Rehabilitation and NRK



The music video triology "Silent Trilogy" is the result of an artistic collaboration between director Ellen Ugelstad and the band Highasakite. The collaboration started after vocalist Ingrid Helene Håvik saw the documentary Indian Summer, directed by Ellen Ugelstad. The documentary made a strong impression on Ingrid who transcribed all dialogue and transformed it into lyrics. Everything Sank In You portrays the contrast between being confined to an institution and living close to nature, Leaving no Traces deals with nature and culture topics, while Science and Blood Tests explores the boundary between science and emotion, between sick and healthy.






Regi: Ellen Ugelstad
Manus: Hanne Ramsdal, Ellen Ugelstad
Medvirkende: Sigurd Myhre og Ingrid Helene Håvik
Foto: Audun Magnæs
Klipp: Karsten Meinich, Ellen Ugelstad
Scenografi: Kristine WIlhelmsen
Produsent: Natalya Starch, Thomas Robsahm
Lysmester: Christian Koblizek
Lydassistent: Jørgen Werner
B-foto:   Tordis Bersås
Second Assistant Camera: Even Grimsgaard
Prod. ass: Christina Ørbekk Nikolaisen
Prod.ass: Marthe Thu
Stillphotoraphy: Marthe Thu
Etterarbeidskordinator: Espen Osmundsen
Regnskap: Ellen D. Nord and Heidi Christensen Gaukås
Controller:  Monica Hegna
Fargekorrigering: Bonanza / Gudmundur Gunnarsson
Fargekorrigering VFX: Sement og Betong / Christian Berg Nilsen
Finansiering: NFI v. Åse Meyer, Fond for lyd og bilde og Propeller Records.
Thank you -  Cecilie Semec, Jon Endre Mørk




Regi: Ellen Ugelstad
Manus: Ellen Ugelstad
Foto: Ellen Ugelstad
Klipp: Karsten Meinich
Kllippedoktor: Kirsti Marie Hougen
Produsent: Natalya Starch, Thomas Robsahm MOTLYS
Fargekorrigering VFX: Sement og Betong / Christian Berg Nilsen
Finanisering: NFI Dokumentar v. Even Benestad


Regi: Ellen Ugelstad
Innspillingsleder: Joakim Joakimsen
Produsent: Andrea Ottmar / FROKOST FILM
Foto: Audun Magnæs
En ide av : Ellen Ugelstad og Hanne Ramsdal
Manus: Einar Sverdrup og Ellen Ugelstad
Klipp: Ellen Ugelstad
Still photo: Marthe Thu
Fargekorrigering VFX: Sement og Betong / Christian Berg Nilsen
Finanisering: FFLB


When are you too old to learn, when do you stop creating images in your mind? In this documentary we meet a group of people between the ages of 72 and 100 who attend weekly writing courses. The courses are led by professional writers. The film depicts the meeting between the authors and the elderly, giving an insight into some of the texts that are created when the elderly can be heard.

Documentary Short, 2015
HD video 16:9
Duration: 28 min.


Director: Ellen Ugelstad
Cinematography: Ellen Ugelstad and Cecilie Semec
Editor: Robert Stengård
Producer: Frokost Film

Festivals & Screenings
BIFF - The competition section for Norwegian short documentary film