Born in Bærum, Norway in 1975, JANNICKE SYSTAD JACOBSEN has spent most of her career working as a documentary filmmaker. For her debut fiction film, TURN ME ON, DAMMIT!, she received the Award for Best Screenplay at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and was named by Variety as one of “Ten European Directors to Watch” at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. She also received the Independent Distribution Award for the best debut film in the Extra Section at the 2011 International Rome Film Festival. She also received the Independent Distribution Award for the best debut film in the Extra Section at the 2011 International Rome Film Festival, and “Best European First Feature” at the Mons International Love Film Festival (Belgium).
Jannicke Systad Jacobsen studied film directing at FAMU, the Czech Republic’s national film school, and at the London International Film School. She also studied Theatre Science and Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo. While Systad Jacobsen studied mainly fiction filmmaking and her first short after graduation, WHEELS (1999), was a narrative film, she has spent over twelve years as a documentary filmmaker. Her documentaries have been non-traditional, very personal, and marked by a dry sense of humor and a political interest. Her first short documentary, A LITTLE RED DOT (2001), is an absurdist fable about what happened when the postal service between Taiwan and China was resumed after almost forty years of interrupted communication. As the Chinese would not accept a Taiwanese flag on the stamps, it was hidden as a tiny red dot next to a lighthouse. Her second short, THE STAMP AND THE LIGHTHOUSE (2002), is a personal and philosophical essay on the changes happening in Norway as post offices and lighthouses were closed due to budget reductions. WAR ON PARANOIA (2003) is another personal film, in this case Systad Jacobsen’s reaction to the military build-up around the American embassy in Oslo in the aftermath of 9/11.
Her TV special, “Sandmann – The Story of a Socialist Superman” (2005), is a whimsical look at the rise and fall of East German socialism through the adventures of Sandmann, a beloved puppet character on East German TV. “Sandmann” was nominated for the Norwegian national TV prize for Best Documentary. The six-minute short THE CLOWN CHILDREN (2005) tells the story of a day in the life of two destitute boys who put on makeup and costumes and perform for spare change on the streets of Guatemala City. THE CLOWN CHILDREN was shown at more than seventy international film festivals and received a Special Mention as Best Documentary at the Berlin Interfilm Festival and was runner-up for the Adult’s Jury Award for Best Documentary Film at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, among other prizes. “The Pizza Fairy Tale” (2007) was part of a TV cinéma vérité style documentary series, ”Those Who Built the Country,” made as an homage to Norwegian factory workers. The film is a droll observation of workers in a frozen pizza factory in a remote village and their dedication to increasing production of their bestselling Pizza Grandiosa.
The documentary feature, SCENES FROM A FRIENDSHIP (2009), is about the strange, yet special friendship between two Norwegian childhood buddies in their early thirties: musician/photographer Erlend Mikael Sæverud and singer/songwriter Alexander Stenerud. While the film documents real people and has no script, it makes use of narrative techniques, and displays the dry sense of humor found in her earlier films. This film was compared to the work of Roy Andersson and Jim Jarmusch when it was released theatrically in Norway. Systad Jacobsen wrote the script for TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! while she was shooting SCENES FROM A FRIENDSHIP, and she credits it as being a major influence.
Systad Jacobsen also wrote and illustrated a comic book, ”Viva Cliché,” released in 2006, and has published both essays and columns in print. In November 2011, Jannicke Systad Jacobsen was awarded a grant for talented directors by the Norwegian Film Institute to develop her second feature, THE REMNANTS OF PONTUS HALMSTRØM, a tragicomic love story about what a person leaves behind when he dies and those who have to deal with it.