A TV documentary about Shabana. New Fritt Ord grants in October

November 27 2022

Fritt Ord’s list of ordinary allocations in October for more than NOK 100 000 has been updated to include grants for a wide variety of different projects, including a documentary series about Shabana Rehman.

“She is our nobility. She is the dream of freedom
who is known in Norwegian as: The most contrary of women”.
André Bjerke’s poem about women who speak their mind and have the courage to take a stand was read aloud as an homage to Shabana Rehman on 15 November, when she was awarded this year’s Ossietzky Prize at the House of Culture in Oslo.
The Norwegian-Pakistani comedian, writer, columnist and social commentator was awarded the prize by Norwegian PEN for a long life of indomitable civil courage. Now her courage and her life are being brought to television. Graham Film is producing a 4-part documentary series about Shabana Rehman. The first three episodes will be finished already by January.
The Fritt Ord Foundation has provided NOK 500 000 in production support. Shabana Rehman received the Freedom of Expression Foundation Prize in 2002, along with the social commentator Aslam Ashan.

Shabana 2
Shabana Rehman is open and outspoken in the new documentary series. Photo: Vegar Aase

In the public spotlight
The film team has shadowed Shabana since 2017, recently following her through a gruelling course of cancer treatment. After receiving a heart-breaking diagnosis in January 2022, she has been very open about her difficult, long-drawn-out battle with pancreatic cancer. The documentary series includes many flashbacks from the years that have elapsed since Shabana’s début on the Norwegian stage prior to the new millennium. She gained even more notoriety, love and hatred in 2004, when she “lifted Najumuddin Faraj Ahmad , AKA Mulla Krekar” off the ground at a popular Oslo night club. The lift was subsequently interpreted as a statement.
Her many other statements and stunts have included turning up naked at the Norwegian daily newspaper Dagbladet, her body painted with the flag of Norway. Rehman has often been an advocate of strong opinions, presenting them in the guise of humour.
She did not allow anyone to control her
“Shabana was exposed to social control when growing up at Holmlia. She was not willing to accept that”, comments producer Anders Graham.
“Shabana has meant a great deal for integration and to the struggle against social control. She has opened entirely new windows of opportunity for young girls”, he says, adding that he believes her own older brother symbolises that change.
“He was more or less ‘tasked’ with keeping an eye on her. Now he has joined the fight for the liberation of all women”, Graham remarks.
Rehman has also attracted international attention, as several of her actions have made sensational headlines in several parts of the world. Her experiences include living abroad in exile, then subsequently making world tours, as the documentary shows, Rehman hopes the series will also reach viewers abroad.
“The message is international and universal”, as she puts it.

Shabana 1
Director Vegar Aase has shadowed Shabana Rehman all over. Pictured here at the award ceremony on 15 November 2022. Photo: Henrik Pryser Libell

Open about her cancer treatment
The film company has already concluded a broadcasting agreement with Altibox, and it is currently in negotiations with other viewing platforms. The director is Vegar Aase and Rabea Junge Wold is producer number two. The film-makers say they would like to portray everything about Shabana, from the time she arrived in Norway as a two-year-old, through her stand-up comedy debut at the Lille Smuget night club, to the ‘Mulla lift’, to theatre performances, life in New York, her love life, the organisation of ‘Born Free’, and the Stovner show, to mention just a few of her activities.
“Shabana has had to put up with a great deal of resistance from her own people as well as from society-at-large”, Graham points out.
He says that Rehman agreed to do the documentary not least so that she could explain the uproar surrounding her organisation ‘Born Free’, which led to it losing its state subsidy from one day to the next.
“All the details about the furore around Born Free were not made public when I stood in the thick of things and tried to fight back. My legal rights were set aside and I experienced suddenly not having the same freedom of expression as those who started the trouble. Now, I will be able to talk about everything that was going on behind the scenes. Researchers and other key individuals were involved”, Rehman continues.

Skjermbilde 2022 11 23 kl. 03.02.09
Director Vegar Aase, producer Rabea Junge Wold, Shabana Rehman herself and producer Anders Graham at the House of Culture. Photo: Graham Film

A thread of hope
So far, this most contrary of women has proved even her physicians’ gloomiest predictions wrong. In September, the Ossietzky Prize was awarded to her in the building where she lives to be on the safe side, since there was no guarantee that she would still be alive for the award ceremony on 15 November. A fund-raiser to pay for treatment in Germany has given Rehman a tiny inkling of new hope.
Her condition has varied greatly during the time the team has shadowed her in hospitals and airports, at concerts and with friends, family and her sweetheart. She has even visited and worked with a Sámi shaman.
“Shabana does everything she can to remain healthy”, says Graham, who hopes for the best. He and the others will make the fourth and final episode once they know how the cancer treatment has gone.

Along with the documentary about Rehman, a number of other projects received financial support in October. The projects include book manuscripts, documentary films, podcasts, conferences, seminars and theatre performances. See the list here: (in Norwegian)

Bevilgninger til større, ordinære søknadssaker, oktober 2022 (søknader om kr 100 000 og mindre)

Anders Nordstad, manusutvikling av boken “Mat – alvorlig talt”, kr 75 000

Andreas Ribe-Nyhus, manusutvikling av boken “Hva er fengsel?”, kr 150 000

ANTIPODE FILMS AS, produksjon av dokumentarfilmen “Den andre siden”, kr 300 000

Arena for Journalism in Europe, “inclusion grants” for Dataharvest-konferansen, kr 150 000

Bjørn Hatterud, manusutvikling av boken “Blokka på Bjerke”, kr 125 000

Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall, kunstboken “FREIHEIT Lars Ø Ramberg”, kr 100 000

Borgen Production AS, utvikling av dokumentarfilmen “Oslo”, kr 150 000

Calina Pandele Yttredal, manusutvikling av kunstnermonografien “Portal til det sanselige”, kr 85 000

Cecilie Arentz-Hansen, manusutvikling av bok om tidlige kvinnelige leger, kr 125 000

Cecilie Tyri Holt, manusutvikling av boken “Heksehammeren”, kr 50 000

Daisy Sælen Hafstad, manusutvikling av boken “Mine damer og herrer og alt midt imellom – norsk transhistorie”, kr 100 000

Deanu ja Várjjat museasiida, “UT I VIDE VERDEN – I dialog med John Savios kunst” – utstilling og katalog, kr 75 000

Differ Media, produksjon av dokumentarfilmen “Stayers”, kr 200 000

Differ Media, “Climate Story Lab Nordic”, kr 150 000

Erlend Wichne, manusutvikling av boken “Baksida av broderiet. Essayer om oversettelse”, kr 75 000

European Implementation Network, Protecting freedom of expression by supporting the implementation of judgments of the European Court, kr 200 000

Eva Undheim, manusutvikling av bok om odelskonflikter, kr 125 000

Feil Teater, den interaktive ungdomsforestillingen “Anonymous”, kr 50 000

Filmbyrået Jack AS, “Jack presenterer! Visningsserie for kunstfilm”, kr 75 000

FRAFJORD MEDIA, podkasten “Kvinner i krig”, kr 100 000

Goksøyr & Martens, utvikling av teaterprosjektet “PÅ HÅNDEN (LIVET #4)”, kr 150 000

Graham Film as, produksjon av dokumentarserie om Shabana Rehman, kr 300 000

Harald Dag Jølle, manusutvikling av boken “Ytterst i verden. På jakt etter en polarkultur”, kr 125 000

Hilde Hannah Buvik, teateroppsetningen “Det blåser innenfra (jeg liker meg best der de har den fine kaffemaskinen)”, kr 75 000

HOLMLIA KULTURHAVN, debattserie i regi av Holmlia Kulturhavn, kr 100 000

Hulias Film AS, produksjon av dokumentarfilmen “Det norske skatteparadiset”, kr 200 000

INTERNASJONAL FRED OG FORSTÅELSE, “Atom-podden”, kr 90 000

INTERNATIONAL P.E.N., Research and Campaigning Advocacy for Eurasia work, kr 400 000

INTHEMOOD FILM AS, utvikling av dokumentarfilmen “Fra poteter til pomfritt. Hva har skjedd med maten vår?”, kr 150 000

Jens Emil Asp, podkasten “Bitcoinsnakk”, kr 75 000

Kari Løvaas, manusutvikling av boken “Skapelsens sukk og klage II. Et bestiarum”, kr 75 000

Katharina Barbosa Blad, gruppeutstillingen “Vanlige dager” på Galleri Sagene Kunstsmie, kr 75 000

Kilden kjønnsforskning.no, konferansen “Likestilling for framtida – 10 år etter Skjeie-utvalget”, kr 40 000

KingsMountain Productions AS, utvikling av dokumentarfilmen “Siste utflukt” om Lars Saabye Christensen, kr 100 000

Kjetil Røed, manusutvikling av boken “Tenkende kjærlighet”, kr 125 000

Knut Rognerud, manusutvikling av boken “Moldeoligarken”, kr 100 000

Kristina Quintano, manusutvikling av boken “Smugler eller grenselos”, kr 100 000

Kristina Quintano, Fluktfestivalen 2023, kr 100 000

LANDMARK FILM AS, produksjon av dokumentarfilmen “Breaking Ice”, kr 150 000

LANDSFORENINGEN KUNSTSENTRENE I NORGE, manusutvikling av antologien “Kunstsentrenes vekselstrøm”, kr 75 000

Likestillingssenteret, vandreteaterforestillingen “Heksenatt”, kr 60 000

Line Marie Warholm, manusutvikling av sakprosabok om foreldrerollen, kr 50 000

LITTERATURHUSET I SKIEN, Litteraturhuset i Skien 2022-2023, kr 225 000

Liv Klakegg Dahlin, manusutvikling av boken “Sigrun Berg – designer, kunstner og sosial entreprenør”, kr 100 000

Magne Flemmen, manusutvikling av boken “Karl Marx: en innføring”, kr 100 000

Magnus Lysbakken, “Rytmene” – dokumentar- og filmkurs i bydel Grorud, kr 60 000

Mai Vo, bokmanuset “Vær som vann, min venn – en historie om de vietnamesiske båtflyktningene som ble norske”, kr 150 000

Maria Lavik, manusutvikling av boken “Odelsskam”, kr 125 000

Marianne Heske, kunstprosjektet “Wittgenstein’s Boat”, kr 150 000

MÁRKOMEANNU AS, Giellavahkko 2022 (Samisk språkuke), kr 50 000

Markus Mollestad, festivalen “Et årsverk 2022 – unge visjoner”, kr 90 000

Mechanix Film AS, produksjon av dokumentarfilmen “Tax Wars”, kr 250 000

Medieoperatørene as, lansering av dokumentarfilmen “Straff”, kr 75 000

Medieoperatørene as, lansering av dokumentarfilmen “Ibelin”, kr 150 000

MEMOARNORSK ORGANISASJON FOR MUNNLEG HISTORIE, “Lytt!” – festivaldag for alle under Memoarkonferansen 2023, kr 100 000

Mette Cecilie Johansen, manusutvikling av boken “Alenemødre”, kr 100 000

Mikkel Berg-Nordlie, manusutvikling av boken “En kort introduksjon til samenes historie”, kr 100 000

MORILD FILM AS, utvikling av dokumentarfilmen “Intet straffbart forhold”, kr 150 000

Motlys AS, utvikling av dokumentarfilmen “Søstre”, kr 150 000

Munchmuseet, katalogen “Munch og medisin”, kr 100 000

Maastricht European Journalism Centre, “Verification Handbook for Visual Investigations”, kr 100 000

NINA ANSTEN STUDIO, utgivelse av kunstnerboken “Hanne Friis, Sirkulasjon”, kr 50 000

Nord universitet, “International Rosa Luxemburg Conference 2023”, kr 75 000

Nordisk poesifestival – Rolf Jacobsen-dagene, Nordisk poesifestival | Rolf Jacobsen-dagene 2023, kr 150 000

Nordland fylkesbibliotek, poesiprosjektet “Det nye nord”, kr 100 000

NORGES TEKNISK-NATURVITENSKAPELIGE UNIVERSITET NTNU, podkast om læreraksjonen 1942, kr 60 000

Nynorsk kultursentrum, musea for skriftkultur, teateroppsetningen “Eit anna blikk”, kr 100 000

Oeivind Arneberg, ny serie om klassisk sakprosa innenfor humaniora – “Tanker om livet”, kr 150 000

Organisasjonen Voksne for Barn, Barn i Norge-konferansen, om foreldrerollen, kr 60 000

PIKENEBROEN AS, Barents Spektakel – TRUST, kr 300 000

Rafiki Art Initiatives (RAI), podkasten “RAI Sessions”, kr 70 000

Relation04 Media AS, produksjon av dokumentarfilmen “Herleiks signaturer”, kr 100 000

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), “Unravel the truth behind press freedom violations: Scale up RSF’s investigative activities”, kr 150 000

RiddoDuottarMuseat, seminaret “Sami museum’s encounters with cultural heritage, repatriation and arts”, kr 75 000

Roret Ørland kulturforetak KF, teateroppsetningen “Husmorskolen”, kr 50 000

Runo Isaksen, podkast og møterekke om moderne familierelasjoner i litteratur og virkelighet, sesong 2, kr 100 000

SAFEMUSE, SAFE HAVENS FOR ARTISTS, markeringen “FRI KUNST 2023”, kr 75 000

SCREEN STORY FILM OG TV AS, produksjon av dokumentarfilmen “Renessanseprinsen” om William Heimdal, kr 150 000

Sigrid Øvreås Svendal, manusutvikling av boken “Dansekunst i Norge gjennom 1900-tallet”, kr 100 000

SIGURD WINGE AS, “Sigurd Winge og Båtfrisen” – utstilling og katalog, kr 100 000

Simon James-Eide, manusutvikling av tegneserieboken “Når er det nok?”, kr 75 000

SKRIFTENSPEILET AS, livepodkasten “Glasshus – vi anmelder hets”, kr 70 000

Solum Bokvennen AS, utgivelse av “Oscar Wilde: Kritiske essays” på norsk, kr 30 000

Stian Bromark, manusutvikling av boken “Tyrkia – landet mellom to verdener”, kr 150 000

Stiftelsen Bymuseet i Bergen, “Byen og kunnskapen” – utstilling på Bryggens Museum, kr3

Stiftelsen Internasjonal Studentfestival i Trondheim, kulturprogram under festivalen ISFiT, kr 100 000

Stiftelsen Kunstnernes Hus, satsing på filmutstillinger på Kunstnernes Hus, kr 300 000

STIFTELSEN KÅKÅ KVERULANTKATEDRALEN, KÅKÅ|nomics 2022, kr 300 000

Stiftelsen Lenken, utstillingen “Politi i krig og fred”, kr 100 000

Stiftelsen Litteraturhuset, Litteraturhuset 2023-2025, kr 2100 0 000

Stiftelsen Tromsø Internasjonale Filmfestival, tre sideprogrammer under TIFF2023, kr 250 000

STIFTELSEN VILLVIN KUNSTHÅNDVERKER- MARKED, “GENERATION WHY; Kommunikasjon gjennom objekt” – utstilling og seminar, kr 50 000

Ten Thousand Images AS, produksjon av dokumentarfilmen “Lapp versus Same”, kr 200 000

Terje Schrøder, arkivprosjektet “Great Garlic Girls – et stykke norsk kulturhistorie”, kr 100 000

Trondheim Dokumentarfestival, Trondheim Dokumentarfestival 2022, kr 100 000

UpNorth Film AS, utvikling av dokumentarfilmen “NOCEBO – The Mind-Body Enigma”, kr 150 000

UpNorth Film AS, USA-lansering og markedsføring av dokumentarfilmen “Praying For Armageddon”, kr 150 000

Vega Scene, debatt- og samtaleserien “Teatral virkelighet”, kr 100 000

Vestnorsk filmsenter AS, Dokumentarkonventet 2022, kr 120 000

Von Mørner AS, utvikling av dokumentarfilmprosjektet “Utenfor”, kr 150 000

Øystein Milli, manusutvikling av boken “Dødelig brorskap”, kr 125 000

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