Ajyal Film Festival 2023

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The Arctic Camels (Kamel)

Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Film Festival 2019

Karl Emil Rikardsen / Feature Documentary / Norway / 2019 / 75 min / Colour / DCP / In English, Mongolian, Norwegian
Rated: Parental guidance is advised. Some material may be inappropriate for young children.


Siblings Torarin and Svalin live with their parents in Akkarfjord, way up in Arctic Norway. Initially wanting horses to ride, they quickly get over their disappointment when their father buys them two Bactrian camels instead. The plan is to train them and build a camel centre offering rides to tourists—but camels are stubborn animals, and teaching them is certainly not a job for an amateur. Looking for outside help, the family pack their bags and head on an expedition to Mongolia, hoping to find a professional who will accept an invitation to travel to Norway and begin training their camels for riding.

Deep in the Gobi Desert, they find the perfect candidate. But the family are not prepared for Mongolian training methods, preferring a much softer approach to disciplining the animals. Told from Torarin’s perspective, the film shares his journey and feelings towards incorporating the Mongolian practices into their Nordic-European way of life. Set against the beautiful contrasting landscapes of Mongolia and Norway, ‘The Arctic Camels’ is a charming and bumpy ride that observes our relationships to, and expectations of, working animals.

About the Director

Karl Emil Rikardsen is a producer and director from Harstad, Norway. He studied philosophy and economics before studying media at Volda University College in 1984. He has directed, written and produced more than 30 films, including single documentaries, documentary series and fiction films. He directed the 8-episode series ‘Salt & Pepper’, following the socialization of bears and wolves at the world’s northernmost Polar Zoo.


Karl Emil Rikardsen
Karl Emil Rikardsen
Knut Skoglund, Karl Emil Rikardsen
Tell Aulin, Bodil Kjærhauge, Klaus Heinecke
Anna Björk, Maria Stevnbak Westergren
Viggo Knutsen
Sales Company
Autlook Filmsales GmbH
Production Company
Relation04 Media in collaboration with Pomor Film
Bor & Bestla, Torarin Sætereng, Svalin Sætereng, Oddveig and Øystein Sætereng

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