Northern Lights (1978 film)

Northern Lights
Directed by John Hanson
Rob Nilsson
Produced by Rob Nilsson
John Hanson
Starring Robert Behlen
Susan Lynch
Joe Spano
Music by Ozzie Ahlers
Cinematography Judy Irola[1]
Release dates
  • July 12, 1978 (1978-07-12)
Country United States
Language English

Northern Lights was a 1978 independent film which dramatizes the founding of the Nonpartisan League in North Dakota, a Populist political movement which took place in the American Midwest in the early 1900s.[2]

The film was produced, directed, written and edited by John Hanson and Rob Nilsson, and starred Joe Spano, Robert Behlen, Sue Lynch and Michel Wagner. It was filmed on location in North Dakota, during the fall and winter of 1977, and utilized many locals as extras.

Due to the extreme cold winter weather, with temperatures reaching as low as -40, many of the outdoor scenes had to be shot in short bursts, as cameras and other equipment would only function for a short time, before freezing up.

The film was awarded the Caméra d'Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival for best first feature film (defined as "the first feature film for theatrical screening (whatever the format; fiction, documentary or animation) of 60 minutes or more in length, by a director who has not made another film of 60 minutes or more in length and released theatrically."[3]


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