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Interview: Kenneth Karlstad

Norway's New Wave: The Real-Life Roots of 'Kids in Crime'

In an era where teenage life is often sugarcoated or overdramatised on screen, Norwegian filmmaker Kenneth Karlstad serves us a slice of raw, unfiltered youth with his gripping series, "Kids in Crime." In our interview, Kenneth dives into the heart of "Kids in Crime" with us, sharing how his own wild ride from potential film student to real-life rebel inspired this gritty look at teenage life on the edge.

Kenneth Karlstad

KIDS IN CRIME isn't your average teen flick; it's a raw, real story that initially split critics but eventually won big in Norway, proving there's a deep hunger for authentic tales of youth and rebellion.

The series blurs the lines between Kenneth's teenage past in the early 2000's and his characters' present, offering a fresh take on the teen drama genre that resonates across generations. From the thrill-seekers to those feeling the nostalgia of the era, "Kids in Crime" is also about the relationship between youth and authorities and the journey of finding one's place in the world.

In our candid talk with Kenneth he breaks down the creation of the series that’s much more than just a story—it's a reflection on growing up, pushing boundaries, and the unforgettable impact of our formative years.

"Can you tell us about the storyline of 'Kids in Crime'?"

Kenneth: "The storyline is just three teenagers in their late teenage years moving out of their home for the first time and moving together into a house to party and sell drugs. [...] We were very aware of the classical gangster narrative kind of but that was also intentionally [...] We got really bad reviews in the start. And then we won the critics award in Norway"​​.

"What led you to finally tell this story?"

Kenneth: "I wasn't ready to tell that story until now because I never really had the urge to tell that story of my life because for me it has been quite like a bump in the road kind of because I was supposed to study film and go to film school and everything but I dumped out of school at high school. And went into being a kid in crime"​​.

"What was your approach to writing 'Kids in Crime'?"

Kenneth: "The whole writing process and everything because I felt like you know you have it in you when you experienced the subject which it was just about getting it out there. And still also trying to take a step back from how it really happened and stuff like that and tried to see the characters as like real characters"​​.

"What message do you want to convey with 'Kids in Crime'?"

Kenneth: "It was important to kind of if not have a message to them more to make something that they could relate to. But of course, there's always a message. But it has more to do with the authorities and the grown-ups than it has to do with the kids in crime"​​.

"Who are the real antagonists in the story?"

Kenneth: "The real antagonists in kids and crime is the authorities and the grown-ups. And for me, that was quite a revelation when I was plotting it out because you have the antagonist of Freddie and so on. But really, he's just part of the group actually, there's the real antagonists the grown-ups and the police"​​.


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