The quintessential Road Trip story by Founder of Norway Communicates, David John Smith takes you on a journey you will not soon forget.
From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to the bastions of power in Washington DC and then westward to the shores of California and beyond, this is a story of life, love, men, women, a cross section in the journey of life.
Excerpt from My American Road Trip:
The collie was conscious, with frightened eyes wide open. Reza was busy feeling the dog's ribs and taking a first aid assessment of its internal organs. The wind whipped through my hair and rain pelted down as I knelt by the dog and continued to hold its head in my hands.
It was still panting quick nervous breaths, as it looked at me with sad, dark eyes. Then in the next instant, the animal heaved what almost seemed to be a sigh of release or relief and exhaled for the last time. The eyes, full of flickering life just seconds ago, now blankly reflected the dismal grey of the Virginia afternoon.
Coming to Kindle in April 2019
Star Wars fans descended from nearly a dozen countries upon the tiny mountain village of Finse for the 3rd Annual VISIT HOTH celebration, deep in the glacier region of central Norway on the edge of the Hardangervidda National Park.
In collaboration with Norway Communicates, this brainchild of filmmaker Andreas Frølich is Norway’s best example of film tourism in action. The annual event celebrates one of the top-rated and influential movies of all time, The Empire Strikes Back, filmed in Finse in the winter months of 1979, during the worst storms in over 100 years.
The Hoth film locations are just the same as they were during those long-ago winter months of 1979. During the weekend the Visit Hoth participants made the trek to these locations on cross country skis, snowshoes, and even by one of the many dog sleds available.
The annual Visit Hoth event is quickly becoming internationally known as Norway’s best example of Film Tourism.
VISIT HOTH: Norway Film Tourism at its best
Film is all about business, culture, tourism and education, and the Wild Telemark is showing the advantages the region offers to film projects nationally and internationally.
The Wild Telemark is an initiative with the Founding Municipalities of Tinn, Notodden andHjartdal, working together to show the unique history, terrain, stories, tradition and culture in this spectacular region.
Building upon the successful film projects that have taken place in the town of Rjukan (Heroes of Telemark, The Snowman, The Heavy Water War, and more), the Wild Telemark is working together with Telemark County as well as other regions in Norway.
Film is all about careers - and cooperation with the Cultural Backpack (den Kulturelle Skolesekken) ensures that students learn that the film business is more than 'camera, action' but includes finance, logsitics, sales, design, construction, creative writing, technology, and so much more.
Ian Brodie (Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Birkerbeineren, Kampen om Tungtvann) is working with Norway Communicates
Exhibitions in London and New York confirm that Leo T is on the right track “to create something new and outrageous that the art world can’t ignore.”
Meet Leo T, aka Svein Tråserud, who was honored as the official contributing artist of the 2018 Notodden Blues Festival.
Over the years, there have been numerous art exhibitions featuring his art, solo as well as group, but with Notodden he embraced the opportunity to work with the festival that has always meant a great deal to him, the region and Blues-lovers all over the world.
Plans together for 2019 are in store on both sides of the Atlantic, including development of artwork for David John´s book ´My Road Trip America´ and other projects.
The `Bluestown Rising´ documentary was recently awarded status as part of the Norwegian national education program ´The Cultural Backpack´ (DKS - Den kulturelle skolesekken)
Together with Telemark County, DKS and Steven Van Zandt´s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation´s teachrock.org the kickoff for this collaboration will take place over two days next spring on
April 10 - 11, 2019 in Skien, Norway, the capital of Telemark.
This is the first European project for the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. According to Bluestown Rising Producer David John Smith;
¨Inclusion in this important program will give students the chance to learn the exciting story of Notodden and its industrial, cultural and musical heritage, and also the chance to work with Steven Van Zandt and the RRFF.¨
Invitations to all Telemark High School teachers will go out early next year.
Together with Norway Communicates, composer is Andreu Jacob Foglietti Nordland in the process of developing and creating a world-class Dolby Music and Film Laboratory.
Andreu Jacob is an acclaimed composer who works with classical, jazz, contemporary, flamenco and other musical styles.
He has composed numerous symphonies and s considered ¨one of the foremost modern composers on the international scene¨. (IMDB)
Andreu Jacob has designed four studios in Spain, France and Portugal, with his design in France being awarded status as having the Best Acoustics of the Year in 2006.
This project fits well with Norway Communicates and the ongoing development of the film industry in The Wild Telemark, including work with Bluestown Rising, as well as with Ian Brodie and the project Film Rjukan.
Together with filmaker Alistair Wayte from Glasgow, Scotland, Bluestown Rising begins a international marketing/ crowfunding campaign.
Featuring exclusive footage, interviews and insights, support our global campaign by following us on our website:
Steven Van Zandt was in town this week of the Notodden Blues Festival. Wiith the film company Kings Mountain we filmed a series of sequences for the upcoming documentary Bluestown Rising.
Supported by the national broadcaster NRK, the Municipality of Notodden, the trade union organization and others, the documentary will be released in 2019.
Photo: Per Ole Hagen
From June we have begun Phase II of the Film Location Rjukan project, in cooperation with Ian Brodie, international known photographer and film location expert.
Late this summer we will launch www.filmrjukan.com in cooperation with Visit Rjukan. Keep an eye open for Film Rjukan and learn more about The Wild Telemark and film possibilities here.
Photo: Ian Brodie
The Hydrogen Production Factory that was located at Vemork is famous as the target of Operation Gunnerside, the February 1943 WWII heavy water operation called the most successful act of sabotage of World War II.
Penetrating a virtually inaccessible location in the frozen mountains near Rjukan, Norwegian commandos successfully destroyed the heavy water production that may have brought Adolf Hitler the atomic bomb.
We are privileged to assist the NIA with the 75th anniversary on February 28th.
We travelled to Memphis, USA with Steven Van Zandt for the International Blues Competition, a competition of 250 bands from all over the world, a week-long event organized by the Memphis-based Blues Foundation.
Thanks to the hosts, we had all access to the most influential studios in town:
Ardent Studios- Sam & Dave, Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Allman Bros
Sam Phillip’s Studio: Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Howlin Wolf
Royal: Al Green, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy, Tom Jones, Bobby Blue, Rod Stewart, Ike & Tina Turner
The factories in this isolated town of Notodden shut down in 1987, leaving nothing but silence where jobs had once been.
Against all odds, a small group of young men and women of the town create the Notodden Blues Festival that now 30 years later is one of the best in the World.
Blues enthusiasts will cheer the spirit of the story and the music, others will relate to the universal theme that nothing is impossible.
The documentary is coming this autumn. Check out the Bluestown Rising website.
Steven Van Zandt confirmed that he will be going to Memphis, Tennessee to judge the International Blues Challenge (IBC) at the famous Orpheum Theatre. The IBC is organized by the Blues Foundation, and Norway Communicates will be onsite with Jostein Forsberg of the Notodden Blues Festival. Keep posted for further updates!
The 'Bluestown Rising' documentary team was in Notodden, Norway all this past week as we moved the story of the world's most unique Notodden Blues Festival, and 'the town that wouldn't die' forwards. Next stop, New York City and the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation on December 20th.
Film Location Rjukan presented its Phase I Results at Visit Rjukan's annual meeting held at the Gvepseborg Restaurant at the top of Rjukan's famous Krossobanen. David oriented about the Film Location Rjukan findings thus far as we build upon Tinn Municipality and Rjukan's film history to make this region the location of choice nationally and internationally.
Scotland's Highlands and the Heavy Water Heroes of Telemark have an unbreakable bond. We made the trek through the snows to Drumintoul, where the officers led by Joakim Ronneberg prepared for their historic mission. Drumintoul has been in the Grant family since 1560, and we were welcomed at a dinner in the main house hosted by James Grant. The first of many visits between Vemork and Drumintoul!
Little Steven's Blues School All Star Band feat. Shennie was in Notodden's famed Juke Joint studio armed with Quinn Sullivan's song 'For your Love'. This song is in post production now with all proceeds from the single going to support the Little Steven's Blues School.
The Norwegian Heavy Water Saboteurs enter the cellar of the Hydrogen Production Factory in the early morning hours of February 28th, 1943 - and today on November 6, 2017 invited press representatives were taken back in time following the historical footsteps of Jaokim Ronneberg and his team. International interest, including BBC and others are in the wind.
Alan Tomkins Art Director of 'The Empire Strikes Back', 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Batman Begins' - and of the original Heroes of Telemark is a big Ambassador to Rjukan and Telemark. Norway Communicates was invited to Pinewood Studios to learn more about Alan and his illustrious career.
Filmed on location in Rjukan, the much awaited 'Snowman' film starring Michael Fassbender had its international premier in the main square in Rjukan with over 1,000 people braving the first chills of the coming winter. Film Location Rjukan is building upon this and other films as we continue to raise the region's profile.
The Heavy Water Heroes of Telemark story has been told again and again, but it was not until October 5th, 2017 that the historical find was made by the industrial archeologists led by the NIA (Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum) in close collaboration with the County of Telemark. Contact Norway Communicates or the NIA for more information.
Norway Communicates brought Steven Van Zandt together with representatives from the University College of Southeast Norway (HSN), signing a historic agreement sealing the cooperation to create a Blues Masters Curriculum in Norway. This is the first international agreement for the RRFF, a historic milestone for Steven's 10-year old foundation.
National Geograhic's popular 'Drain the Ocean' film team was onsite in mid September in Rjukan (Tinn Municipality) to film an episode featuring the ship 'Hydro' that was sabotaged in February 1943 with a full load of heavy water onboard. This NatGeo episode of 'Drain the Ocean' will be show in 2018. Contact Norway Communicates for more information.
Nearly 40,000 people visited Notodden during this historic festival featuring artists that included Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, Buddy Guy, Quinn Sullivan, Beth Hart, Joss Stone and many others. The Bluetown Rising documentary team filmed through the week as we prepare the documentary for screening next August at the Bok & Blueshuset in Notodden.