gripping magical realism about life and death

Mila (2003)

“When the dying little Mila is given magical bells for her birthday, she steps into a magical world filled with awe and wonder.” 

Genre: Drama

Production year:  2003

IMDB Link:  N/A

Running length: 14 mins

Partial Funding:  Norwegian Film Institute

Production company:  Niebo Film

Format:  mini DV

“If you gave someone your heart and they died, did they take it with them? Did you spend the rest of forever with a hole inside you that couldn’t be filled?”

Jodi Picoult – Author

Full short (norwegian version)


“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”

Mahatma Ghandhi

Themes of the movie

The main theme I wanted to express was of a spiritual realationship between birth and death. To quote Dalai Lamas words “Every moment of our waking and concious life should be a preparation for our death”. Where “Death” is only meant as a passage and not an ultimate ending.

Mila dives into her magical world, filled to the brim with magical hope. (Image taken from the short)


Mila who is only 9 years old is slowly fading away from cancer. As the girl has accepted it as a natural order of things, she is more worried about her mother who is not able to come to terms with losing her only child. Mila tries her best to help her, especially now that her mother is carrying her baby brother, someone she might never get to see. At the same time, she slowly starts to glide into a world of fantasy and beauty which opens up a new hope in her soul.

Mila falls asleep beside her mother, and even if her body has given in to the fight, her soul remains forever in her mother’s warm embrace. (Image taken from the short)

Awards  &  Nominations:

Best Director – Grand Off  2007 Warsaw

1st Place  –  69. World Film Festival UNICA 2007

Special Regard – 13. Zoom Zblizenia Jelenia Gora

Special Regard For Cinematography – 69. World Film Festival UNICA 2007

1st Place  –  “To Love a Man”  Oswiecim 2008

1st Place  –  53. Ogolnopolski Konkurs Filmow Amatorskich Konin

Nomination to Off-skary Best Director  – 13. Zoom Zblizenia Jelenia Gora

Nomination to Off-skary Best Director  –  MFKA QUEST 2007 Zielona Gora

Nomination to Off-skary Best Cinematography  – 13. Zoom Zblizenia Jelenia Gora



Grand Off 2007 Warszawa

Teheran International Film Festival

13. Zoom Zblizenia in Jelenia Gora 2008

The Norwegian Short Film Festival 2007

“Kochac Czlowieka” – Film Festival in Oswiecim 2008

Karachi International Film Festival 2007

Unabhangiges Filmfest Osnabruck 2007

Offskary 2008 Warszawa

53. Ogolnopolski Konkurs Filmow Amatorskich im. prof. Henryka Kluby

7th International Film Festival Era New Horizons 2007

MFKA Quest Europe 2007

69. World Film Festival of Non-Professional Films UNICA 2007

12th Teheran Short Film Festival 2007

International Philosophy Film Festival 2007

Mila welcomes the butterflies, one by one, as they prepare her for the ultimate passage of her soul. (Image taken from the short)

Cast & crew:

Director:   Piotr Ryczko

DoP:        Christian Koblizek

Script:      Piotr Ryczko

Mother:   Kristin Zachariassen

Mila:        Trine Kjølstad

Lights/grip: Hilde Fynnset, Bjørn Amund Lien

Editing: Piotr Ryczko

Sound: Rune Rosseland, Harald Longva, Piotr Ryczko

Make-up: Monika Larsen

Music: Franz Shubert

Color Correction: Piotr Ryczko

Production manager: Beate Kynø

Script: Piotr Ryczko

Production:   Niebo Film    2003

Mila rings her magical birthday present, the bells which she got from her mother. (Image taken from the short)

Films & Novels