Powerful new short film shows why we need to ‘step up and defend’ our trans siblings

A still from the Norwegian short film Night Ride showing actors Sigrid Husjord and Ola Hoemsnes Sandum who play Ebba and Ariel sitting on a bench at night

Eirik Tveiten’s Night Ride follows Ebba (Sigrid Husjord), a fed-up tram passenger who decides to steal a stopped tram and pick up passengers in the night. 

However, as people slowly filter on, the night takes an unexpected turn as Ebba encounters a volatile situation that not only challenges her but makes her realise how strong she is.
As for the inspiration behind the bizarre premise, Tveiten admits it came from an anecdote his friend shared from the ’80s in Oslo when he was drunk and decided to steal a tram.

Four decades on, the drunken actions of Tveiten’s friend spurred the award-winning writer and director to explore gender identity in the now Oscar-qualifying short film.

Set in the city of Trondheim in Norway, LGBTQ+ activism and allyship were made all the more relevant after a deadly mass shooting at Oslo Pride.

“It could have easily gone even worse,” Teviten tells PinkNews about the terror attack, “There are still elements in our society that are a threat to liberalisation. But in the aftermath, the LGBTQ+ community got a lot of support so we are doing comparatively well.”
Unlike Tveiten’s friend who was drunk and fooling around, Ebba’s journey is thrown into peril when she encounters a sticky situation on board. 

“[The film] is about being in a situation a lot of people find themselves in, where you need to step up and defend someone against harassment,” Tveiten tells PinkNews.

Enter Ariel (Ola Hoemsnes Sandum), a trans woman trying to travel home at the end of the night when she encounters a group of men bent on making her life miserable. 

“We could easily have shown it more from the trans person’s perspective,” Tveiten explains, “But this story is about bystander bravery. 

“For a long time Ebba just wants to bypass the situation and try to forget about it, but there is a social obligation and knowing when to do the right thing.”

Since the film is based so strongly around the idea of allyship and intervention, Tvietien says it could “easily be about racism or another marginalisation but in the end we decided this was the way to go.”

Ebba walks along the tram line in Night Ride. (Geir Mogen)

Ebba’s journey begins in Night Ride. (Geir Mogen)

Although the social commentary in Night Ride is heavy it keeps a levity through bouts of humour and the absurd situation Ebba has found herself in. 

“I wanted to have this notion of adventure and surrealism in it, make it larger than life,” Tveiten says when it came to balancing the “light with the dark”.

Tveiten has seen a steady improvement of LGBTQ+ representation in the TV and film industry, in particular after Norway appointed proud lesbian Anette Trettebergstuen as Minister for Culture and Equality. 

“Norwegian Film Institute has called to include members of marginalised groups that haven’t always been represented in the main domain of the film industry. 

“It’s powerful when the funding is actually going to developing the artists from these communities,” Tveiten says. 

As for what audiences can take from the film, the director hopes people will become more “open, broad-minded, and take responsibility for their actions.”