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A documentary TV series that portrays everyday life at Gjestad bo- og aktivitetssenter (nursing, care and activity centre) in Ullensaker, Norway. Over the course of 13 episodes we get to follow some of the people that live and work there.


Vestby and the team behind the TV series received The Red Cross’ highest award, the “Torstein Dales Minnepris” for how the series portrayed thoughtfulness and compassion for the weak in our society.

"Good institution reality"

VG, Nina Schmidt

"Should be shown at a big screen in the parliament every damn day!"

Dagbladet, Tom Stalsberg


03.12.2008: Hvor går grensene? (Rushprint)

03.03.2004: Mediemenerne (NRK TV)

03.03.2004: "Institusjonen": Tett på liv og død (NRK)

25.02.2004: "Institusjonen" stoppes ikke (NRK)

24.02.2004: Forsvarer "Institusjonen (Romerikes Blad)

24.02.2004: Vil stoppe NRK-serie (NRK)

23.02.2004: Bedre enn Big Brother (Romerikes Blad)
23.02.2004: I dag er de fleste deltagerne døde (VG)

17.02.2004: Livet på Gjerstad blir TV-series (Romerikes Blad)

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Read the review


"This TV documentary in 13 episodes was some of the most giving and most exhausting I have done. For half a year my co-director, Mads Nilsson, and I almost lived at the institution. I had a lot of neck and arm muscles after those six months. The camera ran constantly. Therefore, we got the entire story with no need for a voice over. The Norwegian poet, Odd Børretzen, wrote some poems after watching the finished edited episodes, which put a beautiful frame to it. There was a lot of media fuzz while this series was running. People with Down syndrome, Alzheimers, and the elderly in extremis had never been revealed in such a way before.


The Norwegian newspaper, VG, had a heading: “Death will become entertainment!” But as the episodes went by, all the critics went quiet. We received the Red Cross’ highest honor, ‘Torstein Dales Minnespris - a prize Kofi Annan received two years before us. We walked the edge in making this series, and we managed to land on the right side. Today, it’s acceptable to show people under all kinds of conditions. You might say that this was a pioneer work in Norwegian television."



Original title: Institusjonen

Genre: Documentary series

Direction: Anne Berit Vestby, Mads Nilsson

Nationality: NOR

Production year: 2003

Production company: Dinamo Story, Indie Film

Aired on: NRK (Norway)

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