Coal was a major component for the industrial revolution. Once an emblem of progress, it is now a symbol of our planet’s eradication. In the process of surface-mining the coal, earth materials that were removed to expose the targeted deposit were piled up alongside the excavation site. When the mineral deposits in an area were exhausted, the site was abandoned, leaving a lunar-like landscape that was unsuitable for development. In Walbrzych, Poland, these human-made piles of subsoil debris are hidden from the inhabitants in a desperate, yet abortive, attempt to fit into the city’s panorama. The spoil tips are the waste product of the city’s long gone affluence, a lost memory of its wealthy past and a shameful remembrance of greed, exploitation and abandonment. We Were Never Really Here is a journey into this eerie landscape of our collective footprint -where our past and present coalesce, led by our insatiable hunger for prosperity.

Anika Salvesen (NO)
Anika Salvesen is a Polish filmmaker based in Norway. She holds a master’s degree in American literature as well as postgraduate courses in directing fiction and documentary. She works in both fiction and documentary, with experimental approaches to cinema aesthetics and non-traditional narrative styles. Her films spring out from an attempt to understand what it means to be human, including our fears, imperfections, and collective experience of existence itself.