The 49th Norwegian International Film Festival Haugesund is coming to a close. The re-opening of the Norwegian society gave the festival an all-time-high number of industry accreditations. We have also had record numbers of good, Nordic films in our program.
The six winners of this year’s festival awards are therefore the very best of an already exceptional selection of films.
Six awards are presented at the festival: The Andreas Award, The Critics’ Award, The Audience Award, The Ray of Sunshine Award and The Next Nordic Generation Award.
The Andreas Award, the ecumenical film prize, is a collaboration between The Norwegian Film Festival, Film&Kino and the newspaper Vårt Land. The jury has consisted of Kristin Aalen, Rune Steensnæs Engedal, Hanne Jacobsen and jury leader Alf Kjetil Walgermo. The award is presented to «The Man Who Sold His Skin», and consists of a lithography by Eli Hovdenak.
This year’s award winner addresses a socially relevant topic in an original and thought-provoking way. We are human beings in the world, but we are not treated equally. Where many of us are peacefully privileged and have fully vaccinated freedom of movement, there are others who do not have the opportunity to escape their country in chaos and civil war. Where human dignity is a matter of course for many, there are others who experience a different reality – they are treated as a commodity. The award winner enters into the flammable issues of our time with both weight and lightness. In a socially critical and compelling story, contemporary art becomes a prism to enlighten humanity and human dignity. The result is a film that is important and highly engaging.
The Critics’ Award
The Critics’ Award is awarded by a jury consisting of members of the Norwegian Association of Critics. The jury has consisted of Aleksander Huser, Ida Cathrine Holme Nielsen and Alf Kjetil Walgermo. The award is presented to «Swan Song», and consists of a woodcut by Annette Kierulf.
Our award goes to a film which is very much free of prejudice. The film is engaging, funny and moving, and tells a story of belonging to a community, even though one might be an outsider from mainstream society. It is a film about friendship, companionship and acceptance, and about being homosexual, both now and earlier. And it is a strong and heartwarming portrait of a colorful and truly unique individual, portrayed in a truly iconic performance by leading man Udo Kier.
A-ha The Movie: The first special mention goes to a film that captures nearly four decades of pop history, and at the same time manages to get under the skin of the members of the band being portrayed – as well as the conflicts and difficulties between them. This documentary includes an impressive amount of unseen archive footage, and is both rich and honest, well-crafted, and not least – a catchy film.
Young & Afraid: The second special mention goes to a seemingly improvised approach to documentary filmmaking, but still maintains a well-structured and engaging storyline. It also brings to surface an impressive range of characters, including the filmmakers themselves, complementing each other and highlighting different aspects of the human psyche – and thereby also the film’s core subject matter.
The Audience Award
The Audience Award is given by the Norwegian International Film Festival. The jury is appointed by the festival, and consists of Daniel Nes, Tina Børtung, Ragnhild Seven Håland, Mona Elin Aarø and Elin Brekke. The award is presented to «Young and Afraid», and consists of a lithography by Ivar Rudi.
The audience award goes to a contemporary movie which pulls your heartstrings – and gave the jury a real punch to the gut. This is a movie that everyone needs to see.
The Ray of Sunshine Award
The Ray of Sunshine is meant for the film that excites and spreads the most joy. This prize is given by the festival and a jury appointed by the Norwegian Cinema Managers Association. The jury consists of cinema director for Lillehammer Kino, Clarissa Bergh, film, marketing director at Aurora Kino Ida Kathrine Balto, and cinema director at Fosnavåg Kino Bjørn Holum. The award is presented to «CODA», and consists of a print by Camilla Thuy.
This year’s Ray of Sunshine Award Winner is a film that manages to excite on several levels. This is one classic joy spreader with a big heart and where you leave the cinema with a huge smile. The movie, which is a remake of the French film La Famille Bélier, is a childhood film where our young heroine has to choose between following her love of music or taking care of her family who are completely dependent on her.
Through a good dose of humor, but also seriousness, we are presented with a story that is relevant in many steps, and where the audience will recognize themselves in different ways. Shall one follow their heart or prioritize their commitments? The performances are brilliant and we are especially charmed by the young starring Emilia Jones, who impresses with her vitality and beautiful singing voice. The film really deserves a large cinema screen and a long life in cinemas!
Best Project Award
The award goes to the best project in the Nordic Co-production Market. The winner is granted participation at the Producers Network in Cannes. The winner has been determined by votes cast by the audience after the Nordic Co-Production Projects pitch session.
The award is presented to «Acts of Love».
Next Nordic Generation Award:
Next Nordic Generation Award is given to the best graduation film from the Nordic film schools. The jury has consisted of former program director of The Norwegian International Film Festival Haugesund Håkon Skogrand, producer Khalid Maimouni and musician and film maker Elle Márjá Eira. The award is NOK 10,000 and is given to the production team behind the best film from the Nordic film schools. The Next Nordic Generation Award for 2021 is presented to «Mad From the Sun».
The winner of this year’s Next Nordic Generation is a beautifully worn, euphoric and gripping film about love. The story is told in an elegant way about going back in time, and has many types of layers that can be interpreted in several ways. The film depicts young people challenging each other by playing games in a relationship. It is a complex story with elegant dramaturgical and directorial grip. The acting performances are impressive, it has wonderful music, beautiful cinematography and tasteful editing. The film director has made bold choices that reflect a rawness that captures you from the first moment. It’s like the movie is a circle that never ends. The film is a poetic work that touches, engages and sparkles with high artistic quality.
This year’s Next Nordic Generation jury gives an honorable mention to the graduating class of the animation programme at the Danish Film School.
Two out of the five registered graduation films was chosen for this year’s Next Nordic Generation presentation here in Haugesund. I don’t have time for this and Favorite daughter. Both are unique in their own way – one with playful narrative brilliance and the other with a distinctive personal naivety, which also makes them exceptionally mature. Innovation and stylistic certainty also characterize the other films from this cohort of newly trained directors.
The animated films from Denmark are known for good scripts and high technical and artistic levels. With these six new talents, this environment will have a bright future.