Two internationally-acclaimed documentaries from the Nordic region – “Flee” and “Gunda” – are among the five films nominated for a Nordic Council Film Prize.
This is the most prestigious film award in the Nordic region, celebrating films with unique artistic visions that actively engage with Nordic culture. It’s the eighteenth year the Nordic Council Film Prize is awarded, and the winner will be announced on Nov. 2 in Copenhagen, taking home a prize of DKK 300,000 ($47,355) to be shared equally among the screenwriter, director, and producer. Here are the five film nominations:
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“Flee,” (Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Denmark)
Co-written by Amin (a pseudonym), and produced by leading Danish company Final Cut for Reel (nominated for an Oscar for both “The Act of Killing” and “The Look of Silence”), the film has already had a hugely successful festival circuit run. At Sundance, it won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary section, while at the Annecy International Animation Festival it won best feature film. “Flee” tells the story of Amin Nawabi, a child refugee who leaves his home in Afghanistan to find safety in Denmark. Variety previously revealed that Riz Ahmed and “Games of Thrones” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau joined the Danish animated documentary as executive producers.
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“Gunda,” (Victor Kossakovsky, Norway)
Norway’s Sant & Usant produced this documentary, which has received wide critical praise. “Gunda” gets up close with farm animals and looks at the day-to-day life of a pig (Gunda), as well as two cows and a one-legged chicken. In doing so, the filmmaker poetically explores animal consciousness using black-and-white cinematography, and with no dialogue. The film had its world premiere at the Berlinale and was produced by Joaquin Phoenix after Kossakovsky managed to get the renowned actor and animal rights activist to see his film – which he immediately connected with.
“Any Day Now,” (Hamy Ramezan, Finland)
Ramezan teamed with co-writer Antti Rautava on this story of an Iranian refugee family in Finland waiting for a decision on their asylum status. The fiction feature was also at the Berlinale, where it was nominated for a Crystal Bear, and also received numerous nominations at Finland’s main film awards, the Jussi Awards, as well as at the Kiev Molodist Film Festival in the Teen Screen Competition. Finland’s Aamu Filmcompany produced.
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“Alma,” (Kristín Jóhannesdóttir, Iceland)
Backed by Icelandic company DUO Productions, “Alma” marks a return to the big screen for the Icelandic director after a 26-year-break. The filmmaker’s last film, “As in Heaven,” was selected at the Cannes Festival in 1992. With “Alma,” Jóhannesdóttir directs a thriller following a woman who is imprisoned in a forensic psychiatric unit for seven years for murdering her lover – even though she has no memory of it. The Icelandic film notably stars famous French actress Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour,” “Hiroshima Mon Amour”), who passed away in 2017 shortly after the film finished shooting.
“Tigers,” (Ronnie Sandahl, Sweden)
The true story of 16-year-old football prodigy Martin Bengtsson who moves to Italian football club Inter Milan to make it on the big stage, but struggles with loneliness and depression in his new environment. There’s a breakthrough performance by the young Erik Enge, who won the best emerging actor prize at Rome’s Alice in the City festival, while the film scooped best picture at the Busan Film Festival 2020, among other awards. “Tigers” is part of Sandahl’s series of films on athletes and mental health. He also wrote the script for “Borg vs McEnroe” and now “Perfect,” on American gymnast Kerri Strugs and her struggles with injuries which will be directed by Olivia Wilde and start filming in 2022. Black Spark Film & T in Sweden produced.
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