Northern Film Festival readies inter-regional competition
by Boyd Van Hoeij
03/11/2011 - The Northern Film Festival, held annually in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden, will begin its 33rd edition next week. Almost 200 films will be screened during the event.
As usual, programmer Rick Vermeulen and his team focus on what they call Nordic films, which includes films from the Benelux and Scandinavia. The competitive strand of the festival, the Inter-regional Competition, presents films that focus on borders in the widest possible sense.
Dutch director Nanouk Leopold (pictured) and Flemish actor Matthias Schoenaerts will receive the Award for Special Contribution to Northern Cinema, though Schoenaerts will accept the award remotely, since he is in France shooting the new Jacques Audiard film.
Eight films, all first or second features, will compete this year for the Matad’Or and a €10,000 cash prize. They include the paedophilia drama Michael [trailer] from Austrian director Markus Schleinzer and the dour Tyrannosaur [trailer] from British actor-turned-director Paddy Considine.
Also heavy is the animated adult film <Crulic – The Path to Beyond [trailer, film focus], director Anca Damian’s film about a real-life case of a man’s hunger strike in a Polish prison. Somewhat lighter is the comedy-drama Turn Me On, Goddammit [trailer] from newcomer Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, about the sexual coming-of-age of a girl in rural Norway.
Further Nordic films screening include Icelandic drama Volcano [trailer] and Swedish feature Beyond [trailer], two films that rely heavily on strong performances. From Europe’s southeast come the Bulgarian film Ave [trailer, film focus] and Minority from Turkey, also first films.
The jury is composed of Hungarian director György Pálfi; Belgian choreographer and actor-singer Sam Louwyck; Polish-Dutch director Urszula Antoniak; Greek producer Maria Hatzakou and Dutch film critic Dana Linssen.