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AWARDS Sweden/US

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Swedish Underdog becomes a favourite at Chicago and Zurich

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- Ronnie Sandahl’s feature debut takes the top prize at the Chicago Film Festival, which celebrates its 50th anniversary with a Spotlight on Scandinavia

Swedish Underdog becomes a favourite at Chicago and Zurich
Underdog by Ronnie Sandahl

Swedish director Ronnie Sandahl’s feature debut, Underdog [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ronnie Sandahl
film profile
]
– a Swedish-Norwegian co-production filmed in Oslo with Norwegian actor Henrik Rafaelsen in one of the leads – has won the top prize, the Gold Hugo, in the New Directors competition at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival, which will run until 23 October.

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“A modern take on class conflict that keeps its focus on its believable characters instead of highlighting the melodrama inherent in its narrative – a film that both addresses specific cultural issues and yet feels simultaneously universal through its honesty,” said the jury of Sandahl’s first movie, which follows a Swede who has fled Swedish mass unemployment for a new life in Oslo. Like many young Swedish immigrants, she ends up being an outcast and survives on very little money, irregular work and partying hard, until she lands a job as a housekeeper in an upper-middle-class Norwegian house – a life very distant from her own.

Earlier this month (5 October), the film – also starring Bianca Kronlöf, Mona Kristiansen and Naomi Emeilie Christensen Beck – was awarded the Critics’ Award for Best Film Debut at the tenth Zurich Film Festival, with a Special Mention for Kronlöf and Kristiansen. Underdog was produced by Annika Hellström and Martin Persson for Sweden’s Anagram Film & TV and Cinenic Film, and by Gudny Hummelvoll for Norway’s Hummelfilm

Incorporating a focus on Scandinavia in the World Cinema Spotlight Program, with 20 features and eight shorts, Chicago also awarded a Gold Hugo for Best Short Film to Norwegian director Marianne O Ulrichsen’s Amazon, and a Silver Hugo to John Christian Rosenlund for his cinematography for Norwegian director Bent Hamer’s 1001 Grams [+see also:
trailer
interview: Bent Hamer
film profile
]
.

The Silver Q Hugo Film Award in the OUT-Look Program went to Swedish director Ester Martin Bergsmark’s Something Must Break [+see also:
film review
trailer
festival scope
film profile
]
; a Gold Plaque was issued for Best Costume Design to Pia Myrdal and Anne-Dorthe Eskildsen, for Danish director Niels Arden Oplev’s Speed Walking, and lastly, Icelandic director Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson was awarded the Gold Plaque for Best Narrative/Live Action Short for his Artun.

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