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Sonja director Anne Sewitsky given a boost by Ullmann’s Honorary Award


- The Norwegian filmmaker has been honoured for her work, while Deeyah Khan has received the Human Rights Prize for Jihad

Sonja director Anne Sewitsky given a boost by Ullmann’s Honorary Award
Director Anne Sewitsky

On Sunday (8 November), Norwegian director Anne Sewitsky received the Liv Ullmann Honorary Award (to the tune of €11,000), given out every other year to a female Norwegian filmmaker “with a special talent and artistic engagement in Norwegian film and/or TV drama”. 

Instigated by the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, the Norwegian Film Workers’ Union and the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI), the award fell to Sewitsky at the same time as the NFI chipped in €1.6 million for her new film, Sonja, the biopic on Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie, who became one of the highest-paid film stars in 1930s Hollywood. 

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Thirty-year-old Norwegian actress Ine Marie Wilmann (who also stars in Sewitsky’s latest film, Homesick [+see also:
film profile
) will play the lead in the film scripted by Mette Marit Bølstad and Andreas Markusson, produced by Synnøve Hørsdal for Maipo Film on an €8.4 million budget (see the news). 

Earlier last week, Norwegian director Deeyah Khan collected the 2015 Human Rights Prize from the Norwegian Ministry of Culture for her documentary Jihad: A Story of the Others, which follows a group of British former immigrants who end up as political extremists – but still, some manage to escape jihadism. “I was really happy about the prize because it supports the two subjects I am really passionate about – film art and human rights,” said Khan.

In Denmark, Nordisk Film celebrated its 109th anniversary by giving the Erik Balling €7,000 Travelling Scholarship to Danish director May el-Toukhy for her romantic comedy Long Story Short [+see also:
film profile
, starring Danish actors Trine Dyrholm and Jens Albinus, in the hope that she will come back “and enrich us with more of the same ambition, audacity and high quality”.

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