The Lion Woman to open this year's Norwegian International Film Festival
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Norway's largest showcase will also – for the first time – feature a FIPRESCI jury and participate in the Eurimages Lab Project Award
This year unspooling from 20-26 August, the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund will open with the world premiere of Norwegian director Vibeke Idsøe's The Lion Woman [+see also:
interview: Vibeke Idsøe
film profile] (read the news), her €6.3 million adaptation of Norwegian author Erik Fosnes Hansen's 2006 novel, which is being produced by Norway's John M Jacobsen and Marcus Brodersen for Oslo's Filmkameratene, with Swedish, Danish, German and Czech partners.
“The Lion Woman is a magnificent drama with a unique protagonist and universal appeal – it tells the story of a lonely child who doesn't fit in, but who still finds a path to redemption and acceptance,” said Norwegian International Film Festival and programme director Tonje Hardersen.
Starring Connie Nielsen, Rolf Lassgård and Burghart Klaussner, the film portrays a little girl who was born in 1912 with fine yellow hair all over her body, including her face. Despite her different looks, Eva Arctander wanted to live like other children, and the movie follows her life between 1912 and 1936 in Norway, and later in Europe, covering her difficulties in gaining acceptance and the ways in which her life changes.
For the first time, the festival will have a FIPRESCI jury, whose members will be named by the international critics' organisation (with one Norwegian member); it will not, however, replace the Norwegian Film Critics Award given out by a jury appointed by the Norwegian Film Critics Association, which is handed to the best film in the festival's main programme.
This year, the gathering will expand outside Haugesund, with a one-day programme (26 August) in Utsira, Norway's smallest municipality, a one-hour boat ride from Haugesund. In collaboration with the Association of Norwegian Cinemas' (Film & Kino’s) touring cinema, which screens films at 175 venues that don't usually show movies, the festival has organised a show at the local culture house, the Sirakompasset.
The Norwegian festival has also joined the Eurimages Lab Project Award, together with the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Czech Republic), the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Greece) and the Les Arcs European Film Festival (France), which will all award a project in their work-in-progress programmes with €50,000 (read the news).
Last year's New Nordic Films in Haugesund introduced 11 films as works in progress, 17 projects at the Nordic Co-Production and Finance Market, and 22 new films from the Nordic countries (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland), including 16 market premieres.