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HAUGESUND 2019 Awards

Norway’s Him snags the Eurimages Lab Project Award at Haugesund

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- This Norwegian success and some solid Nordic promises concluded a very lively New Nordic Films market in Haugesund

Norway’s Him snags the Eurimages Lab Project Award at Haugesund
Eurimages Lab Project Award winner Guro Bruusgaard with her diploma (third from left), flanked by jury members Kristina Börjeson, Rut Lev Ari and Stephen Locke

For the second year running, the recipient of the Eurimages Lab Project Award at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund (17-23 August) was Norwegian. Director Guro Brusgaard, a member of the Alternativet production collective, executed an enticing presentation of her forthcoming first feature, Him, a topical take on gender dynamics. Him centres on three different males between the ages of 11 and 60 and unfolds during a single day in Oslo. “Witty, intelligent and compassionate” was the verdict of the jury, consisting of Christin Berg, Nordisk Film Kino, Norway; Swedish Film Institute veteran Kristina Börjeson; Haifa industry curator Rut Lev Ari, Israel; and Berlinale Scandinavian film expert Stephen Locke, Germany.

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The suitably impressed jury also awarded an Honourable Mention to Swedish director Ninja Thyberg’s hotly anticipated Jessica, a uniquely female gaze on the American porn industry, promising “an intriguing cinematic achievement – bold, courageous and out of the box”, as the jury put it. Or, as Thyberg herself confidently stated: “This will be something you’ve never seen before.” A Cannes opening looks likely, not least via main producer Plattform (The Square [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ruben Östlund
film profile
]
). Sales for Jessica are handled by France’s Versatile.

The lively pitching sessions promised some solid Nordic fare for the coming seasons. Inland by Jon Blåhed delivers a fresh portrayal of northernmost Sweden as a Stockholm girl gives up the big city for a life in Lapland with her boyfriend, only for them to break up on the drive up there; she thus finds herself single and stuck in the middle of seemingly nowhere. NIMBY by Teemu Nikki (Euthanizer [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Teemu Nikki
film profile
]
) plays like a proper Finnish Almodóvar flick, as a young woman prepares to come out of the closet and present her Iranian-born girlfriend to her parents, only to find them engaged in an orgy with her godparents, and then run into her Neo-Nazi ex. And with The Good Traitor, Denmark’s Christina Rosendahl has hit the newsflash jackpot with her account of Henrik Kaufmann, the Danish ambassador to the United States who, during World War II, signed a treaty to give the USA a military presence on Greenland. A sturdy lead by Ulrich Thomsen should further improve the odds for this one.

The Nordic Co-Production Market Award went to Norway’s Let the River Flow by Ole Giæver, with production handled by Maria Ekerhovd and Mer Film (which was also behind the winner of the Haugesund Eurimages Lab Project Award of 2018, Burning Man). The Scandinavian Debut Award also went to a Mer Film production – Stepsisters by Emilie Blickfeldt, produced by Ragna Midtgard and praised by the jury for its “beauty horror” qualities.

Earlier in the week, the five nominees for the 2019 Nordic Council Film Prize were announced at Haugesund. They are: Queen of Hearts [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: May el-Toukhy
film profile
]
, Denmark; Aurora [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Miia Tervo
film profile
]
, Finland; A White, White Day [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hlynur Pálmason
film profile
]
, Iceland/Denmark/Sweden; Blind Spot [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Tuva Novotny
film profile
]
, Norway; and Reconstructing Utøya [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Sweden/Norway/Denmark. The winner will be announced in Stockholm on 29 October.

Here is the full list of award winners:

Norwegian Critics’ Prize
Portrait of a Lady on Fire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile
]
- Céline Sciamma (France)

Special Mention from the Norwegian critics’ jury
Koko-di Koko-da [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Johannes Nyholm
film profile
]
- Johannes Nyholm (Sweden/Denmark)

FIPRESCI Prize
Before the Frost [+see also:
trailer
interview: Elliott Crosset Hove
film profile
]
- Michael Noer (Denmark)

Audience Award
Ballon [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Michael Herbig (Germany)

Andreas Ecumenical Award
In Safe Hands [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Jeanne Herry (France/Belgium)

Ray of Sunshine Award
Fisherman’s Friends [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Chris Foggin (UK)

Eurimages Lab Project Award
Him - Guro Bruusgaard (Norway)

Special Mention, Eurimages Lab Project jury
Jessica - Ninja Thyberg (Sweden/Netherlands/France)

Nordic Co-Production Market Award for Best Project
Let the River Flow - Ole Giæver (Norway)

Nominees for the 2019 Nordic Council Film Prize
Queen of Hearts [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: May el-Toukhy
film profile
]
- May el-Toukhy (Denmark)
Aurora [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Miia Tervo
film profile
]
- Miia Tervo (Finland)
A White, White Day [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hlynur Pálmason
film profile
]
- Hlynur Pálmason (Iceland/Denmark/Sweden)
Blind Spot [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Tuva Novotny
film profile
]
- Tuva Novotny (Norway)
Reconstructing Utøya [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Carl Javér (Sweden/Norway/Denmark)

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