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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Germany

Iceland’s A White, White Day wins the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck

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- Hlynur Pálmason’s second feature has claimed the competition’s main prize, while Rúnar Rúnarsson was the recipient of the prestigious Interfilm Church Prize for Echo

Iceland’s A White, White Day wins the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck
The winners of the 2019 Nordic Film Days in Lübeck

“The NDR Film Prize jury honours a film that explores the despair of a great loss with almost playful ease. In unusual, precise scenes, the characters interact as equals, displaying enormous strength and comedic elements. This is brave filmmaking, bolstered by breathtakingly inventive skill and powerful imagery.” This was the jury statement accompanying the NDR Film Prize at the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck, which was bestowed upon Hlynur Pálmason’s A White, White Day [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hlynur Pálmason
film profile
]
.

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The Nordic Film Days, held annually in November since 1956, is one of the few European festivals devoted entirely to presenting Nordic and Baltic films. Many directors whose features were presented in Lübeck have seen their careers skyrocket – names such as Bille August, Aki Kaurismäki and Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, among others.

The 61st edition of the event was brought to a close on Sunday. A White, White Day was recently put forward as Iceland’s entry for the 2020 Best International Feature Film Oscar and made this year’s selection for the European Film Awards. Pálmason’s drama, an Icelandic-Danish-Swedish co-production, is set in a remote town and revolves around an off-duty police chief, who begins to suspect a man of having had an affair with his wife. Lead actor Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson accepted the award on behalf of the whole crew.

The festival saw the triumph of another Icelandic flick – namely, Rúnar Rúnarsson's Echo [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rúnar Rúnarsson
film profile
]
. Rúnarsson’s drama received the Interfilm Church Prize and was recently awarded Best Director at Valladolid’s Seminci. The jury’s reasoning for awarding the picture read as follows: “The Interfilm jury awards its prize to a film that uses innovative cinematic language to tell a series of small stories about human life. The movie reminds us that every human being needs relationships, understanding, forgiveness and love.” The accolade was accepted by producer Lilja Ósk Snorradóttir.

Festival director Linde Fröhlich was delighted about the way in which this year’s edition was received and said: “I am very happy that the winners display a diversity of genres and cinematic styles, and reflect the state of our society from very different points of view.” Festival manager Florian Vollmers added: “After the Nordic Film Days, many of the films that won here will be released in German cinemas. I hope that the Lübeck awards enable a rousing opening, and I am very pleased that the gathering can help good movies from the Nordic regions find even larger audiences in Germany.”

Here is the full list of award winners:

NDR Film Prize
A White, White Day [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hlynur Pálmason
film profile
]
- Hlynur Pálmason (Iceland/Denmark/Sweden)

Lübecker Nachrichten Audience Prize
Master Cheng - Mika Kaurismäki (Finland/China/UK)

Baltic Film Prize for a Nordic Film
Sons of Denmark [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elliott Crosset Hove
interview: Ulaa Salim
film profile
]
- Ulaa Salim (Denmark)

Interfilm Church Film Prize
Echo [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rúnar Rúnarsson
film profile
]
- Rúnar Rúnarsson (Iceland/France/Switzerland)

Documentary Film Prize
Power of Yoik - Paul-Anders Simma (Finland/UK/Norway/Sweden)

Best Feature Debut
Aurora [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Miia Tervo
film profile
]
- Miia Tervo (Finland)

CineStar Prize
Ascona - Julius Dommer (Germany)

Children and Youth Film Prize
Stupid Young Heart [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Selma Vilhunen (Finland/Netherlands/Sweden)

Children’s Jury Prize
All I Want for Christmas - Christian Dyekjær (Denmark)

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