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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Germany

The Gravedigger's Wife emerges triumphant at the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck

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- The Finnish-French-German production by Khadar Ayderus Ahmed has been awarded the NDR Film Prize as well as the INTERFILM Church Prize

The Gravedigger's Wife emerges triumphant at the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck
The Gravedigger’s Wife director Khadar Ayderus Ahmed clutching his awards (© Nordic Film Days Lübeck/O Malzahn)

The Nordic Film Days have a long and storied tradition in Lübeck, one of the most northerly German cities. After a remote, online edition was held in 2020, the festival was able to make a comeback as a physical event for its 63rd anniversary. From 3-7 November, over 130 films from Scandinavia and the Baltic region were presented to a mostly local, but very loyal, audience. In parallel with the physical screenings, it was also possible to watch the majority of the programme online.

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Artistic director Thomas Hailer was particularly happy to be able to welcome several guests to Lübeck in person again. Among them were director Bent Hamer, who presented his new film, the tragicomedy The Middle Man [+see also:
trailer
interview: Bent Hamer
film profile
]
, as well as Valdimar Jóhannsson from Iceland, with his atmospheric horror parody Lamb [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Valdimar Jóhannsson
film profile
]
. The gathering invited the similarly Icelandic team behind Cop Secret [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hannes Þór Halldòrsson
film profile
]
by director and goalkeeper Hannes Þór Halldórsson to inaugurate this year's edition. The film even took home one of the prizes – namely, the Prize of the Friends of the Nordic Film Days Lübeck, endowed with €7,500.

Another prestigious guest was Danish actress Trine Dyrholm, to whom the festival dedicated a tribute, showing off some of her most important achievements. Moreover, she was seen in the historical drama Margrete – Queen of the North [+see also:
trailer
interview: Charlotte Sieling
film profile
]
by Charlotte Sieling. The co-production between Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and the Czech Republic is one of the biggest productions from Scandinavia so far. It is based on the real-life character of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, who lived between 1353 and 1412, and who is considered to be the main driving force behind a peaceful union between the Nordic countries. The film won the Audience Prize, endowed with €5,000 and sponsored by local newspaper Lübecker Nachrichten.

The main award of the festival, the NDR Prize, sponsored by TV channel Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), which came with prize money of €12,500, went to Khadar Ayerdus Ahmed and his social drama The Gravedigger's Wife [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. The jury, made up of film producers Roshanak Behesht Nedjad, Christian Granderath and Louise Vesth, actor Luc Feit and author Wendy Mitchell, stated that the film “tells an intimate story with a giant heart, and gives a voice to the voiceless and visibility to the invisible”.

The film also scooped another important gong – namely, the INTERFILM Church Prize, sponsored by the Lübeck-Lauenburg Protestant Lutheran Church District and endowed with €5,000. The jury of four, comprising pastors Ingrid Glatz-Anderegg and Inga Meißner, actor Morten Sternberg and film producer Gunthars Laucis, said of the picture: “It shows great respect for human dignity, and provides an opening for discussion about how we see and treat each other as human beings.” The same jury gave a Special Mention to the daring Finnish tragicomedy The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Teemu Nikki and Jani Pösö
interview: Teemu Nikki, Jani Pösö an…
film profile
]
by Teemu Nikki. The movie, about a blind man in a wheelchair who has not lost his sense of humour and who fights for a dignified life, also pocketed the Baltic Film Prize for a Nordic Feature Film, endowed with €3,000.

Finally, Arica [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by William Johansson Kalén and Lars Edman won the Prize for Best Documentary, and two films were able to win over this year's youth jury: Ninjababy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Yngvild Sve Flikke
film profile
]
by Yngvild Sve Flikke from Norway won the Youth Jury Award, sponsored by the Hansestadt Lübeck, while a Special Mention went to the co-production between Norway and Sweden Hello World by Kenneth Elvebakk.

Here is the complete list of award winners at the 63rd edition of the Nordic Film Days:

NDR Film Prize
The Gravedigger's Wife [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Khadar Ayderus Ahmed (Finland/France/Germany/Somalia)

Prize of the Friends of the Nordic Film Days
Cop Secret [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hannes Þór Halldòrsson
film profile
]
– Hannes Þór Halldórsson (Iceland)

Audience Prize of the Lübecker Nachrichten
Margrete – Queen of the North [+see also:
trailer
interview: Charlotte Sieling
film profile
]
Charlotte Sieling (Denmark/Sweden/Norway/Iceland/Czech Republic)

INTERFILM Church Prize
The Gravedigger's Wife – Khadar Ayderus Ahmed
Special Mention
The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Teemu Nikki and Jani Pösö
interview: Teemu Nikki, Jani Pösö an…
film profile
]
– Teemu Nikki (Finland)

Baltic Film Prize for a Nordic Feature Film
The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic – Teemu Nikki

Documentary Film Prize of the North DGB District
Arica [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
– Willam Johansson Kalén, Lars Edman (Sweden/Chile/Belgium/Norway/UK)

CineStar Prize
The Dunes Said – Maya Connors (Germany/Argentina)
Special Mention
Connection – Serafima Orlova (Germany)

Children's and Youth Film Award of the Gemeinnützige Sparkassenstiftung
Nelly Rapp Monster Agent [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Amanda Adolfsson (Sweden)

Radisson Blu Senator Hotel Children's Jury Award
Eva & Adam – Caroline Cowan (Sweden)
Special Mention
Christmas at Cattle Hill – Will Ashurst (Norway)

Youth Jury Award
Ninjababy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Yngvild Sve Flikke
film profile
]
– Yngvild Sve Flikke (Norway)
Special Mention
Hello World – Kenneth Elvebakk (Norway/Sweden)

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