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Blind eyes Nordic Prize

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Most recently awarded Silver Méliès for Best European Film at Switzerland’s Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival, Norwegian director Eskil Vogt’s feature debut, Blind, has been nominated for the Nordic Council Film Prize – the most important and prestigious film award in the Nordic countries, which comes with €47,000 cash.

This year’s competitors include Danish director Lars von Trier’s own cut of Nymphomaniac; Finnish director Pirjo Hankasalo’s Concrete Night (Betonniyö); Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson’s Of Horses and Men (Hross ì oss); and Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure (Turist). Both Hankasalo and Östlund’s entries have been submitted for an Oscar nomination.

Rooted in Nordic cultural circles

The prize for “the creation of an artistically original film that is rooted in Nordic cultural circles,” has once before been collected by von Trier for Antichrist, in 2009. Denmark has taken it home five times – most recently last year, for Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt (Jagten) – Sweden four times, and Finland once. This year’s winner will be announced on 29 October in Stockholm.

Crème de la crème of contemporary Nordic cinema

“The five nominated films represent the crème de la crème of contemporary Nordic cinema – their depiction of human emotions and natural forces shows a surprising diversity,” said ceo Petri Kemppinen, of the Oslo-based Nordisk Film & TV Fond, which administers the prize. –  They will all be on show in Oslo’s Filmens Hus during the Nordic Film Weekend, between 25-26 October.

Produced by Hans-Jørgen Osnes and Sigve Endresen for Oslo’s Motlys, and starring Ellen Dorrit Petersen with Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali and Marius Kolbenstvedt, Blind portrays Ingrid, who has recently lost her sight; she retreats to the safety of her apartment, where she feels in control, alone with her husband and her thoughts. But her deepest fears and repressed fantasies soon take over.

Collaborations

A directing graduate from La Fémis film school in Paris, Vogt made a couple of shorts, before he began collaborating with Norwegian director Joachim Trier – they co-wrote Reprise (2006) and Oslo, August 31st  (Oslo, 31. August/2011), which both took several international prizes and were nominated for the Nordic Council Film Prize.

At this year’s Amanda Awards ceremony – Norway’s national film prizes –  at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, Blind (which he also scripted) received four 2.5kg statuettes, including for Best Director and Best Actress (Dorrit Petersen). Vogt also worked on the screenplay for Trier’s first English-language feature, Louder than Bombs, currently shooting in New York.