Nordic countries dominate the Tribeca Film Festival awards

Virgin Mountain3

Article from Cineuropa

Icelandic director Dagur Kári’s Virgin Mountain went directly from winning the Politiken Audience Award at the Copenhagen International Film Festival CPH:PIX (22 April) to collecting three honours at Tribeca: the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature (Kari, €25,000), Best Screenplay (Kari, €5,000) and Best Actor (Gunnar Jónsson, $2,500), in the World Narrative Competition.

Launched at a Special Gala at the Berlin International Film Festival, Virgin Mountain stars Jónsson and Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir in the story of Fúsi, a man in his 40s who sleepwalks through the mundane routine of everyday life, until encounters with a vivacious woman and an eight-year-old girl force him to make changes. The film was produced by Baltasar Kormákur and Agnes Johansen for Iceland’s Sögn/RVK Studios, with Denmark’s Nimbus Film.

In the same section, Danish director Jeppe Rønde’s Bridgend also received three prizes – for Best Actress (Hannah Murray, $2,500), Best Cinematography (Magnus Jønck, $5,000) and Best Narrative Editing (Oliver Bugge Coutté, $5,000 + $50,000 in production services).

Scripted by Rønde, Torben Bech and Peter Asmussen, Rønde’s first feature after a series of award-winning documentaries follows Sarah, who moves with her policeman father to Bridgend in South Wales – a former mining town where 79 teenagers committed suicide over six years. Why? There is no final answer given in the Michel Schønnemann andMalene Blenkov production for Blenkov & Schønnemann Pictures.

Danish director Camilla Nielsson’s Democrats, which bagged two prizes at theCopenhagen International Film Festival CPH:DOX, was awarded for Best Documentary Feature in the World Documentary Competition ($25,000). In Henrik Veileborg’s production for Upfront Films, she follows the inner circles of politics for three years in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, describing how the country got its new constitution.

Finland and Sweden returned from New York with prizes in the short-film competition –Listen, by Finland’s Hamy Ramezan and Rungano Nyoni, won for Best Narrative Short ($5,000), and Catwalk, by Swedish director Ninja Thyberg, received the Student Visionary Award ($5,000).

Having already been honoured in Hong Kong, Saguenay-Canada and Tampere, Listentakes place at a police station in Copenhagen, where a foreign woman, wearing a burqa, is filing a complaint for domestic violence. However, the translator seems unwilling to report what she is saying.

In Catwalk, Thyberg follows nine-year-old Ella at elementary school – her classmates are either playing in the schoolyard or reading fashion blogs in full adult dress. Ella wants to take a step into the world of fashion and style, but her parents refuse to buy her new clothes.

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.