On 28 August the Norwegian Oscar committee announced the shortlist of the three candidates for the 2014 submission, selected from 32 premieres: Norwegian directors Eskil Vogt’s Blind, Bent Hamer’s 1001 Grams (1001 gram) and Hisham Zaman’s Letter to the King (Brev til kongen).
The Norwegian committee will be ready with its final candidate on 3 September. After 1 October, in the US, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will judge the entries and come up with its own shortlist of nine films; the five nominations will be announced on 15 January, and the Oscar awards ceremony will take place on 22 February.
Produced by Hans-Jørgen Osnes and Sigve Endresen for Motlys, Vogt’s Sundance entry Blind portrays Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen), 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. Earlier this month Vogt’s feature debut won four Amandas, Norway’s national film prize, at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, and has previously won several international awards, among them in Sundance and Berlin.
Hamer’s 1001 Grams will have its world premiere in Toronto (and open the Bergen International Film Festival on 23 September) before its local release on 26 September. Produced, directed and written by Hamer, for his own BulBul Film, it follows a recently divorced, work-obsessed woman scientist in her late 30s (Ane Dahl Torp) goes to a seminar in Paris about the actual weight of the kilogram, where she falls in love with a French colleague.
Letter to the King
The winner of the Dragon Award and SEK 1 million (€0.1 million) in Göteborg and recently two Amandas, Zaman’s Letter to the King is the story of five immigrants, who have been permitted to leave the refugee camp in snowy no man’s land and travel to Oslo. Their experiences of happiness, humiliation, love and revenge are described in a letter, written by 80-year-old Mirza to the King of Norway. Alan Milligan and Zaman produced for Film Farms and Zaman Films which was written by Hisham Zaman and Mehmet Aktas.
Two years ago Norwegian directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning’s Kon-Tiki, which took almost 900,000 admissions domestically and was sold to more than 90 territories, was both nominated for the Golden Globe and an Academy Award as Best Foreign-Language Feature.