The Nordic documentaries nominated at the Gothenburg Film Festival

Eight documentaries have been announced as the nominees for the 2017 Dragon Award for Best Nordic Documentary, which takes place as part of the Gothenburg Film Festival at the end of the month.

“Nordic documentary film maintains a high level of quality internationally and this year’s films are exceptionally strong—both artistically and thematically. Several filmmakers have taken interest in the ongoing refugee crisis and migration is also a subject in several films, such as Citizen Schein and Shapeshifters,” says Jonas Holmberg, artistic director at the festival.

In total, there will be four world premieres and four films that have already been screening around the world; for example, The War Show which screened at Venice, and Nowhere to Hide, which won the main award at the world’s largest documentary festival, IDFA.


“Documentary film provides in-depth treatment that is necessary for understanding the complex societal challenges we face. For example, the Swedish housing shortage and segregation. By supporting documentary film, we are able to participate in the pertinent democratic dialog. As a popular movement we are eager to contribute to that,” says Anna Lönn Lundbäck, regional head of the Swedish Union of Tenants in West Sweden.

The award will be presented on the 4th of February.

Here are the nominees:

Citizen Schein

By: Maud Nycander, Kersti Grunditz Brennan and Jannike Åhlund, Sweden.
The incredible story about a Jewish refugee, Harry Schein, who became a wealthy intellectual playboy and revolutionized Swedish film.

The Good Postman

Director: Tonislav Hristov, Finland/Bulgaria.
An odd mailman runs for mayor and wants to revitalize a Bulgarian village by welcoming Syrian refugees in this warm and humorous documentary.

Nowhere to Hide


Director: Zaradasht Ahmed, Norway/Sweden.
An enthralling, unique portrayal that gets up close and captures the past few years’ development in what’s called “The Triangle of Death” in central Iraq.

The War Show

Directors: Obaidah Zytoon and Andreas Dalsgaard, Denmark/Sweden/Syria.
The radio journalist Obaidah Zytoon personally and engagingly relates how the Arab Spring and the war in Syria has affected her and her friends.

Ouaga Girls

Director: Theresa Traore Dahlberg, Sweden/Burkina Faso.
A group of young women tweak machines and hammer away at a school for auto mechanics in Ouagadougou in this poetic story about life choices, sisterhood and the endeavor to find your own way.


Director: Sophie Vuković, Sweden.
But where do you really come from? Sophie Vuković explores concepts in a cinematic essay about migration and the desire for belonging beyond national borders.

Death of a Child

Directors: Frida Barkfors and Lasse Barkfors, Denmark/Sweden.
A staggering film about people who have done and experienced one of the worst things you can do: to have your baby die because you left it in your car.


Directors: Lea Glob and Mette Carla Albrechtsen, Denmark.
An open casting session turns into a safe space for young women to speak openly about desire and fantasies in this liberating documentary about a sexuality that is often shamed.

Quotes and info via the Gothenburg Film Festival press release

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.