The Nordic documentaries selected for the European Film Awards

The documentaries for this years’ European Film Awards have been announced, with some Nordic titles among the selection.

Included is the Swedish/German/Finnish co-production Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas, which is about foreign investors buying up Ethiopian land. The push to bring money into the country has had a downside, with massive forced evictions taking place. The documentary is directed by Joakim Demmer. You can learn more about the documentary over at their website, here.

Next is the documentary How to Meet a Mermaid, which is a Dutch/Danish co-production. Directed by Coco Schrijber, the sea becomes a haven for mankind, locked in its struggle with its ‘indifferent universe’. Lex, Rebecca, and Miguel each have their own reasons to lay their lives in the hands of the capricious waters. The question remains, however, whether they will find what they so anxiously seek underneath the surface of the waters.

The Finnish/Bulgarian documentary The Good Postman has also been nominated. Directed by Tonislav Hristov, The Good Postman is set in small and stubborn Bulgarian village facing the Turkish border has been resisting foreign invaders since the times of the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Now its electorate of 38 elderly Bulgarians is deciding on future of Europe. The Great Gate, as the village has been called for centuries because of its location on the doorsteps of the former Ottoman Empire, has found itself in the middle of the European crisis, as at night asylum seekers sneak across the border causing fear and unrest. Once again the sleepy and forgotten village has become the most important secret loophole of Europe. Postman Ivan has a new political vision. He decides to run for mayor to bring the dying village to life by welcoming refugees. His opponents want either to close their eyes or close down the border and reintroduce communism. Busy on the campaign trail while delivering the mail, Ivan soon learns that while good intentions are not enough, even the smallest deeds matter.

Last but not least is The War Show, directed by Andreas Dalsgaard and Obaidah Zytoon, in which a Syrian radio DJ shares her experiences in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring.

The European Film Awards is organised by the European Film Academy and EFA Productions. Ten documentary festivals have recommended to the committee one film each which has had its world premiere at the respective festival’s latest edition. The festivals are IDFA, CPH:DOX, Visions du Réel, DokLeipzig, Docslisboa, Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Jihlava, Cinéma du Réel, Krakow Film Festival and Sheffield Doc/Fest.


EFA Members will now vote for five documentary nominations. Based on these nominations, the EFA Members will then elect the European Documentary 2017 which will be announced during the awards ceremony on 9 December in Berlin.

To view the full list, and find out more, head to Cineuropa. 

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.