Austrian director Michael Haneke, whose two most recent features, Amour[+] (2012) andThe White Ribbon[+] (2009), both won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival (with Amour also being Oscar-nominated), will receive Denmark’s most important cultural award, the Sonning Prize, which comes with €135,000 (DKK 1 million).
Given biennially to “an individual who has done commendable work for the benefit of European culture”, the prize was last bestowed upon a filmmaker – Polish directorKrzysztof Kieslowski – in 1994. Haneke will be presented with the honour at a ceremony on 18 June at the University of Copenhagen.
“Michael Haneke is a completely original director. He explores and renews the language of film, and confronts his audience with the central existential and social challenges of our time. Haneke pares things right down to the bone. He confronts us with ourselves, with our relationships with those closest to us, and not least, with our relationships with the ‘others’, both within and outside Europe,” said film professor Ib Bondebjerg, of the University of Copenhagen, a member of the Sonning committee.
“Amour and The White Ribbon are perhaps his strongest contributions to European culture, and represent his artistic talents at their peak. With his films, Haneke makes our modern European culture visible to us without idealising it. He focuses on the dilemmas and challenges faced by the modern, global world, with all its technology and communications. It is the European individual who is at the centre,” he added.
At the opening of the CPH PIX – Copenhagen International Film Festival on Wednesday (2 April) at the Imperial Theatre in the city, Danish director-editor-writer Daniel Dencikcollected the Nordisk Film Award, this time with a €15,000 (DKK 108,000) cheque.
An editor graduate of the National Film School of Denmark, Dencik made his directorial debut in 2012 – his documentary, Moon Rider, received the Reel Talent Award at CPH PIX. His two 2013 documentaries, The Expedition to the End of the World[+] and Tal R: The Virgin, also won prizes, the latter a Robert from the Danish Film Academy.
“At a time when Danish film is in rapid development, which adds to the financial pressure on the courageous and original filmmakers, we need talents who refuse to be stopped by limitations and insist on making this film. Now. The jury believes that Daniel is exactly the insistent and artistically gifted inspiration that the industry and Denmark need right now,” explained Danish director and member of the prize committee Annette K Olesen.