The winners of the Göteborg International Film Festival 2015

Scandinavia’s top film festival at Göteborg has come to an end, and while that sucks for all us Scandinavian film fans, we can enjoy the list of winners and get excited for what’s to come (and hopefully lots of English subtitles added for us who don’t understand the language!)

The festival was yet another fantastic display of all things Scandinavia, with over 500 amazing films shown in the Swedish city. Over the weekend the Swedes wined and dined as the winners of the prizes were announced. For those of us unfortunate enough to miss out on the festival, we’ve been lucky enough to read a list of winners online.

But who did they pick to win? Well, here are the winners of the Göteborg International Film Festival 2015:

Full reviews and overviews of the film festival will be available in issue eight of Cinema Scandinavia. Preorder the magazine hereThanks to a great festival! We’ll see you all there next year

Best Nordic Film: In Your Arms (DENMARK)

Danish director Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm took home the Dragon Award for his film In Your Arms. In the film, Lisa Carlehed plays the role Maria, attendant nurse to the mortally ill Niels (most commonly known to international fans as being in Submarino) as he travels to a clinic in Switzerland where he can commit assisted suicide.

What did the jury say? The award goes to a film, that with honest sensitivity, brings up the questions: When is life worth living? When is life not worth living?  Told in a pure language, with poetic moments, and with an acting that is vibrating of human authenticity. A film that ends with death – but also with life, love and hope.  The winner of The Dragon Award Best Nordic Film is In Your Arms by Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm.

Best Nordic Documentary: The Look of Silence (DENMARK)

Hey Denmark, stop making such great films. I remember itching to get to the cinema to see the The Act of Killing, which did amazingly well around the world. Seeing the sequel/companion piece The Look of Silence makes me very excited about the possibility of heading to see some more Joshua Oppenheimer. The Look of Silence is the follow-up to the Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing, in which Joshua Oppenheimer continues recounting the genocide of suspected communists in Indonesia in the 1960s.

What did the jury say? The award goes to a film which breaks the barriers between documentary and fiction, by opening up space for a performance of history. Using the camera to confront memories, and inspire reconciliation, this film’s look at the tragical past shapes a nation’s view of the future. The Dragon Award Best Nordic documentary goes to The look of silence by Joshua Oppenheimer.

The Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award

Okay, who doesn’t want to win this award with such an awesome name? Good thing The Lesson (Urok) by Petar Valchanov and Kristina Grozeva, so they can keep the reputation of this award for showing only the best new Nordic talent. This film is about a small town teacher Nadezhda, who, when she and her husband run into economic troubles, are forced to deviate from their high moral ambitions.

What did the jury say? I, as the Jury President for this program, was strongly attracted to how this film depicts elaborately of the human psychology and emotional flows of the main character, who were put in the difficult situations of life that possibly anyone could face. Together with the rhythm created in the process of editing, the way it incorporates natural light, and the outstanding performance that are naturally presented on screen, I believe this film has achieved the quality one could hardly believe that this is the first feature film. As an achievement of this film, I value the fact that the film eagerly seeks for, shares, and presents what’s true to us as audience. With the hope for the filmmakers’ further exploration in their own approach to cinema, this year’s Ingmar Bergman’s Debut Award goes out to The Lesson by Petar Valchanov and Kristina Grozeva.

Sven Nykvist Cinematography Award

Okay, what’s up with all these cool names? The Sven Nykvist Cinematography award was given to Pietari Peltola for They Have Escaped (He ovat paenneet).

What did the jury say? The award goes to a powerful, daring and cinematic language, with the courage to combine dream and reality and break the rules of classical story telling. In a film where you truly feel the cinematographer and director speaking the same language, with the same energy. The winner of Sven Nykvist Cinematography Award is Pietari Peltola for the cinematography in They Have Escaped.

The Fipresci Award

This year’s FIPRESCI award went to Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm for In Your Arms (I dina hænder). The prize is handed out by the International Federation of Film Critics and goes to one of the films in the competition Dragon Award Best Nordic Film.

What did the jury say?
The FIPRESCI jury is proud to give the award to In Your Arms, for its deep understanding of human behaviour; its ability to project strong emotions without being sentimental in a heavy story, and for the great focus in its structure built on two characters, depicted by powerful acting performances.

Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film Audience Choice
Min lilla syster (My Skinny Sister), directed by Sanna Lenken (Sweden), won this year’s Dragon Award Best Nordic Film Audience Choice.

The film is about two sisters, what happens when parents are preoccupied with their own projects and what happens when the older sister Katja feels worse and worse—all seen through the eyes of the younger sister Stella.

Thanks to the website of the festival for the info

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.