'I Belong,' 'Snowfall,' 'All That Matters' chase Dragon

STOCKHOLM

Norwegian movies will take center stage at the 36th Goteborg Film Festival, Scandinavia’s biggest sprocket opera.

As previously announced, Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg’s “Kon-Tiki” opens the event. The film is Norway’s entry in Oscar’s foreign-language pic category and the helmers were selected this week for Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch. The film screens out of competition in Goteborg.

Three Norwegian titles are among the eight competing for the Dragon Award for Nordic feature, worth 1 million krona ($115,000). They are Dag Johan Haugerud’s “I Belong,” Hisham Zaman’s world premiering “Before Snowfall” and Sara Johnsen’s “All That Matters Is Past,” which first played at Toronto.

Denmark is repped by two titles in the main competition, “The Hijacking” by Tobias Lindholm, who was the other Nordic helmer selected in Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch list, and Michael Noer’s “Nordvest.” Lindholm and Noer won the Dragon Award in 2010 for their co-helmed feature debut “R: Hit First, Hit Hardest.”

Also competing are Swedish soph helmer Fredrik Edfeldt with “Faro”; Baltasar Kormakur’s “The Deep,” Iceland’s entry for foreign-language Oscar; and “8-Ball” by Finnish helmer Aku Louhimies, who won the Dragon Award in 2005 with “Frozen Land.”

Margarethe von Trotta will receive Goteborg’s Honorary Dragon Award. Her latest pic “Hannah Arendt” will play during the fest, as will Nazi drama “Calm at Sea” by Volker Schlondorff, Von Trotta’s former husband and a creative collaborator on several pics, including “The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum.”

Other guests include Aardman animator Peter Lord, French helmer Olivier Assayas (“Carlos”) and Austrian director Ulrich Seidl.

Pics competing for the Ingmar Bergman Debut Award for first- and second-time features include Eliza Hittman’s coming-of-age drama “It Felt Like Love”; Venice prized “Wadjda” by Haifaa Al Mansour, Saudi Arabia’s first femme helmer and another one of those picked for Variety’s Director to Watch list this year; and Georg Maas’ “Two Lives,” featuring Liv Ullmann.

Among gala screenings are Sacha Gervasi’s “Hitchcock,” Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” and Joe Wright’s “Anna Karenina.”

Unspooling Jan. 25 to Feb. 4, the fest screens almost 500 films from 84 countries across 23 venues.

The Nordic Film Market takes place in Goteborg Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, presenting around 40 features and works in progress.

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