'The Danish Girl''s Tom Hooper Receive
Courtesy of Goteborg Film Festival

Tom Hooper, whose latest film “The Danish Girl” has been nominated for four Oscars, will receive the Honorary Dragon Award at Göteborg Film Festival.

“The Danish Girl” will have its Swedish premiere at the festival. The London-born helmer, who won an Oscar for “The King’s Speech” in 2010, will be present in Goteborg to receive the honorary prize.

As previously announced, Susanne Bier will receive the Nordic Honorary Dragon Award. As part of the tribute, Bier will host a masterclass and present two of her best-known movies: Oscar-winning “In a Better World” and “Freud Leaving Home.”

Goteborg will also showcase eight directorial debuts which will compete for the Ingmar Bergman award for best debut. The lineup of first films comprises Brady Corbet’s “The Childhood of a Leader,” Yaelle Kayam’s “Mountain” and Senem Tüzen’s “Motherland.”

Other pics running for the Ingmar Bergman kudo include Pietro Marcello’s “Lost and Beautiful,” Nino Basilia’s “Anna’s Life,” Philippe Lesage’s “The Demons,” Pimpaka Towira’s “The Island Funeral”
and Mirjana Karanovic’s “A Good Wife.”

Axel Petersén’s “Under the Pyramid,” Kristian Petri’s “The Hotel” and Anton Källrot’s “The Modern Project,” are among the Swedish titles that will world premiere at the festival. Petri’s been nominated four times at the Guldbagge awards for “Brunnen,” “Detalje,” “Fyren” and “Sommaren.”

“The Modern Project,” a comedy about a group of six people looking for a higher purpose in life who get together in a house in the countryside, will also have its world premiere at the fest, along with Petersén’s “The Hotel.”

“The Hotel” sheds light on stories behind the world’s oldest hotel in Japan to Grand Hotel Cabourg, which was Marcel Proust’s favorite. Petersén’s “Avalon” won Toronto’s Fipresci nod in 2011.

“Under the Pyramid,” also on track to world premiere at the fest, is a psychological adventure thriller about a young gallerist pulled into an international art smuggling affair.

Also world premiering is Henrik Ruben Genz’s “Satisfaction 1720,” a historical drama about the post-war exploit of Vice-Admiral Tordenskjold, known the “rock star of his day.”

On top of highlighting Italy with a retrospective of Swedish helmer Roy Andersson’s favorite Italo pics, Goteborg will also turn the spotlight on Nigerian movies, known as Nollywood.

“Nollywood is in a very interesting stage right now. Filmmakers are looking towards the future and are more open, seeking to reach audiences beyond Nigeria like Hollywood and Bollywood movies,” said Goteborg’s artistic director Jonas Holmberg.

“Nollywood films are often very dramatic movies — Nigeria is a country of conflict and violence which has an impact on the nature of films. Movies are also a driving force behind the booming economic situation of the country,” added Holmberg.

The artistic director cited Biyi Bandele’s “Fifty” and C.J. Obasi’s “O-Town” as two highlights of the Nollywood section.

Set in the Lagos upper middle class”Fifty” is a Sex-and-the-City-style dramedy turning on four career women in the midst of their midlife crises who are confronted by infidelity, betrayal and horrifying family secrets.

“Bandele, whose last film “Half of a Yellow Sun” also played at Goteborg, is a symbol of new Nigerian cinema. With his technical and artistic ambition, he represents this new trend of reaching out,” said Holmberg.

“O-Town” is a stylized action comedy taking place in the underworld of Eastern Nigerian city of Owerri, which is populated with petty thieves, pimps and a rapper with delusions of grandeur.

Holmberg described “O-Town” as a “Tarantinesque” drama. “Obasi earned some great recognition with debut film, the zombie flick ‘Ojuju.’ He’s a true cinefile.”

The tribute to Italian cinema, meanwhile, will include Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani’s “Wondrous Boccaccio,” Luca Guadagnino’s “A Bigger Splash” and classics such as Frederico Fellini’s “And The Ship Sails On.”

Speaking of Scandinavian film production, Holmberg said local production was going strong. “Our selection is a reflection of that upward trend — notably with movies like “Rams,” “A War” and “Sparrows” which have done extremely well internationally.”

Holmberg pointed out more and more Scandi movies and directors were attracting foreign producers and sales agents which is beefing up the local industry. “This foreign impulse is helping us create a broader range of movies — filmmakers now tend to have an international vision from the get go and are able to tap into more foreign financing,” Holmberg said.

In spite of the competition from big festivals like Cannes or Venice, Goteborg still manages to host several world premieres of Scandinavian films and continues playing a crucial role in helping local distributors launch movies, explained Holmberg.

Holmberg noted the festival’s two goals are unchanged: “We’re presenting the best films from all over the world to Scandinavians and bringing the best Nordic films to world audiences.”

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