Fridriksson’s ‘Island’ tops Nordic pic awards

“Devil’s Island,” Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s humorous postwar tale of survival and dependence, walked away Friday night with the Nordic Amanda prize for best feature film at an annual awards ceremony studded with top producers, directors and critics from Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden.

The Nordic Amanda is the highest film prize given out in the Nordic territories. Fridriksson’s “Cold Fever” also won the award four years ago.

The ceremony took place at the 25th Norwegian Intl. Film Festival, an annual event in this western coastal town, which turns into the Cannes of the North when some 1,300 filmmakers, exhibitors, distributors and Norway’s equivalent of film paparazzi gather here annually to see new and mainly international releases and to promote the Norwegian film industry.

At a separate awards ceremony Saturday night, Norway handed out its own Amandas, the country’s equivalent to the U.S. Oscars. Among the winners were Pal Sletaune-directed “Junk Mail” for best film and “Junk Mail’s” Eli Anne Linnestad and Robert Skjaerstad for best actress and best actor. “Liv Ullmann, Scenes From a Life,” Edvard Hambro’s biography of Norway’s best-known film star and director, won an Amanda for best documentary. Also at the awards ceremony was French actor Jean-Pierre Leaud, in town to receive the Sower of Joy Award handed out each year to a distinguished filmmaker.

Fridriksson told Daily Variety “Devil’s Island” was “simply a film about a society coming into its own independence.” It is set at a camp on the outskirts of an American army base in Reykjavik during the Vietnam War and following Iceland’s independence from Denmark.

Jury member Jan Erik Holst called it “a classical drama with universal themes.”

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