PARIS– Brit thesp and director Ralph Fiennes will be feted at Goteborg, Scandinavia’s biggest film fest, with a Honorary Dragon Award.
“Since his great international breakthrough with ‘Schindler’s List,’ Fiennes has belonged to the chosen band of actors whose mien grants a mysterious aura to films in all genres,” stated the fest. “His acting is characterized by gravity, vigor and extraordinary presence.”
Fiennes’ range as an actor is reflected in the diversity of his credits — from his iconic performance as Lord Voldemort in “Harry Potter” to the romance drama “The English Patient.” Thesp toplines Wes Anderson’s humor-laced drama “The Grand Budapest Hotel” which opens Stateside on March 7.
Goteborg’s star-studded Gala section will be particularly strong with such critically-aclaimed, awards’ season favorites as Ethan and Joel Coen’s “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “August: Osage County” starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, “Labor Day” with Kate Winslet, “Dallas Buyers Club” with Matthew McConaughey, and “Her” with Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. The Gala lineup also includes the world-premiere of Swedish helmer Maria Blom’s dramedy “Hallahalla” about a nurse who’s ordinary life gets turned upside down.
Among the contenders for the Dragon nod for best Nordic film are: Norwegian director Ester Martin Bergsmark’s “Something Must Break,” Hisham Zaman’s “Letter To The King,” Soren Balle’s “The Sunfish,” Pirjo Honkasalo’s “Concrete Night,” Iram Haq’s “I am Yours,” and Swedish helmer Henrik Hellstrom’s “The Quiet Roar.” Iceland will also be repped in competition with Ragnar Bragason’s “Metalhead” and Benedikt Erlingsson’s “Of Horses and Men.”
The winner of the Dragon nod for best Nordic film will receive one million Swedish crowns during a gala ceremony held on Feb.1. The jury comprises Chadian helmer Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Icelandic producer Agnes Johansen, Norwegian producer Kalle Lochen, Swedish director Anna Odell, Finnish thesp Maria Sid.
Zaman’s “Before Snowfall” snatched up last year’s Dragon award.
Starting this year, Sven Nykvist Cinematography Foundation will also hand out a grant 50,000 Swedish crowns to the best cinematographer of a Nordic film competing for a Dragon award.
Goteborg runs Jan. 24- Feb. 3.
The eight Dragon Award contenders are:
“Something Must Break” (Sweden) — Directed by Ester Martin Bergsmark. A feature debut, pic is based on Eli Levén’s “You Are the Roots That Sleep Beneath My Feet and Hold the Earth in Place” and turns on a young androgynous man struggling to be loved. Cast: Saga Becker, Iggy Malmborg, Shima Niavarani. World Premiere
“Letter To The King” (Norway) — Directed by Hisham Zaman. The drama follows five people on a day trip from a refugee camp to Oslo, where they each must make decisive choices. Cast: Ali Bag Salimi, Zheer Durhan, Nazmi Kirik. World Premiere
“The Sunfish” (Denmark) — Directed by Soren Balle. The dramedy portrays a 45-year-old third-generation fisherman living in the small and windy town of Hirtshals in Northern Jutland. Cast: Henrik Birch, Susanne Storm, Lars Topp Thomsen. World Premiere
“Concrete Night” (Finland) — Directed by Pirjo Honkasalo. Based on a novel by Pirkko Saisio, the black-and white drama takes place over 24 hours and turns on a a 14-year-old boy receiving unwise lessons from his brother, who is about to be incarcerated. Pic world-premiered at Toronto. Cast: Johannes Brotherus, Jari Virman, Anneli Karppinen. Swedish Premiere
“I am Yours” (Norway) — Directed by first-timer Iram Haq, a Norwegian actor, filmmaker and singer who’s recently been signed by ICM. A feature debut, the semi-autobiographical drama tells the story of a young Pakistanese-Norwegian woman who raises her child alone, while struggling to be an actress, as well as a woman and face the disapproval of her conservative mother. Pic repped by Norway in the Oscar’s foreign-language race and world-premiered at Toronto. Cast: Amrita Acharia, Ola Rapace, Prince Singh, Rabia Noreen. Swedish Premiere
“The Quiet Roar” (Sweden) — Directed by Henrik Hellstrom. The sophomore feature turns on a 68-year old woman diagnosed with a terminal disease whose treatment propels her to to explore her subconscious, where she confronts her 25-year old self and her former husband. Cast: Evabritt Strandberg, Hanna Schygulla, Joni Francéen. World Premiere
“Metalhead” (Iceland) — Directed by Ragnar Bragason. The dark comedy-drama centers on a young woman who hasn’t gotten over the accidental death of her brother and has remade herself in his image. Pic played in the Contemporary World Cinema section at Toronto. Cast: Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson, Sveinn Olafur Gunnarsson, Throstur Leo Gunnarsson
“Of Horses and Men” (Iceland) — Directed by Benedikt Erlingsson. The humor-laced romance drama looking at the human streak in the horse and the horse in the human. Pic earned Erlingsson a best director nod at San Sebastian, Tallinn and Tokyo and played at Palm Springs. It also repped Iceland in the Oscars’ foreign-language race. Cast: Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, Charlotte Bøving, Helgi Bjornsson