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GOTEBORG — Danish helmer May el-Toukhy’s second feature, the provocative melodrama “Queen Of Hearts,” about a successful attorney starting an affair with her teenage step-son, came away the biggest winner at Sweden’s 42nd Göteborg Film Festival, scoring the generously endowed (approx. $110,340) Best Nordic Film kudo. The film also received the Audience Award for Best Nordic Film and the star, Trine Dyrholm, nabbed the fest’s new award for Best Acting.

El-Toukhy’s feature earlier screened in the World Cinema competition of the Sundance Film Festival where Variety reviewer Guy Lodge wrote, “Trine Dyrholm is tremendous as an unlikely sexual predator in May el-Toukhy’s chilly, question mark-laden provocation.”

Swedish helmer Anna Eborn captured the Best Nordic Documentary title and a purse of approx. $12,585 for “Transnistra,” a remarkable look at youth, love and friendship in the breakaway republic Transnistra. It marks the second prestigious prize of the weekend for the film, which yesterday took the Rotterdam Festival’s VPRO Big Screen award, guaranteeing it a release in Dutch theaters and on Dutch television.

The Eurimages-sponsored Audentia Award for a work by a female filmmaker went to Swedish helmer Mia Engberg for her multi-layered, lyrically-directed drama “Lucky One.”

Argentine helmer Maria Alché received the Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award for “A Family Submerged,” a dreamy blend of family, memories and what it means to share a past. Meanwhile, the festival audience voted the Best International Film title to Canadian helmer Keith Behrman’s serio-comic high school coming-of-age and coming-out story “Giant Little Ones.”

DoP Ita Zbroniec-Zajt claimed the Sven Nykvist Cinematography Award for her work on “Season,” a poetic fusion of documentary and fiction set in the northern Swedish village of Kvidinge. Meanwhile, another feat of cinematography, the impressively acted, one-shot, debut drama “Blind Spot” from  Scandinavian actress-turned-filmmaker Tuva Novotny received the Fipresci critics’ nod.

Among the eagerly anticipated titles shown to industry audiences in the popular works-in-progress strand of the Nordic Film Market were three exceptionally strong Icelandic films: Grimur Hákonarson’s “The County,” Rúnar Rúnarsson’s “Echo” and Hlynur Pålmason’s “A White, White Day.” Look for the tiny island nation with the bold and creative film industry to be making waves at prestige launchpads later this year.

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Rolf konow
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Göteborg Film Festival