Swedish director Ninja Thyberg is the winner of this year’s annual Women in Motion Young Talent Award, bestowed by the Kering Group and the Cannes Film Festival to a standout first-time female director.
Thyberg is being honored for directing several shorts and a feature all centered around the theme of “sexuality as a prism for viewing passion in society,” the award’s organizers said in a statement.
In 2013, Thyberg’s short “Pleasure” was presented in Cannes’ Critics’ Week section. The short was then expanded into her first feature by the same title which was chosen in the Cannes official selection in 2020 and then screened in 2021 at Sundance, and was also awarded the jury prize in 2021 at Deauville.
“‘Pleasure” jerks the skeevy, compulsive porn world out of the closet in a way that few movies have,” wrote Variety critic Owen Gleiberman in his review. “That’s a brave thing to, and what makes it work is that Ninja Thyberg, revealing the instincts of a true filmmaker, uses her characters to discover the things she’s telling us,” he noted.
The award, which comes with €50,000 ($51,900) in financial support for Thyberg’s next movie project, will be presented to her during the official Women In Motion dinner in Cannes on May 22.
As is now the tradition, the previous winner of the award, Australian director Shannon Murphy, chose her successor.
“I am very honored to have been chosen to receive this award by last year’s recipient Shannon Murphy,” said Thyberg.
“Making ‘Pleasure’ was a difficult but incredibly rewarding process and I am thrilled that it is now out there for everyone to see. I was so proud when it was accepted to Cannes in 2020, and as the film didn’t get to play due to the pandemic, this award is especially meaningful to me,” she added.
During the ceremony, actress and producer Viola Davis will receive the Women In Motion Award. Both awards will be presented by François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering, Pierre Lescure, who is Cannes’ outgoing festival president, and the fest’s director Thierry Frémaux.