Sweden’s Gothenburg Film Festival announced the lineup Tuesday for its 46m edition, with “Danish Girl” star Alicia Vikander and double Palme d’Or-winning director Ruben Ostlund among the attendees.
Scandinavia’s biggest festival, Gothenburg opens on Jan. 27 with the world premiere of Abe Hasan’s “Exodus.” Its closing film is “Camino” by Birgit Sturmos.
The festival will screen 250 films over 10 days. “Exodus” will compete for the title of best Nordic film – and SEK 400 000 ($38,000) – with “Godland”, IFFR opener “Munch,” “Ellos eatnu – Let the River Flow,” “Unruly,” “Four Little Adults, ” “Copenhagen does not exist” and “Dogborn”, already shown in Venice.
In the Nordic Documentary Competition, viewers will see “Hypernoon,” “The King,” IDFA winner “Apollonia, Apollonia,” “Bong Thom” (“The Brother”), “Labor” and “Monica in the South Seas.”
“Nordic countries are opening up to discuss their role in colonial history. This is something that is very visible in this year’s program,” says artistic director Jonas Holberg diversity.
“’Empire’ is a story about the last slaves in the Danish West Indies, ‘Ellos eatnu – Let the River Flow’ is about the relationship between the Norwegian state and the Sami minority. ‘Godland’ reflects Denmark’s colonial history,” he says. Mika Tanila and Sami van Ingen’s song “Monica in the South Seas” also explores the legacy of Robert Flaherty and his family.
“Before, the Nordics didn’t think of themselves as ‘guilty.’ [of any wrongdoings]. Now, artists are beginning to reflect on these issues.”
The festival will continue the tradition of surprising the audience along with the performance of the event. After emergency nurse Lisa Enroth is sent to a remote island as part of The Isolated movie experience in 2021, Gothenburg will enlist the help of one Ruben Ostlund, who recently named its new honorary president.
This Is Movie Time! Initiatives and screenings “Triangle of Sorrows,” Östlund will try to manage the audience as well. But in order to buy tickets, the audience must first answer some of his questions.
“It’s a dream for many people, to be directed by a two-time Palme d’Or winner,” jokes Holmberg.
“Some of these questions are about your viewing habits, your best and worst movie experiences. Others are more personal: how much money you make, who you vote for, when was the last time you cried.”
“When we approached him, asking him to take the role, one of the things we talked about was the movie role. What is the meaning of watching movies together? What are our responsibilities as audience members? It’s something he wants to address and I think it will be very interesting.”
Changing audience behavior is on the festival’s radar, as exemplified by its annual Nostradamus Report. But the event also tries to engage the audience on a political level, be it through its continued support of Ukrainian filmmakers or by welcoming Iran’s Tsar Amir Ibrahimi as head of the jury for the Nordic competition.
The “Holy Spider” star will lead a protest in support of imprisoned Iranians, as will Taraneh Alidusti, star of Mani Haghighi’s “Minus.” Since then, Alidusti has been released.
“When the war started, we wanted to help. What we can do is support more Ukrainian films in terms of distribution and development and invite filmmakers for a residency here in Gothenburg,” said Holmberg.
Now, the festival will welcome two of them: Antonio Lukich, ready to introduce “Luxembourg, Luxembourg” and join the jury of the Nordic competition, and Eva Dzishashvili, “Behind the ply.” A Mountain Path,” as well as this year’s focus section dedicated to the Homecoming concept.
“It also starred us by inviting local filmmaker Jan Troel, who will receive the Nordic Honorary Dragon Award. He made ‘The Immigrants,’ an original story about leaving home in Sweden and finding a new one,” says Holmberg.
The fest on Tuesday announced the jury for the 2023 Nordisk Film and TV Amateur Award for Best TV Series Screenplay, consisting of Danica Karsik, Neboja Taraba, Wanda Bendjeul and Leif Holst Jensen. Nominees include “As Long As We Live,” “Blackwater,” “Carmen Curlers,” “The Invincibles” and “Kids in Crime.”
Finally, Alicia Vikander will attend a gala premiere of films made by students of Alicia Vikander’s educational program Alicia Vikander Film Lab 2022.
“When he was appointed an honorary fellow by the Stan A. Olson Foundation for Research and Culture, his response was: ‘Let’s do something with this money.’ This is his way of giving back to the city he came from,” said Holberg, adding that the project will continue beyond his three-year plan.
“To stay relevant, festivals have to change. They are no longer dedicated to screening films. We also want to engage people.”
Opening Film: “Journey,” (Abe Hassan, Sweden)
Abe Hassan – known as the producer of “A Hustler’s Diary” – presents his first feature: a drama about a smuggler who meets a Syrian girl, desperate to join her family in Europe. Inspired by his own experiences as a child refugee, the film was produced by Matthias Nohrberg and Anna-Klara Carlsten for B-Reel Films. LevelK handles sales.
“Copenhagen doesn’t exist,” (Martin Skovjorg, Denmark)
Produced by SnowGlobe, with TrustNordisk on board and written by Eskil Vogt of “The Worst Person in the World” fame – it begins with the disappearance of a young woman. Her boyfriend agrees to interrogate her father. Skovbjerg says: “Aeschylus created these beautiful, but complex characters, about whom you first feel prejudiced and then begin to fall in love.”
“The Birth of a Dog,” (Isabella Carbonell, Sweden)
In another Trust Nordisk offering, the sister and brother don’t expect much: they just want to survive. But then they are given a “job”. As her characters try to figure out whether to act or look away, Carbonell sinks into the despair of homelessness and human trafficking, enlisting the help of rapper Sylvana Imam, here played as the sister. Produced by Momento Films and co-produced by Non-Stop Entertainment.
“Ellos eatnu – let the river flow,” (Ole Giever, Norway)
Based on a true story, this politically charged title will take up the events following the Norwegian government’s decision to build a dam on the Alta-Kautokino river in the 1970s – despite its significance for the Sami community, who decided to fight for its rights. . Produced by Mer Films.
“Empire,” (Frederik Aspok, Denmark)
Aspöck, behind “Out of Tune” – described by diversity As “cleverly executed and impeccably performed” – Danish returns with a period drama centered on the last slave of the West Indies. The story follows a wealthy “free colored” woman, Anna Elizabeth Higgard, who begins a love affair with the governor-general of a Danish colony. But rumors of a slave revolt are spreading.
“Four Little Adults,” (Selma Vilhunen, Finland, Sweden, France)
Finland’s Selma Vilhunen, Academy Award-nominated for the short “Do I Have to Care of Everything?”, Vilhunen follows up her Crystal Bear winner “Stupid Young Heart” with this tale of a troubled relationship. As her characters decide to explore polyamory, things are bound to get messy. Alma Pöysti and Eero Milonoff star, while Paris-based Indie Sales handles sales.
“Godland,” (Holinur Palmason, Denmark/Iceland/France/Sweden)
Featuring Elliott Crosset Hove and Ingvar Sigurdsson, this critical favorite sees a Danish priest travel to Iceland to build a church and photograph its people. “[It] Taking the country’s colonial past as its subject, pitting a late 19th-century believer against a far more powerful force, such as the Arctic, art-house There Will Be Blood, writes Peter DeBruge.
“stage,” (Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken, Norway)
The opening film of the Rotterdam festival, it promises an unusual take on the life – or, rather, life – of Edvard Munch, played by four different actors. “It seemed like the only right thing to do, because he’s made so many changes throughout his life,” Dahlsbakken said diversity. Acquired by Juno Films, it is produced by the film company and backed by Viaplay.
“irregularity,” (Malou Rayman, Denmark, Sweden)
After the well-received “A Perfectly Normal Family,” Reiman’s sophomore feature follows a teenage girl forced into an institution in the 1930s, the real-life Sprog Women’s Home. “We didn’t shoot on the actual island, but I went there a few times,” Helmer admitted. “Standing there was really emotional and it made me feel connected to all the women there.”
Nordic Documentary Competition:
“Hypernoon,” (Mia Engberg, Sweden)
“The King,” (Karin of Klintberg, Sweden)
“Apollonia, Apollonia,” (Lea Globe, Denmark, Poland, France)
“Bong Thom (The Brother),” (Zardasht Ahmed, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands)
“Labor,” (Tove Pils, Sweden)
“Monika in the South Seas,” (Mika Tanila, Sami van Ingen, Finland)
Ingmar Bergman Competition:
“La Pecera,” (Glorimare Marrero Sanchez, Puerto Rico, Spain)
“Girl,” (Adura Onashile, UK)
“Archeology of Love,” (Wanmin Lee, South Korea, France)
“When It Melts,” (Virle Betens, Belgium, Netherlands)
“La Palisade,” (Philipp Sotnichenko, Ukraine)
“Sister, what grows where the land is sick?” (Franciska Eliasen, Norway)
“Suro,” (Michael Gurrea, Spain)
“Runner,” (Marian Mathias, USA, France, Germany)
“Corsage,” (Marie Kreutzer, Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg)
“Small, slow but steady,” (Sho Miyake, Japan, France)
“1976,” (Manuela Martelli, Chile, Argentina)
“The Five Devils,” (Lea Maisius, France)
“Earthlings,” (Steve Dogthon, US)
“Witchcraft,” (Christopher Murray, Chile, Mexico, Germany)
“L’immensità,” (Emanuele Crialese, Italy, France)
“Night Passenger,” (Michael Hars, France)
“The Blue Kaftan,” (Mariam Tojani, Morocco, France, Belgium, Denmark)
“Blaze,” (Dale Catherine Barton, Australia)
“Pamfir,” (Dmytro Sukholitky-Sobcuk, Ukraine, France, Poland, Germany)
“Ismayer,” (David Wagner, Austria)
“Brother,” (Clement Virgo, Canada)
“Minus,” (Mani Haghighi, Iran, France)
“More than ever,” (Emilie Ateff, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway)
“The Happiest Man in the World,” (Tiona Stragar Mitevska, North Macedonia, Belgium, Slovenia)
“Love and Mathematics,” (Claudia Saint-Luce, Mexico)
“Burning Day,” (Emin Alper, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands).