Solanas takes away Stockholm film prize

Juan Solanas' Nordeste won the Best Film award at the Stockholm International Film Festival, which closed this week.

Spanish director Solanas received the Bronze Horse award at a star-studded ceremony at Lydmar Hotel in Stockholm, where directors and actors mingled including Park Chanwook, whose film Sympathy for Lady Vengeanceclosed the festival.

The award was presented to Solanas by Eva Fröling, the acclaimed dramatic actress who starred in Ingmar Bergman films, and actor Sven Wolter. Solanas said he was honoured to receive the award in the home country of Bergman, one of his favourite directors. The film also garnished acting awards for both Carole Bouquet and Aymrà in a film about child trafficking.

Me and You and Everyone Else by Miranda July took home the Best Debut film, which is the award that is perhaps the distinguishing feature of the Stockholm fest. The award goes to a director’s first film. July easily acquired the prize by capturing the heart of the audience and jury, with completely sold out screenings at the festival.

“In the USA the film has already gone to DVD so its wonderful to see it getting approved in Stockholm”, said July. The film will premiere in Stockholm January 6th. The film is a colourful tableau of believable characters that spans all ages.

The Stockholm festival is noted for showcasing innovative and cutting edge by directors who are acclaimed for their independence and this year is no exception. Directors like David Cronenberg and Terry Gilliam are ground breaking directors that were honoured this year.

Park Chan Wook is also a ‘renegade’ director who made a trilogy of ‘revenge films’ just to prove that he could. But revenge according to the South Korean director is often about the “transference of guilt”. The film sparked off the best debate of the festival – “Female Revenge” with a panel of Swedish critics and cinema studies experts.

The film that won the Star! Audience Award at the festival was the only Swedish entry to the Stockholm XVI Competition Storm, by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein.

Stockholm Film Festival award winners:

Best Film

Nordeste by Juan Diego Solanas

Best First Film

Me and You and Everyone We Know by Miranda July

Best Script

Annie Griffin for Festival

Best Cinematography

Adrian Tan- for Be With Me

Best Actress

Carole Bouquet and Aymará Rovera -for Nordeste

Best Actor

Vincent D’Onofrio -for Thumbsucker

Best Short Film

Sons of Tû: The God of War by Taika Waititi

Star! Audience Award

Storm (Stockholm XVI Competition), by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein.

1 km Film Scholarship

The Voice by Johan Söderberg

Made in Stockholm

Death by Heart by Malin Erixon

Jameson Short Film Awards 2005

Mebana by Daniel Wallentin

FIPRESCI Jury Best Film

Be With Me by Eric Khoo

Northern Lights

Accused by Jacob Thuesen

World Wide Winner Award

(Best film in the Festival selected by the online film audience).

The Forest and 7 Illustrations Around the Name of a Tree by Malin Erixon

Moira Sullivan

Moira Sullivan is a freelance journalist and member of the Swedish Film Critics’ Association


How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic

A front-line Swedish nurse is getting some Covid downtime with a week of private screenings of the Gothenburg film festival, in a former lighthouse off the country's west coast.

How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic
Competition winner Lisa Enroth.

More than 12,000 candidates from 45 countries applied to watch the festival's films in almost near isolation on an island 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Stockholm.

The prize is a week viewing as many of the festival's 70 premieres as they like in a hotel in the former Pater Noster Lighthouse. But they will be in isolation and will have no access to their own computer or laptop.

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The bright-red lighthouse, built on a tiny island off Sweden's west coast in 1868, is surrounded by a scattering of squat, red buildings originally built to house the lighthouse keeper's family. It can only be reached by boat or helicopter, depending on the weather.

After a series of interviews and tests, festival organisers chose emergency nurse and film buff Lisa Enroth for the prize, in keeping with the 2021 festival's theme, Social Distances.

Before boarding a small speedboat out to the island on the clear, chill winter's morning, Enroth said she had applied not only out of her love for the cinema, but also to seek respite from her hectic work as an emergency nurse during the pandemic.

“It has been hectic, so it's a nice opportunity just to be able to land and to reflect over the year,” she said.

Months working amid Covid crisis

Sweden, which has taken a light-touch approach to the pandemic compared to its neighbours, has been facing a stronger than expected second wave of the virus. So far, more than 11,500 people have died from Covid-19 across the country.

Enroth works in the emergency ward of a hospital in Skovde in central Sweden. Since the start of the pandemic, her hospital's work caring for virus patients on top of their regular workload has been intense.

Lisa Enroth on her way to the remote festival location. Photo: AFP

“We had a lot of Covid cases during this year and every patient that has been admitted to the hospital has been passing through the emergency ward,” she told journalists.

The organisers said they were surprised by the numbers of applicants for the prize but were confident they had chosen the right candidate — not only for her love of cinema.

“She has also dedicated this past year in the frontline against the Covid-19 pandemic,” the festival's creative director Jonas Holmberg said to AFP.

“That's also one of the reasons we chose her”. 

Isolated screenings

Boarding the boat dressed in a thick survival suit, Enroth sped over the calm, icy waters, jumping off in the island's tiny harbour and disappearing into her lodgings.

A screen has been set up in the lantern room at the top of the windswept island's lighthouse, offering a 360-degree view of the sea and coastline around.

Another wide screen has been set up in one of the island's buildings.

Enroth will also have a tablet and headphones if she wants to watch films elsewhere on the island, which measures just 250 metres by 150 metres.

With only one other person staying permanently on the island — a safety precaution — Enroth's only contact with the outside world will be through her video diary about the films she has viewed.

The festival's films will be shown online and two venues in Gothenburg itself will allow screenings for just one person at a time.

Holmberg, the festival's creative director, said he hoped events like these would maintain interest in the industry at a time when many screens are closed because of pandemic restrictions.

“We are longing so much to come back to the cinemas and in the meantime we have to be creative and do the things that we can to create discussion,” he told journalists.