“Frozen River” tells a gripping story of border smuggling across the frozen waters of the St. Lawrence River and was considered by the jury to be 2008’s best feature
Courtney Hunt’s story takes place in the days before Christmas near a little-known border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec. Here, the lure of fast money from smuggling presents a daily challenge to single mothers who would otherwise be earning minimum wage. Two women – one white, one Mohawk, both single mothers faced with desperate circumstances – are drawn into the world of border smuggling across the frozen river.
This year’s festival jury was chaired by Jorn Donner and included Elin Klinga, Sharon Swart, Karin Mamma Andersson and Erik Richter Strand.
In giving the top prize to “Frozen River” the jury gave Hunt credit for “a film that treats a socially important subject with unusual sensitivity.”
The award for best directing debut was given to Steve McQueen for “Hunger”, a film which the jury deemed helpful to “understand and identify with both sides of a violent conflict.”
The jury gave an honourable mention to Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire for “Johnny Mad Dog” in the category best feature for having “highlighted the plight of children engaged in armed warfare.”
Zuzana Bydzovska won the award for best actress for her role in “Country Teacher.”
Michael Fassbender won the award for best actor for his role in “Hunger.”
The award for best short film was given to Marian Crisan for “Megatron.”
Krister Linder won the best music award for her score in “Downloading Nancy” and was given credit by the jury for her “work (which) helps to lift a heavy subject matter and invites the audience into a complex landscape of emotional trauma.”
Erik Hemmendorff and Ruben Östlund won the award for best screenplay for their film “Involuntary” and Divis Marek for best cinematography on “Country Teacher”
The FIPRESCI Jury of international film critics which was made up of Anjelika Artyukh (Russia), Jan Olszewski (Poland) and Marco Spagnoli (Italy) gave its award of best film to “Better Things” by Duane Hopkins.
Young Swedish film maker Alexandra Dahlström, who made her breakthrough in Lukas Moodysson’s 1998 cult hit “Fucking Åmål” (“Show Me Love”), was awarded this year’s 1 km film scholarship for her film “Come Here.”
The jury gave Dahlstöm credit for her “great talent in visualizing feelings and creatively using sound and image to create a vibrant atmosphere that rubs off on the viewer.”
Levan Akin received an honourable mention for the 1 km scholarship for “The Last Things.”
The Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award 2008 was awarded to festival guest Charlotte Rampling “for her impressive portrayals of some of the most memorable female characters in modern cinema.”
Fellow festival guest Wong Kar Wai was awarded the Stockholm Visionary Award 2008 “for his continuous exploration of the labyrinth of the human heart in a search with no boundaries in time, space or form.”
Rising Star 2008 – Malin Crépin
The Stockholm International Film Festival and L’Oréal Paris this year joined forces to initiate the rising star award to “highlight and promote new up and coming acting talent from Sweden.” Actress Malin Crépin is first out to receive the honour for her “ability to express great emotion with minimal means.”