Pernilla August’s feature debut wins prize with $65,000 cash.

Swedish director Pernilla August’s feature debut, Beyond (Svinalängorna), received today (Oct 17) the Nordic Council Film Prize – Scandinavia’s largest film award, which comes with a $65,000 (DKK 350,000) cheque to be shared by August, her co-scriptwriter Lolita Ray, producers Helena Danielsson and Ralf Karlsson.

The announcement was made by UK actress Helen Mirren, honorary chair of the jury, during a press conference this morning in Copenhagen, organised by the Nordisk Film & TV Fond which administers the prize, and streamed live on ScreenDaily. The award will be presented during the Nordic Council’s session in Copenhagen on Nov 2.

Starring Noomi Rapace (Millennium), Sweden’s official submission for the 2012 Oscar-nomination as Best Foreign-Language Feature has previously scooped top prizes in Venice, Lübeck and Sao Paolo, and garnered August a Guldbagge – the country’s national film prize – for best director.

Beyond is a hard-hitting and complex drama, raw and delicate at the same time; dark, yet filled with the light of life - a very personal and original adaptation of a bestselling novel,” said the jury. “August shows a remarkable eye for details and nuances and a talent for making the difficult look easy.”

Based on Susanna Alakoski’s bestselling novel about thetough upbringing when ”being poor, from another country and unable to master the language,” the film was released domestically last December by Nordisk Film, to take almost 400,000 admissions, adding 250,000 in the rest of Scandinavia.

Cannes-winner for her role in Danish director Bille August’s Best Intentions (Den goda viljan), actress-turned-director August will shortly be seen in Swedish directors Jan Troell’s Truth or Consequence (Dom över en död man) and Mikael Marcimain’s Call Girl.

Her directorial first is Sweden’s third win of the Nordic prize.

The other nominees had been Truth About Men (Denmark); The Good Son (Finland); Undercurrent (Iceland); and Oslo, 31 August (Norway).