Swedish actress Pernilla August’s feature directorial debut, Beyond (Svinalängorna), won the NDR top prize at the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck – the largest festival of Scandinavian films outside the Nordic countries - which ended yesterday (Nov 7).

Earlier this month her film, from Swedish August-winning author Susanne Aloski’s novel about a refugee girl in 1970s’ Sweden, was honoured twice at the Sao Paolo International Film Festival in Brazil, including for Best Actress (Noomi Rapace, also of Millennium fame). The NDR kudo comes with €12,500.

Sweden cashed in more from 30 selections in the festival programme: Babak Najafi’s Sebbe received the Children’s and Youth Film Prize; Agnieszka Lukasiak’s refugee drama, Between Two Fires, the Interfilm Church Prize; and Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne’s festival opener, Sound of Noise, left with the Baltic Film Prize.

The 52nd edition of the five-day showcase in the historical Queen City of the Hanseatic League screened 140 from the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, adding Northern Germany. After Sunday artistic director Linde Fröhlich registered an all-time record of more than 27,000 admissions.

Festival guests were led by Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgaard, from Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland’s A Somewhat Gentle Man (En ganske snill mann) as well as Swedish director Torgny Wickmann’s Anita, Swedish Nymphet (Anita – ur en tonårsflickas dagbok/1973), shown in the Love–Welfare–Sex retrospective.

Moland and fellow Norwegian director Bent Hamer both had films in the official programme – Hamer’s was Home for Christmas (Hjem til jul) - which have also been picked up for German distribution. Local distributor Neue Visionen is currently preparing a 110-120-print release for A Somewhat Gentle Man.

Icelandic director Dagur Kári’s The Good Heart took the LN Audience Prize, while Finnish directors Jooonas Beghäll and Mika Hotakainen’s Oscar submission, Steam of Life (Mieten vuoro), won for Best Documentary. The Children’s Jury gave its vote for Norwegian director Lars Berg’s East End Angels (Asfaltenglene).