Films competing for $58,000.

The Nordic Council’s Film Prize – the largest in Scandinavia, which comes with a $58,000 cheque for the writer, director and producer — has announced its five contenders today.

They are Danish director Nikolaj Arcel’s A Royal Affair (Enkongelig affære), Finnish directors Jukka Kärkkäinen and J-P Passi’s The Punk Syndrome (Kovasikajuttu), Icelandic director Hafsteinn Sigurdsson’s Either Way (À annan veg), Norwegian director Arild Andresen’s The Orheim Company (Kompany Orheim) and Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s Play. The winner will receive the award on Oct 31 at the Nordic Council’s session in Helsinki.

A Royal Affair [pictured], launched in Berlin (where it won two Silver Bears) and now headed for Toronto, has sold 730,000 tickets domestically. Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander star in the story of the 18th century love affair at the Danish court between the king’s doctor and the Queen has also set box-office records for Danish fare in the UK and Australia. The film was produced by Louise Vesth, Meta Foldager and Sisse Graum Jørgensen for Zentropa Entertainments.

A portrait of Finnish punk rock band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät, The Punk Syndrome follows the four mentally-challenged musicians from obscurity to popularity. Produced by Sami Jahnukainen ao, the depiction of “the essence of punk, the story of different people rebelling against mainstream” won the Audience Award at Finland’s Tampere Film Festival as well as the top prize at Poland’s T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival.

The Icelandic nominee, Sigurdsson’s drama-comedy, Either Way, is the story of two road workers spending the whole summer on their own painting lines on Iceland’s winding roads in the 1980s. The festival hit stars Svein Ólafur Gunnarsson and Hilmar Gudjónsson. The Mystery Ísland and Flickbook production was awarded three Eddas, the country’s national film prize.

Norway is represented by The Orheim Company, the third adaption of Tore Renberg’s series of novels about Jarle Klepp – a coming-of-age drama from the mid-1980s, with Jarle escaping daily family struggle through music, political activism and chasing girls. Staged by Yngve Sæther and Sigve Endresen for Motlys, with Rolf Kristian Larsen, Vebjørn Enger, Kristoffer Joner and Cecilie Mosli in the leads, it received two Amandas, Norway’s film award.

The Swedish Play was launched in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight where it won the Coup de Coeur award, and later bestowed with two Guldbagge national film prizes. The study of human behaviour inspired by newspaper articles about 40 cases of 12-14-year-old boys robbing other children in Göteborg between 2006-2008, was produced by Östlund and Erik Hemmendorff for Plattform Produktion.