Unspooling between Jan 28-Feb 7, Scandinavia’s largest  festival introduces a $145,000 (SEK 1m) Dragon prize for Best Nordic Film

Eight features will compete for Dragon Award-Best Nordic Film at the Göteborg International Film Festival – Scandinavia’s largest showcase – which has increased the winner’s prize to about $145,000 (SEK 1m).

The festival has announced the eight competition entries as well as the nominées for the Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award – two of the ten prizes awarded at the closing Dragon gala.

More than 100 Nordic and international filmmakers are already on the guest list, including Oscar-winning scriptwriter and director Charlie Kaufman, who – on his first visit to Sweden – will be bestowed by Göteborg’s new Honorary Dragon Award.

The festival will open on Jan 28 with one of the Nordic Dragon entries, Norwegian director Marius Holst’s King of Devil’s Island (Kongen af Bastøy), starring Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård, and spearheading a Norwegian presence of nine films and 14 shorts.

Before the wrap 11 days later, on Feb 7, managing director Åsa Bernlo and her artistic chief, Marit Kapla, will have shown 442 films from 76 countries, with a special focus on Romania, including six recent features and a selection of older classics, with directors Cristi Puiu, Marian Crisan and Alexandru Solomon attending.

”The overall theme of this year’s festival is presence, which is open to different interpretations. In the film programme it is – among others - reflected by films about modern man’s double presence, in physical and virtual realities,” explained Kapla.

”However, what has been most inspiring for me personally is the presence of two 80-year-olds among the guests, Gunvor Nelson and Jan Troell, both filmmakers of worldwide acclaim.”

Nelson will be celebrated by a retrospective of her experimental – or ”personal” – films, while Troell will screen his catalogue of shorts, in addition to hosting a press conference about his new feature, Truth and Consequences (Domen över en död man).

Swedish cinema is represented by the premieres of 14 new full-length and 93 new short films, adding all 32 local releases of the film year 2010, retrospective and special sections. 57% of the Swedish entries were made by male directors, 43% by female.

The Raiding Africa section presents the outcome of African filmmakers visit to China, while Red Westerns is a collection of westerns produced in Eastern Europe between the 1920s-1980s, organised in collaboration with the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

The annual Animator in Focus is Norway’s Pjotr Sapegin; Visionaries limelights exciting, barrier-breaking, difficult-to-bracket filmmakers; Festival Favourites picks award-winners from the last year’s international festivals, Five Continents plucks from the whole world.

Four Swedish and three foreign FIPRESCI reviewers are responsible for the Critics’ Week, and Pictures about Pictures portrays artists and directors. The festival’s international market place, New Nordic Films, will operate between Feb 3-6.

Dragon Award-Best Nordic Film competitors
King of Devil’s Island (Kongen av Bastøy), dir Marius Holst (Norway)
Truth About Men (Sandheden om mænd), dir Nikolaj Arcel (Denmark)
Brim, dir Árni Ólafur Asgeirsson (Iceland)
She Monkeys (Apflickorna), dir Lisa Aschaen (Sweden)
Princess (Prinsessa), dir Arto Halonen (Finland)
Happy Happy (Sykt Lykkelig), dir Anne Sewitsky (Norway)
Savage (Odjuret), dirs Martin Jern, Emil Larsson (Sweden) [pictured]
I Miss You (Jag Saknar Dig), dir Anders Grönros (Sweden)

Nominées for the Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award
Oliver Sherman, dir Ryan Redford (Canada)
Illegal (Illégal), dir Olivier Masset-Depasse (Belgium)
Angèle and Tony (Angèle et Tony), dir Alix Delaporte (France)
Attenberg, dir Athina Rachel Tsangari (Greece)
The Arbor, dir Clio Barnard (UK)
Limbo, dir Maria Sødahl (Norway)
A Useful Life (La vida útil), dir Federico Veiroj (Spain)
Blue Valentine, dir Derek Cianfrance (US)