Derek Cianfrance wins Bergman International Debut Award.

It was a busy week for Swedish director Lisa Aschan. Last Friday (Jan 28) she finished her feature debut, She Monkeys (Apflickorna) [pictured]; three days later it screened in the Göteborg International Film Festival; Saturday, she received the $145,000 (SEK 1 million) Dragon Award for Best Nordic Feature, adding the international critics’ FIPRESCI prize.

“It was a total surprise,” said Josefine Adolfsson, who co-wrote the script with Aschan, about the dynamics of friendship between three young girls in the world of horse-riding. She Monkeys will next screen in the Generation 14plus programme at the Berlinale.

US director Derek Cianfrance can look forward to visit Ingmar Bergman’s Fårö island, and return with an engraved stone from his beach and a DVD box of all his films; his Blue Valentine earned him the Bergman International Debut Award at the Dragon gala, concluding the 34th Göteborg fest.

By a marginal 220 tickets and 435 festival passes, Scandinavia’s largest film exceeded last year’s record attendance - “still it feels great to beat another record,” explained festival ceo Åsa Bernlo, who is leaving after 17 years in the organisation, to organise Göteborg’s new Media Days.

In total the festival sold 130,600 tickets for 750 screenings of 443 films from 76 countries. The number of visitors was 32,620, up 1.4% on 2010 - including seminars and other events, admissions reached 163,000, including 1,800 professionals and press. Attendants for the Nordic Film Market has almost doubled since 2009.

Swedish veteran director Jan Troell used the occasion to stage a press conference introducing his new movie, Truth and Consequence (Dom över död man), about a Swedish publicist and newspaper editor-in-chief, Torgny Segerstedt, who opposed Hitler and Nazi-Germany with words as his only weapon.

Scripted with Danish author Klaus Rifbjerg - they also worked together on Troell’s Flight of the Eagle (Ingenjör Andrées luftfärd) - the film will be produced by Francy Suntinger, for Filmlance International, with Danish actor Jesper Christensen and Swedish actress Pernilla August in the leads.

Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film: She Monkeys (Apflickorna), dir: Lisa Aschan (Sweden)

The Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award: Blue Valentine, dir: Derek Cianfrance (US)

The Dragon Awards
Best Feature, Audience Choice: Tears of Gaza (Gazas tårer), dir: Vibeke Løkkeberg (Norway)
Best Nordic Feature, Audience Choice: I Miss You (Jag saknar dig), dir: Anders Grönros (Sweden)
Best Swedish Documentary: I Was Worth 50 Sheep (Jag var värd 50 lamm), dir: Nima Sarvestani
New Talent: The Screamers (Los gritones), dir: Roberto Pérez Toledo (Spain)

The Lorens Award
Swedish producers Mimmi Spång, Rebecka LaFrenz, for Babak Najafi’s Sebbe

Kodak Nordic Vision Award
King of Devil’s Island (Kongen av Bastøy), dir: Marius Holst (Norway)

Best Swedish Feature-The Church of Sweden Award
Mother’s Comeback (Mammas comeback), dir: Åsa Ekman

She Monkeys

Earlier during the festival, Swedish director Johannes Nyholm received the Synch Leader (Startsladdan) for his short film, Las Palmas. The prize of film technology and cash is worth $124,000 (SEK 0.8 million).