Eight new Nordic features will compete for the $150,000 (SEK 1m) Dragon Award – one of the film world’s largest prizes – at Sweden’s 36th Göteborg International Film Festival.

Denmark has submitted two features and Iceland, Finland and Sweden have each put forward one. But with three entries, Norway stands a good chance of repeating last year’s win by Arild Andresen’s Company Orheim/Kompani Orheim.

Contenders are:

  • I Belong (Som du ser mig)
    Dag Johan Haugerud (Norway)
  • All That Matters Is Past (Uskyld)
    Sara Johnsen (Norway)
  • Before Snowfall (Før snøen faller)
    Hisham Zaman (Norway)
  • Nordvest
    Michael Noer (Denmark)
  • A Hijacking (Kapringen)
    Tobias Lindholm (Denmark)
  • The Deep (Djúpid)
    Baltasar Kormakur (Iceland)
  • 8-Ball (8-Pallo)
    Aku Louhimies (Finland)
  • Faro
    Fredrik Edfeldt (Sweden)

Scandinavia’s largest showcase, taking an annual 130,000 admissions, has almost 450 other films from 84 countries on the Jan 25-Feb 4 schedule, according to the programme announced at a press conference today (Jan 8) in Stockholm by artistic director Marit Kapla and festival chief Mikael Fellenius.

It includes around 1,000 screenings at 23 venues, adding a market, seminars, talk shows, master classes, concerts and exhibitions.

Opening film

The festival will be launched on Jan 25 by Norwegian directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning’s action-adventure Kon-Tiki [pictured], which is nominated for a Golden Globe and shortlisted for an Academy Award.

Swedish director – and honorary festival chairman – Roy Andersson will screen excerpts from his upcoming A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existance (En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron).

Festival guests

Two German directors and prominent members of 1970s’ New German Cinema, Volker Schlöndorff and Margaretha von Trotta, are among this year’s festival guests – Schlöndorff with his new film, Calm at Sea (La mer à l’aube), von Trotta to receive the festival’s Honorary Dragon Award and with two films on show, her latest Hanna Arendt and The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum/1975).

French director Olivier Assayas, last in Göteborg with Carlos, will return with Something in the Air (Après mai), and Saudia Arabia’s first woman director Haifa Al Mansour will unspool Wadjda in competition for the Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award (which comes with an invite for the Ingmar Bergman Week, a DVD-box with 23 Bergman films and an engraved stone from his beach on Fårö.

International titles

Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, Sascha Gervasi’s Hitchcock, Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet, Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt (Jagten) and UK director Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina are among the selection for gala screenings in the international programme, which otherwise focuses on Chile, Iran, Austria, with sidebars on, among others, animation, comedy, newcomers and festival favourites.

Northern Lights zooms in on recent films from the Nordic countries, and three features, including Johan Lind’s festival closure, Den som söker, are among the nine Swedish premieres in the showcase which also shows the full 2012 production of full-length films, adding 99 shorts.

The extensive documentary section will this year introduce a competition for Best Nordic Documentary, with eight entries.