August’s acclaimed directorial debut stars Millenium actress Noomi Rapace

Swedish actress Pernilla August’s feature directorial debut, Beyond (Svinalängorna), was today (Aug 7) named Sweden’s official candidate for the Foreign-Language Oscar – shortly after it was nominated for the Nordic Council Film Prize, Scandinavia’s largest film award.

The decision was announced by Sweden’s 12-member Oscar committee at a Swedish Film Institute press conference.

Starring Millennium actress Noomi Rapace, with Ola Rapace, Ville Virtanen and Outi Mäenpää, Beyond is based on Susanne Alakoski’s award-winning novel about a woman confronted with the memories of her childshood as a refugee girl in 1970s’ Sweden.

Domestically launched last December, it has reached 400,000 admissions as a Nordisk Film release, adding 250,000 from other Scandinavian countries.

Garnering August a Guldbagge – Sweden’s national film prize – for Best Director, her first feature has also collected top prizes at Venice, where it won the International Critics’ Week, at the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck, in Hamburg and Sao Paolo.

Beyond was produced by Helena Danielsson, for Heppfilm Cinema, and Ralf Karlsson, for Drakfilm. TrustNordisk handles international sales.

13 Swedish features have so far been nominated for the Foreign-Language Oscar, most recently Kay Pollak’s As It Is In Heaven (Så som i Himmelen) in 2004. Ingmar Bergman received the trophy three times, most recently in 1983 for Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander).

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce its five 2012 nominations on Jan 24; the awards ceremony takes place on Feb 26.