Swedish director Roy Andersson's was today (October 15) awarded the $70,000 Nordic Council Film Prize 2008 - - for You, The Living (Du Levande).

The prize is Scandinavia's largest award and is given to an artistically original film distinguished by national characteristics.

As director and writer of the film, Andersson receives two thirds of the prize, leaving a third for his producer at Studio 24, Pernilla Sandström.

Launched last year in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, and marketed by Paris-based The Coproduction Office, You, The Living has screened at more than 60 international film festivals and scored a dozen awards These include the Silver Hugo for Best Director in Chicago, and three Guldbagga statuettes, Sweden's national film prize, for Best Film, Best Director and Best Script. It has also been chosen as Sweden's candidate for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination.

'Andersson's humorous and tragic tableaux show our best and worst sides, make us laugh and force us to think. In brief, You, The Living reminds us of the opportunities that the film media holds for powerful personal experiences,' said the jury.

You, The Living continues Andersson's return to feature films. His feature debut, A Swedish Love Story, won four awards at the Berlin International Film Festival 1970 and became a critical and box office success; his second feature, Giliap in 1975, was however largely ignored. As a result he concentrated on commercials and shorts for the next 25 years until his comeback, Songs From The Second Floor, received the Jury Prize at Cannes 2000.

'Apart from the honour, the prize is very important to me, because the money gives me excellent opportunities to prompt research and writing on my new film,' said Andersson, who is developing No Title (Utan Title), 'a powerful, solid, dynamic, revolutionary, drastic, surprising, funny, awful and beautiful film in a trilogy about the human existence'.

The Nordic Council Film Prize 2008 will be presented on October 28 at the council's session in Helsinki. Previous winners include Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki's The Man Without A Past (2002); Danish director Per Fly's Manslaughter (2005); Swedish director Josef Fares' Zozo (2006); and Danish director Peter Schønau Fog's The Art Of Crying (2007).