Six Icelandic films have been nominated in three categories at this years Nordisk Panorama short and doc film festival, which takes place in Malmö, Sweden, between September 18th to Septermber 23rd this year. Five of which are directed by women. Including the documentary “I want to be Weird” by newcomer Brynja Dögg Friðriksdóttir, who says she’s exhilarated that her first feature film got selected.
“It feels great! Just such a great honour,” says Brynja Dögg about the nomination and she has every reason to feel proud, as the annual Nordic festival is considered to be one of the most respected short and documentary film festivals in Europe. Getting a film in to one of the competition’s three categories, Nordic Documentary Award, Nordic Short Film Award or New Nordic Voices Award, is difficult and Brynja admits she’s surprised to have made it.
“As much as I hoped that the film would be selected, when we submitted it, I was also aware that the Nordisk Panorama gets very many films submissions. So at first I didn’t know if it would make it into the competition at all. When we were told that we got into the category Best Nordic Documentary I felt even more honored. I mean it’s not every day you’re competing against Joshua Oppenheimer, Oscar nominated director of The Act of Killing.”
Brynja goes on to say that she’s very happy that the film will be travelling outside of Iceland, because its topic has such a universal appeal. “By that I mean that the film has a strong ‘women can do it’ message. Not only does it follow British artist and local resident Kitty Von-Sometime, who is known for her ongoing art film series “The Weird Girls Project”, which are created to empower women, but most of the documentary’s crew were also women.“
So all these women are behind the film, and all these Icelandic female directors are getting nominated at the same time as the Icelandic film industry has been heavily criticised for overlooking female filmmakers when it comes to funding. Wouldn’t you say that it is a bit, well cynical?
“There are fewer women than men in the Icelandic film industry as elsewhere in the world. Still I think it’s safe
to say that Icelandic Women Filmmakers are a hardworking lot. Many of us are parents, have a regular day job or work on various films and projects within the film industry AND then we do our own films alongside that. I think that there is a strong undercurrent happening because of Icelandic female filmmakers and we are slowly but surely strengthening our position within the industry. Icelandic female filmmakers are more visible than before.“
“…I felt even more honored. I mean it’s not every day you’re competing against Joshua Oppenheimer, Oscar nominated director of The Act of Killing.”
On that note she points out that out of the six Icelandic films nominated in three categories at this years Nordisk Panorama there are five films directed by women, but never before has the percentage of nominated Icelandic female directors been so high as now. “So I guess we are doing something right,” she says with a grin.
Brynja adds that being a documentary filmmaker in Iceland is generally a struggle, regardless of whether you’re a woman or not. “But there has been a drastic change in the quality of documentaries in say the last 10 years or so and I would say Icelandic documentary filmmaking is on the rise. More films are produced every year and they’re traveling to many film festivals outside of Iceland. So generally things are moving forward and one day documentary filmmaking in Iceland might become more than a hobby for most of us.“
But now that you’ve been nominated, it’s probably going to affect your film and your career as a director?
“Seeing that the Nordisk Panorama is both an audience and industry film festival I hope that it will get the documentary noticed not only by film goers but also by broadcasters and other film festival programmers. At the end of the day you want as many people to see you film as possible, you want your story to inspire or move people or even inspire someone to go out there and make a documentary. That’s the mission.“
The full list of the nominees
14 documentaries compete for the Nordic Documentary Award:
Denmark Democrats by Camilla Nielsson
The Look of Silence by Joshua Oppenheimer
The Man Who Saved the World by Peter Anthony
Finland In Dependence (Yläkerran Tuula) by Henriikka Hemmi
Leaving Africa (Hyvästi Afrikka) by Iiris Härmä
Pixadores by Amir Escandari
I Want to be Weird by Brynja Dögg Friðriksdóttir Kitchen Sink Revolution (Hvað er svona merkilegt við það) by Halla Kristín Einarsdóttir
Drone by Tonje Hessen Schei
Inside Fur (Pels) by Ola Waagen
Maiko – Dancing Child (Maikos dans) by Åse Svenheim Drivenes
Sweden Blood Sisters (Blodssystrar) by Malin Andersson
Martha & Niki by Tora Mårtens
Pervert Park by Lasse Barkfors & Frida Matilda Barkfors
14 short films compete for the Nordic Short Film Award:
Denmark Heaven by Josefine Kirkeskov Nielsen Teenland by Marie Grahtø Sørensen Tsunami by Sofie Nørgaard Kampmark
Finland Clumsy Little Acts of Tenderness (Pieniä kömpelöitä hellyydenosoituksia) by Miia Tervo Listen by Hamy Ramezan & Rungano Nyoni Mercy All the Way (Säälistäjät) by Hannaleena Hauru
Iceland The Pride of Strathmoor by Einar Baldvin You and Me (Þú og ég) by Ása Hjörleifsdóttir
Norway Grandmother’s House (Bestemors hus) by Silje Evensmo Jacobsen High Point by Emil Trier UpSide Down (OppNed) by Pål Øie
Sweden 09:55-11:05 Ingrid Ekman, Bergsgatan 4B by Cristine Berglund & Sophie Vukovic Kung Fury by David Sandberg Northern Great Mountain (Stoerre Vaerie) by Amanda Kernell
14 films compete for the New Nordic Voices Award:
Denmark By Any Means A-Veilable (Slør – Niquab ni soumise) by Charlotte Schiøler Goodnight Birdy (Enkebal) by Zara Zerny Machine by Sunit Parekh-Gaihede
Finland Just a Name (Naisen nimi) by Tiina Lymi Sons (Pojat) by Isabella Karhu The Guardian (Valvoja) by Pietari Bagge, Christer Hongisto, Elisa Ikonen & Inka Matilainen
Iceland Playing with Balls (Tvíliðaleikur) by Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir Zelos by Thoranna Sigurdardottir
Norway Belles-Lettres (Mannen er en morder) by Liv Joelle Barbosa Blad Bird Hearts (Fuglehjerter) by Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel This Place is Every Place (Dette er alle steder) by Ane Hjort Guttu
Sweden Mazda by Alexis Almström The Birthday Present (Födelsedagspresenten) by Tobias Rydén Sjöstrand Transphobia by Nur Tutal & Iván Blanco