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The Program for the 35th Göteborg International Film Festival is here!


The program for Göteborg International Film Festival, the largest film festival in Scandinavia, has been released. British Michael Winterbottom is awarded this year's Honorary Dragon Award for his outstanding achievements as a director. The film festival will have a sneak start January 26 with the gala film The Descendants by Academy Award winning director Alexander Payne who will also be visiting the festival.

The intense eleven days, January 27-February 6, will see the screening of 429 films from 80 countries, more than 40 seminars as well as parties, clubs, music, food and exhibitions. Here's a quick review of the busy program. Here you can see the full festival program.




Opening and closing

Göteborg International Film Festival will be opening on January 27 with the award winning Swedish film Avalon, directed by Axel Petersén. Actor Johannes Brost makes a formidable comeback as the former party fixer Janne who is starting a new nightclub when something goes terribly wrong. The film is nominated for Dragon Award Best Nordic Film.

The festival's closing film is Swedish family adventure The Ice Dragon, a film based on Mikael Engström's novel with the same name.

17 awards will be handed out at the closing gala (February 4), the Dragon Award gala. The largest award is the Dragon Award Best Nordic Film, with a prize sum of one million SEK.




Winterbottom awarded this year's Honorary Dragon Award

In the 1990's Michael Winterbottom became famous as one of the great indie directors through films such as Jude (1996), Butterfly Kiss (1995) and Go Now (1995). With films like 24 Hour Party People (2002), Tristram Shandy (2005), The Road to Guantanamo (2006) and the TV series The Trip, he has proven his mastery in different genres over the last decade.

Winterbottom is a director whose career is in full bloom, which he proves not least in his latest film Trishna, which will be screened at this year's film festival. In Trishna he has taken Thomas Hardy's classic 17th century novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles and turned it into a colorful and sentimental melodrama with both a Bollywood feel and a discreet portrayal of class. The film is set in contemporary India and the country´s class system is shown through the eyes of a poor girl.




Sneak start January 26

Another one of our guests is Alexander Payne who won an Oscar for best screenplay with the smart comedy Sideways. With his new movie, The Descendants, he once again demonstrates his ability to mix humor and gravity. The Descendants is one of the movies most speculated to be nominated in the next Oscars. George Clooney plays a man whose world is turned upside down when his wife suffers a boating accident and he must try to reconnect with his two daughters. The film's sneak preview will open at Göteborg International Film Festival on January 26. Alexander Payne will be visiting Göteborg before the festival, 25/1-26/1.




Lanthimos, Hausner, Scherfig ...

Other festival guests include Cairo 678 director Mohamed Diab, British director Andrew Haigh, Austrian director Jessica Hausner, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, american Joshua Marston and dane Lone Scherfig.

Read more about these and other festival guests here.




One of the world's largest film awards

Göteborg International Film Festival's award for best Nordic film, Dragon Award Best Nordic Film, has a prize sum of one million SEK (app. 110 000 euros). The award is one of the biggest in the world and is distributed at the Dragon Awards Gala, on Saturday, 4 February.

The acclaimed director Jessica Hausner will be leading the jury. Last year's winner of the Dragon Award Best Nordic Film and hence one million SEK was She Monkeys by Lisa Aschan.

This year's nominated films are: Avalon by Axel Petersén (Sweden), Either Way by Hafstein Gunnar Sigurdsson (Iceland), The Orheim Company by Arild Andresen (Norway), Revolt by Jens Lien (Norway), Flicker by Patrik Eklund (Sweden), Teddy Bear by Mads Matthiesen (Denmark), Stars Above by Saara Cantell (Finland) and She Male Snails by Esther Martin Bergsmark (Sweden).

Read more about the nominated films here.




The Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award

The Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award is a film prize for new talents within international filmmaking. The prize will be awarded for the sixth time and will go to "a debutant who in their film treats an existential theme that has a dynamic or experimental approach to the cinematic means of expression."

The prize is a week's stay at the Bergman Week summer 2012, a DVD set with 23 Bergman films from the Ingmar Bergman Foundation and a beautiful stone from Bergman's Fårö beach, engraved with his name. The award will be presented at the Dragon Awards Gala on Saturday, February 4.

The nominees for 2012 are:
Liza Johnson for Return (USA), Gust Van Den Berghe for Blue Bird (Belgium), Yulene Olaizola for Artificial Paradise (Mexico/Netherlands/USA), Marjane Satrapi for Chicken with plums (France/Belgium/Germany), Alice Rohrwacher for Corpo Celeste (Italy/Switzerland France), Andrew Haigh for Weekend (UK), Slava Ross for Siberia. Monamour (Russia) Nicolas Provost for The Invader (Belgium/Sweden).

Read more about the nominated films here.




This year's focus: Arab and Danish film

For the Arabic focus we have collected some of the best films from the Arabic-speaking countries, thirteen new and nine older gems. Several of the films reflect people's everyday lives and provide a background to the current political situation. These are engaging and poignant stories, many of which highlight the situation of women. Read more about the Arabic focus here.

Göteborg International Film Festival always has a pronounced focus on Nordic film and this year Denmark is receiving extra attention. 15 new feature films, seven shorts and six retrospective films will be screened.




Swedish program

The Swedish section of the program will see the world premiere of four feature films, eight documentaries and a new TV series. The festival will also screen several shorts: 85 new Swedish short films will have their premiere, and the prestigious short film award Startsladden will be handed out (last year's winner was director Johannes Nyholm with Las Palmas).




Gala Films!

In the Gala section you will find many highly anticipated blockbusters. In Roman Polanski's entertaining, claustrophobic drama Carnage, we see a tremendous performance by Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster. We need to talk about Kevin is an evocative film about the taboo subject of deficient motherly love, directed by Lynne Ramsay. The Artist, an homage to the silent film era and a bidder for upcoming Academy Awards, is directed by frenchman Michel Hazanavicius. In her new film W.E. Madonna portrays Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee who made the British monarch Edward VIII give up his crown.




Hidden Histories

The Hidden Histories section presents a unique collaboration with the International Film Festival Rotterdam, containing many of the best new independent documentary films from China, accompanied by both old and new works by the world famous artist Ai Weiwei.




More Program sections ...

In the Masters section, we see new films by major directors such as Werner Herzog, Mohammad Rasoulof, Léa Pool, Alexandr Sokurov and Terence Davies.

In the Animation section we meet, among others, this year's animator in focus Chris Landreth, who will be visiting the festival, as well as Singapore's submission for the Academy Awards, Tatsumi.

An entire section is devoted to the economic crisis, featuring movies like The Big Fix and Margin Call.

The Substance, a documentary about LSD, and Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters, about the computer game Tetris are two of many documentaries that will be presented in the festival's documentary section.




A special festival for the young

The weekend before the festival sees the premiere of Göteborg Junior Film Festival, a festival for children and young people. For more information about Göteborg Little Film Festival, click here.



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