43:e festivalen 24 jan - 3 feb, 2020

They Compete in Nordic Documentary Competition

43:e festivalen
24 Jan -
3 Feb, 2020

Danish nobility, Icelandic communists and young love are some of the topics in the eight films nominated for the Dragon Award Best Nordic Documentary in 2019. The winner receives services from the post production company Chimney for a value of SEK 250,000, which makes the prize one of the largest in the Nordic countries for documentary film.

“This year’s selection will show the great diversity and high quality of the Nordic documentary film. We are very proud to present such an exciting combination of personal voices, poetic images and political explosives”, says Jonas Holmberg, Artistic Director, Göteborg Film Festival.

The Dragon Award Best Nordic Documentary is presented by Chimney and is handed out during the Dragon Awards Gala on February 2.

This year’s nominated films are:

Director: Lina Maria Mannheimer



World premiere

Lina Maria Mannheimer’s net-based relationship drama gives us a cross section from the sex and love lives of two children of the nineties.

Director Lina Maria Mannheimer (The Ceremony, GFF 2015) places a personal ad in a dating app. The premise is clear: She intends to follow two children of the nineties and their dating habits for one year. After having cast her two main characters, who are to separately provide insight into their lives as young people on the mating market, something happens that takes the film down an unforeseen path – they start dating each other! The result is an intimate portrait of youthful effervescence, startling infatuation, and bitter-sweet heartbreak. Since Mannheimer never meets the main characters, they are allowed to create themselves and their relationship through the screen. It is as brutally honest as genuinely heart-warming.

Director: Mads Brügger

Cold Case Hammarskjöld


European premiere

Dressed in white clothes, tropical helmet and a Phantom-ring, the filmmaker Mads Brügger looks for the truth about Dag Hammarskjöld’s death.

In 1961, Secretary General of the UN, Dag Hammarskjöld, died in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia. He was en route to ceasefire negotiations between non-combatant UN forces and troops from the breakaway state of Katanga. Hammarskjöld was both popular and controversial, believing he could make peace in Africa by giving the continent back to the Africans. The circumstances of the plane crash were always unclear but now the UN are reopening the case on the suspicion of assassination. The question is, who wanted Hammarskjöld dead and can the truth be revealed today?

Director: Carl Olsson



World premiere

In preposterously beautiful scenery, the Danish nobility must acclimate to modern times simultaneously as they engage in fox hunting, pheasant shooting and real estates. 

The Danish society once relied on the nobels. They tilled the soil, managed the economy and defended the kingdom when the king called. But the glory days ended centuries ago. What does the nobility do nowadays? In the hyper-realistic film Patrimonium, they do their best to keep up with a progressing world without losing their proud traditions. They talk about caring for nature and goes fox hunting by horse in red blazers. At the same time, modern capitalism makes itself known by power plant constructions and drenching pop music. In perfectionist outlined scenes, the Swedish director Carl Olsson depicts a social class in crisis and a fascinating cultural heritage.

Director: Eloy Domínguez Serén



Nordic premiere

Can you invent or reinvent yourself in a place where nothing happens? With humor and patience as weapons, the young people in Hamada manage to do so.

The Arabic word Ṣaḥrāwī means “inhabitant of the desert.” Pent up in a refugee camp in the middle of the Sahara live the Sahrawi, a fishing people who were displaced by force from the sea. Eloy Domínguez Serén follows three young adults who refuse to let themselves be limited by this confinement. Like young people throughout the world, they are driven by their dreams, hopes and desperation. Zahra wants to learn how to drive, Taher is a slacker, and the ambitious Sidahmed tries to resist the pressure of going to Spain to find a better life. With a poetic and warm narration, Dominguez Serén portrays their youth and gentle rebellion.

Director: Dalia Kury

Privacy of Wounds


Swedish premiere

Filmmaker Dalia Kury conducts an experiment where she invites three former prisoners from Syria, to share their memories in an honest conversation taking place in a simulated prison in Oslo.

Hasan, Mazen and Khaldoon have all been political prisoners in Syria. They meet for the first time in the cell and begin to cautiously approach their memories. They are all intruiged to meet with other political prisoners as well as humble about the terrible things they’ve experienced. Their stories are full of both pain and hope. How do you greet a mother you haven’t seen in 13 years? How do you hug your child after a year of torture? How do you help your fellow prisoners mend their wounds? From these shared experiences arise an honest and intimate conversation that remind us what is important in life.

Director: Anna Eborn



Nordic premiere

Film poet Anna Eborn fascinates in a touching and beautiful film about youth, love and friendship in the remarkable breakaway republic Transnistria.

With headstrong films such as Pine Ridge (GFF 2014), Epifanía (GFF 2017) and Lida (GFF 2018), Anna Eborn has stepped forth as one of our time’s most interesting Swedish documentary filmmakers. Now she’s traveled to Transnistria – an unrecognized breakaway republic that has its own currency, army, and a flag donned with a hammer and sickle. In this country undergoing an identity crisis, 16-year-old Tanya hangs out with her friends. In intimate and poetic images, Eborn portrays how the Transnistrian youths socialize, make out, and fall hopelessly in love.

Director: Reetta Huhtanen

Gods of Molenbeek


International premiere

Debut with a secure sense of style about six-year-old Aatos who is looking for their own gods in a world shaken by suicide bombers.

The district of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean in Brussels has become world-famous as a center of jihadism, but for six-year-old Aatos and his friend Amine, it is a familiar home. Here, they listen to spiders, discover black holes, and fight about what is going to steer a flying carpet. Together they search for the answers to life’s big questions. But the brutality of the adult world makes itself known when terrorists detonate a bomb in the neighborhood. Aaatos envies Amine’s Muslim faith and looks for his own gods, although his classmate Flo questions him; she is strongly convinced that anyone who believes in God is completely nuts. Gods of Molenbeek is a wonderful portrayal of childhood friendship, inquiry and the creation of meaning in a chaotic time.

Director: Grímur Hákonarson

Little Moscow


International premiere

Director of Rams, Grímur Hákonarson, explores why an isolated fishing village was run by communists for half a century.

During the cold war, the rest of Iceland was run by rightwing and centrist politicians and was loyal to the USA. But in the small town of Neskaupstaður, located in one of Iceland’s most remote places, the communists were so strong that the fishing village was given the nickname “Little Moscow.” Now, a tunnel project and a municipal merger have changed everything. The isolation has been punctured and the fishing industry privatized. The Cannes-winner Grímur Hákonarson takes us to an odd place and meets with the communist leadership, the oppositional minority, and the entrepreneurs of the new era.

The program is released on January 8. The tickets will be released on January 10 to members and January 12 to the public.

Get our newsletter

We will never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise

Thank you!
Something went wrong, please check that you provided a working e-mail address.