18th Stockholm Film Festival
Sweden, November 15 - November 25 2007
Now in its 18th year, the Stockholm International Film Festival presented some 170 films between 15 and 25 November 2007, with special emphasis on the works of young, up-and-coming filmmakers. The entire competition program of 20 films is devoted to directors showing their first, second or third feature film. Works by established directors or other films that do not fit into the competition program are grouped together in a section called “Open Zone”, with sidebars on American Independents and Asian Images as well as a number of seminars, presentations and works in progress. Stockholm takes the vast majority of films from major festivals around the world, with many prize-winning works by newcomers.
This year Paul Schrader was honored with the Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award and a retrospective, while Wes Anderson received the Stockholm Visionary Award and spoke about his latest work Darjeeling Limited. The festival was devoted to Ingmar Bergman, who died at age 89 on 30 July of this year, with a seminar led by English film historian Peter Cowie. Other events spotlighted new technology, the future of quality films, and alternative ways of making films, both on- and offline.
Highlights of the competition program included Cannes favorites 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days from Romania and Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which were awarded Best Film and Best Cinematography respectively by the International Jury, the delightful Juno with Ellen Page in the lead, Anton Corbijn’s portrait of the ill-fated singer Ian Curtis Control, and the minimalistic Irish film Garage by Lenny Abrahamson For many reasons, however, the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize went to the highly entertaining Lebanese film Caramel by Nadine Labaki, who was recently named Middle East Filmmaker of the Year by “Variety” magazine.
The Stockholm International Film Festival, still headed by its original director Git Scheynius, is primarily an audience festival for Sweden’s capital city and remains active all year round, with monthly showcases of international works and a festival for children aged 6 to 16 called Junior. (Stephen Locke)