37th Göteborg International Film Festival
Sweden, January 24 - February 3 2014
The 37th Göteborg International Film Festival came to a close on February 3 in the eponymous port town of western Sweden. Over eleven days, 475 films from 76 countries were shown at 25 venues, with a total of 950 screenings.
A total of over 135,000 tickets were sold, which would be a remarkable number for any festival but is especially impressive considering that only 500,000 people live in the city. Ticket sales were up 6% compared to 2013, which the festival says is mainly the result of a decrease in ticket prices for daytime screenings, which went down 20 SEK (€2.25) to 60 SEK (€6.75).
The festival programme, put together by artistic director Marit Kapla and her team, contained a very high percentage of films directed by women: a third of all films presented and half of the features in the Nordic Competition were directed by women.
The almost constant snowfall during this year’s edition felt particularly appropriate given the fact that the festival’s main competitive section, the Nordic Competition, focuses on the so-called Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland). The festival also had dedicated programmes for both Icelandic and Russian cinema (the latter was especially appreciated by audiences, and it was the subject of the festival’s black-and-white trailer).
The Nordic competition consisted of eight films that were judged by a Nordic jury, which handed out several awards including the top Dragon Award, as well as a FIPRESCI jury. The films in competition were: I Am Yours (Jeg er Din) and Letter to the King (Brev til Kongen) from Norway, Metalhead (Malmaus) and Of Horses and Men (Hross I Oss) from Iceland, Something Must Break (Nanting masta ga sonder) and The Quiet Roar from Sweden, Concrete Night (Betongnatt) from Finland, and The Sunfish (Klumpfisken) from Denmark.
The Nordic jury, headed by Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, awarded Letter to the King the Dragon Award, making it the second year in a row that Kurdish-Norwegian director Hisham Zaman was awarded the main prize, following last year’s Before Snowfall. The jury also singled out the cinematography of The Quiet Roar for the festival’s inaugural Sven Nykvist Cinematography Award.
The festival awarded Icelandic actor and director Baltasar Kormakur with a Nordic Honorary Dragon, another award given for the first time. The FIPRESCI jury gave its award to the Icelandic first feature Of Horses and Men. (Boyd van Hoeij)
Göteborg International Film Festival: www.giff.se/en