The nominees for Nordic:Dox Award 2018 are..

The nominated films for Nordic:Dox Award 2018 is a careful selection of the best films from the Nordic countries. The selection reflects the diversity and level of artistic ambition in the North in films with a clear vision and a personal touch. The competition ranges from the poetic to the political, putting the viewer in an active and critical position. Many of the films are made by young directors with a fresh vision and the courage to experiment.

The winner of Nordic:Dox will be found by a jury and announced at CPH:DOX’s Award Ceremony on March 23 at Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Today we announce the line-up!

Tickets, screenings and more information can be found here. 

Lykkelænder

Lasse Lau, World Premiere (Denmark, Greenland)

Impressions from Greenland in a beautiful and sensitive film about myths and reality – and about the historical relationship with Denmark.

The relationship between Greenland and Denmark is full of fantasy and myths. And these are what the Danish artist Lasse Lau reflects upon – and documents – in his first feature-length film ‘The Happy Native’. But how do you give a form to the Greenlandic experience when you are a Dane yourself? Lau has created a sensitive film about authenticity and recreation by letting both elements become a part of the work, together with his performers. But also by watching and listening intently. The colonial history is entrenched in both Greenland’s infinitely beautiful landscapes and in the collective consciousness. But so is the willingness to break with it and look ahead with a new political self-awareness. ‘Lykkelænder’ is the result of a long-term research project, but talks about its extremely complex topics in a way that grounds the postcolonial perspective in a recognisable life experience. And which does so with both a sense of humour and with emphasis.

The Punk Voyage

Jukka Kärkkäinen, J-P Passi, International Premiere (Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden)

From the rehearsal space to Eurovision with Finland’s developmentally impaired punk band number yksi. A docu-comedy – with its heart in the right place.

Love triangles, friendship and rock n’ roll are mixed together into one big cocktail in the atypical Finnish punk band Petti Kurikan Nimipäivat’s last year before they call it a day. The four band members and best friends Pertti, Sami, Toni and Kari all have autism or Down’s syndrome, and with their songs about farting animals and life as an outsider, they have become a part of the Finnish collective consciousness. Just as a crisis in the band is threatening the idyll, they are selected for the Eurovision Song Contest. With the motto ‘We are the wankers’ they embark on an entertaining journey, where laughter and tears often come in rapid succession. Tempers are running especially high when the band’s roadie can’t keep his fingers from the drummer Toni’s lady, or when Kari and Pertti’s conflict escalates during an interview. Follow the four friends on their turbulent journey from the rehearsal room to the red carpet in Vienna, and to their last ever concert with a bare ass and mosh pit.

Bad Circumstances

Max Kestner, World Premiere (Denmark)

Max Kestner’s film about a group of polar scientists’ legendary expedition in 1907 revises the historical sources.

Tragic events, above all the mysterious ones, create a particular desire among curious souls to clarify the true course of history. With Max Kestner’s quirky film language, and based on a mysterious map drawing, we follow the amateur historian Steffen and his theories, which could turn the story about a group of polar explorers’ legendary expedition in 1907 on its head. ‘Each time you move closer, new enormous worlds will emerge,’ Kestner says about his method. This movement, the zooming in on what has been mapped out and taking a closer look at the source materials, is both poetically and wittily portrayed in ‘Bad Circumstances’.

The Night We Fell

Cille Hannibal, World Premiere (Denmark)

A sensuous, poetic and above all photographic film about loss – and about moving on in life. One of this year’s most promising Danish debuts.

The director Cille Hannibal picks up her camera and starts filming her mother short after she lost her husband and companion in a tragic accident. This is a way for Cille to be there for her mother. A way they can be together in shared mourning. ‘The Night We Fell Down’ gives us a close and rare look at grief, and just like the mother and the daughter, the film moves into and out of grief and pain. The two women process their grief at the same time as they clear out his things. When the boxes are opened and a life is reviewed, the story of their love grows forth, and mother and daughter also form renewed and closer bonds. Together they explore the new possibilities that can give them hope and the desire for life to continue. Everyone who has lost a close person will be able to recognise something of themselves in Hannibal’s poetic an sensuous films, where death is omnipresent, but is not allowed to overshadow the moments when the light starts to shimmer through. One of the most promising Danish debuts this year, borne by a photographic eye.

One Table Two Elephants

Henrik Ernstson, Jacob von Heland, Henrik Ernstson, World Premiere (Sweden, South Africa)

Alive and wild, an ethnographic film from Cape Town and its surroundings, where B-boys, biologists, bushmen and ghosts share the world of life.

A cine-ethnographic film about B-boys in the bush, a kingdom of flowers and the ghost of a young princess – and about how the inhabitants of Cape Town, from biologists to hip-hop crews, (un)consciously work to create a symbolic connection and a sense of meaning. Film as research, research as film. The two ethnographers behind this wild, vibrant and original work let textures and materials speak for themselves by taking off the glasses that from the outset divide the world into differences between us and them, nature and city, plants and other life. The film is not challenging to watch, yet rewards our intellectual adventurer several times over. ‘One Table Two Elephants’ is made by the two Swedish researchers Jacob von Heland and Henrik Ernstson, and invites us to experience a world which is several times bigger than the place we call Cape Town. In an eminent ploy, it integrates various forms of knowledge on an equal footing, and creates a new model for how we can talk about and understand ourselves and our surroundings.

The Night

Steffan Strandberg, International Premiere (Norway)

A beautifully animated and bittersweet Norwegian film about two brothers and their upbringing with an alcoholic mother and musician father.

Two young boys grow up with an alcoholic mother. The sad story, however, is presented in beautiful, bittersweet animations and with plenty of nuances in a film where the now adult filmmaker Steffan Strandberg looks back at his childhood. He and his brother are marked by their common upbringing, where the mother would rather drink beers with her long-haired friends than take care of them. The close ties, the difficult past and the will to let the wounds heal make up the core of ‘The Night’, where the boys wait for their travelling musician father to – maybe – come back and fetch them in the middle of the night. Nothing shall be revealed here, but there is a very special will to learn from the past, to look ahead and to take care of one’s life in the Strandberg brothers’ shared story, which will no doubt reverberate in anyone who has come close to suffering neglect – and everyone who likes a good story told from the heart.

A Good week for Democracy

Cecilia Björk, International Premiere (Sweden)

A sharp, funny and insightful film about a Swedish political meeting for the people.

The idyllic Almedalen on the Swedish island of Gotland has been the location of a week-long political meeting for the people since 1968. Here, thousands of politicians, press people and not least PR executives meet every summer to discuss what preoccupies us. And to be seen. For politics is (also) about self-presentation, and we are there both in front of the stage and behind the scenes in a sharp, funny and informative film about the dubious state of modern democracy in the age of Facebook and fake news. The camera keeps rolling when everyone else turns their gaze away, and captures both the absurdity of the perfect surface and the true commitment of the elected politicians. Cecilia Björk’s clear-sighted film is an intelligent visual analysis of the political establishment and its interplay with the media. An echo chamber of overlapping interests and a market place of opinions, where one has to make an effort to be heard. A good week for democracy? See for yourself.

Waiting for Barcelona

Juho-Pekka Tanskanen, World Premiere (Finland)

Love affairs, friendships and the police on his heels. One of Europe’s young homeless men lets us into his life on Barcelona’s streets.

Barcelona’s labyrinthine streets are the epitome of romantic city life – as long as you don’t live on them. But 27-year-old Mou does – he left his homeland as a 12-year-old and has since lived a homeless life around Las Ramblas. But Mou is not just streetwise, he is also a popular man and his friends’ friend. A love affair with a Spanish girl gives him hope of a new life – and a happy ending? – but the past and the mental pressures of an impossible situation catch up with his otherwise so positive spirit. An upbeat film about one of Europe’s invisible lives, filmed at street-level in graphic black and white, reminiscent of the social-realist and political tradition of street photography. The Finnish filmmaker Juho-Pekka Tanskanen adroitly avoids ‘giving Mou a voice’ – for Mou already has one. ‘Waiting for Barcelona’ is a portrait at eye-level with Mou himself, where politics is rooted in the tough personal experiences from the tourist-filled streets.

Eastern Memories

Niklas Kullström, Martti Kaartinen, International Premiere (Finland)

Past and present meet in an epic road movie through Central Asia to Japan. Adventure and intrigues, life and death, the downfall of nations – told by a dead Finn.

At the beginning of the 20th century, when there were still empty spots on the world map, the Finnish philologist G.J. Ramstedt travelled through Central Asia to Japan. Like a true adventurer, he wrote a diary in the pompous style that we hear on the soundtrack, while the contrast to today’s landscapes and, especially, cities is highlighted in the film’s imagery shot during the two Finnish filmmakers’ journey in his footsteps. ‘Eastern Memories’ is both an essay film and a magnificent travel film, which spans over ten thousand kilometres and has a hundred years of historical experiences in its luggage. The duo Niklas Kullström and Martti Kaartinen have created a breathtaking film with an edge of bone-dry Finnish humour – told, as it is, by a dead Finn from the cold North on the fringes of the Mongolian steppes. The landscapes become the canvas on which fantasy and expectation can paint their dreams of greatness and adventure.

Maj Doris

Jon Blåhed, International Premiere (Sweden)

Nights with northern lights and clear frosty mornings in beautiful scenes from the life of a completely amazing 74-year-old woman.

Some people have a special ability to live their life to the fullest and to be present in everything they do. One of them is the 74-year-old artist Maj Doris, who has travelled around the world and today lives on her own in a small house in the beautiful northern Swedish wilderness, where the northern lights undulate across the mountains. Alone, and yet. As a sought-after artist with exhibitions and a genuine interest in young people, it is natural for her to be surrounded by people. A young, Afghan man helps her out on the farm. To show her gratitude, she entertains him and his friends at the local burger bar about the time when she discovered rock n’ roll! The passing of time and of life in general in the frosty expanses follows its own rhythm in Jon Blåheld’s sensual and beautiful film. One almost feels a form of gratitude for being able to join her in her living room, when she with deep concentration lies in her bed and smokes a cigarette, while listening to a young woman singing on a record. A fantastic person in a gorgeous, close-up portrait.