Driving Mum Nominated for Nordic Council Film Prize

Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson

The film Driving Mum has been nominated for this year’s Nordic Council Film Prize. The winner of the prize will be announced on Tuesday, October 31, at the Nordic Council meeting in Oslo.

Winner unveiled on October 31

The Nordic Council Film Prize, established in 2002 and administered by the Nordic Council, honours outstanding full-length feature films rooted in Nordic culture. Films released between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, are eligible, with each of the five Nordic countries nominating one cinema-released, artistically significant film.

The prize, which totals 300,000 Danish kroner ($44,000 / €40,000), is divided equally among the winning film’s screenwriter, director, and producer. The winner will be unveiled on October 31 at the Nordic Council meeting in Oslo.

In a first, a Greenlandic film, Alanngutt Killinganni, directed by Malik Kleist, has been nominated, marking a historic moment for the awards.

A dark, surreal comedy set in the ‘80s

This year’s Icelandic nomination is Hilmar Oddsson’s Driving Mum, a dark, surreal comedy set in 1980. The plot follows Jón, who, after his mother’s death, embarks on a final journey to Eyrarbakki with her remains and the family dog, Bresnef, to fulfil her burial wishes.

The film boasts performances from Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson, Kristbjörg Kjeld, Hera Hilmarsdóttir, and Tómas Lemarquis, and is produced by Hlín Jóhannesdóttir and co-produced by Marianne Ostra.

Past Icelandic winners include Lamb by Valdimar Jóhannsson; Of Horses and Men and Woman at War by Benedikt Erlingsson, and Virgin Mountain by Dagur Kári.

For a list of all the nominees, click here.

Alma Nominated for Nordic Council Film Prize

Icelandic film Alma, written and directed by Kristín Jóhannesdóttir, is Iceland’s nominee for the 2021 Nordic Council Film Prize. The award is accompanied by a prize of DKK 300,000 [ISK 5.9 million; $47,471] to be split equally among the screenwriter, director, and producer, and is given annually to a film from one of the five Nordic nations. The winner will be announced in an awards ceremony in Copenhagen on November 2.

Per the Icelandic Film Centre, Alma is “the story of a young woman who is serving time in a psych ward for murdering her boyfriend, a crime she can’t remember. But when she discovers [he] is still alive, she decides to escape and kill him after all.”

Rather than repeating typical tropes, however, the Icelandic selection committee noted that Alma allows its protagonist space for growth and healing. As they wrote in their nomination, “What starts out as a noirish revenge fable becomes a beautiful love story that centers around the process through which a victim of abuse finds her way through trauma and grief to finally rediscover her roots and her distinctive voice.”

“Employing biting humor as well as striking visual imagery, Alma deftly combines an intense poetic vision and a socially critical feminist angle.”

Alma is Kristín Jóhannesdóttir’s third feature (Rainbow’s End and As in Heaven) and was produced by Gudrún Edda Thórhannesdóttir, Fridrik Thór Fridriksson, and Egil Ødegård. It stars Snæfrídur Ingvarsdóttir, Kristbjörg Kjeld, Emmanuelle Riva, and Hilmir Snær Gudnason.

Iceland has won the Nordic Council Film Prize three times since it started being awarded in 2002. Director Benedikt Erlingsson has won twice, for Of Horses and Men in 2014 and Woman at War in 2018, and Dagur Kári won for Virgin Mountain in 2015.

Bíó Paradís will be showing all of this year’s nominated films during its Nordic Film Festival, which will run from September 23 – 26. All of the films will be shown with English subtitles.