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A WHITE, WHITE DAY is Iceland‘s contribution for the Nordic Council Film Prize 2019

Iceland has submitted A White, White Day , writer/director Hlynur Pálmason‘s new feature, for this year‘s Nordic Council Film Prize. It will compete against four films from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The Nordic Council Film Prize award ceremony will take place on October 29, during the Session of the Nordic Council in Stockholm, Sweden.

Earlier today it was announced that A White, White Day is among the 46 feature films recommended for nomination for the European Film Awards.

A White, White Day had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival where the lead actor, Ingvar Sigurdsson, won the Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award in the Critics' Week section. The film will screen in the Contemporary World Cinema Section of the Toronto International Film Festival in September. 

Last year's winner of the Film Prize was the Icelandic film Woman at War by Benedikt Erlingsson. In 2015, Icelandic film Virgin Mountain by Dagur Kári won the award and in 2014 Benedikt Erlingsson‘s debut feature Of Horses and Men became the first Icelandic film to win the award.

Pálmason's first feature film, the Danish/Icelandic Winter Brothers, was Denmark's contribution last year and has won numerous awards since its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland in August 2017. 

This year‘s jury for Iceland was comprised of Hilmar Oddsson, Börkur Gunnarsson and Helga Thórey Jónsdóttir.

Information on the five films up for this year‘s Nordic Council Film Prize and the countries jury motivations can be found below:


A White, White Day, director and screenwriter Hlynur Pálmason and producer Anton Máni Svansson

A White, White Day - trailer

In A White, White Day, director Hlynur Pálmason explores the crisis of a middle-aged policeman when his wife dies unexpectedly. Unable to succumb to his grief, Ingimar becomes a moody recluse with no meaningful relationships beyond a tender friendship with his granddaughter. Masculinity is a prominent theme in the film as Ingimar is imprisoned by his inability to communicate clearly with his co-workers or his daughter and granddaughter, who try to reach out to him for compassion and support during a time of tremendous grief. 

Ingimar's inner life is mirrored in the film's uncanny and poetic visual storytelling. The fog that is synonymous with the eastern region of Iceland rolls a long way down the mountains and clings to Ingimar's world like a ghost or a prison. The presence of the white fog also evokes a certain Icelandic artistic sensibility as its allusive nature has been the subject of many of Iceland's foremost artists. 

The film revolves around the stunning performance of Ingvar E. Sigurðsson as the grief-stricken policeman. He exposes the angry Ingimar's silent and profound desperation in the slow and disciplined manner reserved for only the most experienced of actors.


Queen of Hearts, director May el-Toukhy, screenwriters May el-Toukhy and Maren Louise Käehne. Producers Caroline Blanco and René Ezra.

Queen of Hearts - trailer

It's incredibly difficult to tell a story that leaves it up to the audience to find motives among the contributors, especially when the protagonist is involved in something as morally reprehensible as a sexual relationship with his stepson. But in Queen of Hearts, which in many respects breaks with our usual perception of film, such openness feels completely right. Director May el-Toukhy maintains this difficult balance, while Trine Dyrholm turns her protagonist into someone mysterious yet completely human. Queen of Hearts is a joyous shock to both the eyes and soul.


Aurora, director and screenwriter Miia Tervo and producer Max Malka

Aurora - trailer

Across Europe, the far right is cashing in on the fear of immigration. Within this climate, director and screenwriter Miia Tervo's first feature film – a heartfelt story of contemporary pain and joy – Aurora is a healthy antidote to intellectual atrophy. With humanity and compassion at eye level, but without moralism, it shows the equal humanity of flawed people struggling for survival in an urban environment in the far north.


Blind Spot, director and screenwriter Tuva Novotny and producer Elisabeth Kvithyll

Blind Spot trailer

Blind Spot is a riveting drama that moves from the introduction of a realistic universe, through an unexpected situation that creates shock and despair, to the release of the main character's trauma and fear. Everything is told in one sweep, one long shot, creating the basis for impressive acting, photography, and sound design. Tuva Novotny's directing debut makes full use of cinematic techniques, all to the benefit of the story.


Reconstructing Utøya, director Carl Javér, screenwriters Carl Javér and Fredrik Lange, producer Fredrik Lange

Reconstructing Utøya - trailer

Darkness and light, reality and fantasy. Despair and anticipation, weight and relief. Reconstructing Utøya has all these. With intelligence, acute sensitivity, and deep respect for the survivors, director Carl Javér has tackled this Nordic trauma head on. The result is something so gripping and engaging that it borders on the unbearable. Together with the young people in front of the camera, he has created a secure and permissive space where the interaction between the contributors and their respect for and trust in each other simply beams compassion out into the world.

Purpose of the Nordic Council Film Prize, which is the most coveted award in the Nordic countries, is to raise interest in the Nordic cultural community as well as to recognize outstanding artistic initiatives. The films are selected and nominated because of their high artistic quality and originality, and for the way they combine and elevate the many elements of film into a compelling and holistic work of art in Nordic culture. The DKK 350,000 prize will be shared equally among the screenwriter, director, and producer, underscoring how film as an art form is brought about by the close collaboration of these three main contributors.

For further information about the films and the Nordic Council Film Prize, visit norden.org and nordiccouncilfilmprize.com.