Winning the top award at Göteborg Film Festival in February, Martin Zandvliet's "Land of Mine" is upping its chances of receiving yet another distinguished Nordic honour as one of five nominees for the Nordic Council Film Prize. See trailer below
Each film is elected by a national jury, and from Denmark, film critics Per Juul Carlsen, Jacob Wendt and Eva Novrup Redvall motivate their choice of Zandvliet's drama, which shines a light on a little-known chapter from Danish postwar history:
"Telling a compelling story about a person's development is one thing. Recreating history and truly placing us in the middle of it is something else entirely. And it is still something else to dare challenge the Danish national spirit where it hurts. Martin Zandvliet's 'Land of Mine' deftly accomplishes all three with its almost unbearably intense story of teenage German soldiers forced to remove mines along the west coast of Jutland after the Second World War. It is impossible to view 'Land of Mine' without reflecting on one's view of human nature and one's national sentiments."
"Land of Mine" made its world premiere in Toronto and also screened in Sundance. In addition to winning Göteborg's Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film, the film was honoured at several more festivals such as Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Trondheim and Rotterdam and was the big winner at the national Bodil and Robert Awards 2016. The film is produced by Mikael Rieks for Nordisk Film and sold by K5 Media Group based in Munich.
Read interview with Martin Zandvliet The Untold Story
"Land of Mine" will be competing with "The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki" by Juho Kuosmanen (Finland), "Sparrows" by Rúnar Rúnarsson (Iceland), "Louder than Bombs" by Joachim Trier (Norway) and "The Here After" by Magnus von Horn (Sweden).
Director Martin Zandvliet and producer Mikael Rieks accepting the Dragon Award in Göteborg in February 2016. Photo: Violetta Kovacka
To raise interest in Nordic films
This year marks the 13th edition of the Nordic Council Film Prize. Previous winners include these five from Denmark: "Manslaughter" by Per Fly (2005), "The Art of Crying" by Peter Schønau Fog (2007), "Antichrist" by Lars von Trier (2009), "Submarino" by Thomas Vinterberg (2010) and finally "The Hunt" by Vinterberg (2013).
The purpose of the prize is to raise interest in the Nordic film community and to recognise outstanding artistic achievements. Each film is nominated because af its deep roots in Nordic culture, its artistic quality and originality, and for the way it combines the many elements of film into a compelling work of art.
The DKK 350,000 prize (EUR 47,000) will be shared equally among the screenwriter, director and producer, underscoring how film as an art form is the result of a collective endeavour. In the case of "Land of Mine," the recipients would be Martin Zandvliet as director/screenwriter and Mikael Rieks as producer.
The winning film will be announced on 1 November during the Session of the Nordic Council in Copenhagen.
Previous winners are: Dagur Kári for "Virgin Mountain" (2015), Benedikt Erlingsson for "Of Horses and Men" (2014), Thomas Vinterberg for "The Hunt" (2013), Ruben Östlund for "Play" (2012), Pernilla August for "Beyond" (2011), Thomas Vinterberg for "Submarino" (2010), Lars von Trier for "Antichrist" (2009), Roy Andersson for "You, the Living" (2008), Peter Schønau Fog for "The Art of Crying" (2007), Josef Fares for "Zozo" (2006), Per Fly for "Manslaughter" (2005) and Aki Kaurismäki for "The Man without a Past" (2002).