Danish triumph at Critics' Week Cannes

CANNES 2010. Two Danish films swept up Semaine de la Critique's top awards this evening in Cannes. Janus Metz' Armadillo won the Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique and Daniel Borgman's short film Berik received the Grand Prix Canal+.

Semaine de la Critique's awards ceremony proved to be a sensational evening for Danish cinema: "Armadillo", a feature-length documentary directed by Janus Metz, was honoured with the prestigious Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique, and "Berik" by Daniel Joseph Borgman took the Grand Prix Canal+ in the Short Film Competition.

Armadillo - Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique

Janus Metz' feature-length documentary "Armadillo" is a thought-provoking, vivid and frightening portrayal of the loss of innocence of two young soldiers, Mads and Daniel, who are on their first mission in Afghanistan. Armadillo is the name of one of the Danish camps in the Afghan Helmand province, where director Janus Metz and cinematographer Lars Skree followed soldiers close at hand for a period of six months.

Ronnie Fridthjof and Sara Stockmann produced "Armadillo" for Fridthjof Film Doc, Lars Skree was director of photography.

"Armadillo" is the first documentary to compete in Semaine de la Critique (Critics' Week) since the programme introduced a competition section in 1990. Semaine de la Critique was founded in 1961 by the French Association of Film Critics.

Read more about "Armadillo" in an interview with the director Between Heroes and Killers and the press release Trades applaud Armadillo.

Director Janus Metz is known for his awardwinning "Love on Delivery" (IDFA Silver Wolf competitor) and "Ticket to Paradise" (Special Mention at CPH:DOX). Cinematographer Lars Skree worked on both films.  

The Grand Prix Semaine de la Critique is awarded by the press to a film in the programme's competition. Journalists and film critics are invited to vote after each screening. The prize is accompanied by 5,000 € from Cinepolis for the director of the winning film.

Berik - Grand Prix Canal+

Image from Daniel Joseph Borgman's "Berik". Framegrab.

This is Daniel Joseph Borgman's second round at Cannes. Last year his short film "Lars and Peter" was selected for Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Competition. Now back in Cannes, his short film "Berik" is reaping the fruits: Besides the honour of the Grand Prix, Canal+ Short Films division is buying the rights to the film. Moreover Panavision Alga Techno awarded 6,000 € worth of equipment for use in the Borgman's next film.

"Berik" is a story about loneliness and friendship. Berik was born blind and deformed. He spends his days at home – in Semey, Eastern Kazakhstan – alone, waiting for his brother to come home from work. That is, until Adil, the smallest and least popular of the kids in the apartment block, comes knocking on his door.

Katja Adomeit produced "Berik" with a Danish film crew for Zentropa. The film was part of Borgman's training at the alternative film school Super16 in Copenhagen. The film also received support from the DFI Workshop.

Read more in an interview with the director: When Friendship Comes Knocking

Daniel Joseph Borgman, a New Zealander, has lived in Denmark since 2005. "Berik" is his fifth short film. Since the beginning of March, Borgman has participated in Cannes film festival's 20-week Cinefondation Residence-programme in Paris, where he has worked on a script for his next film, a feature film entitled "The Weight of Elephants".