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Beyond wins Nordic Council Film Prize

Today, Pernilla August entered an exclusive club including Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and Roy Andersson among its members. Earlier this year, the Swedish actress debuted as a film director and this morning her feature film Beyond was awarded the prestigious Nordic Council Film Prize.

At its theatrical release this spring, 'Beyond' was praised by critics all across the North. Starring the new international movie darling Noomi Rapace, the movie is a flashback to a difficult start in life, but with a strong, undeniable hope for the future. In front of Danish Nikolaj Arcel 'The Truth About Men' and Norwegian Joachim Trier's 'Oslo, August 31st', this morning, Pernilla August was the one invited on stage by this year's jury chairman, the English actress Dame Helen Mirren, to receive the Nordic Council Film Prize 2011.

Nordic Council Film Prize became a permanent film award in 2005 and is handed out every year together with the other Nordic Council awards for music, literature and environmental work. With this honour follows DKK 350,000, equally shared between the director, screenwriter and producer. Previous winners include Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Roy Andersson, Aki Kaurismäki, Per Fly and Josef Fares.

Synopsis
Leena, has fought all her life to let go of her grief over her dark childhood. One morning just before Christmas, Leena receives a phone call from a hospital in her childhood hometown telling her that her mother is dying. This news takes her on a journey to face her mother for the first time in her adult life. She is now forced to deal with her past to be able to move on.
A past life that she lived in one of Ystad's toughest neighbourhoods.

Pernilla August
Pernilla August (born 1958) is one of our great theatre and film actresses today. She is educated at The Drama School in Stockholm, and was in most of her successful career involved with Dramaten, where she among other things acted in Ingmar Bergman's productions of 'Hamlet', 'A Doll's House', 'A Winter's Tale', 'Mary Stuart' and 'Ghosts'.

Also in Denmark, we have seen Pernilla August in a series of dazzling television roles, such as in Bille August's 'The good will' (1991). The theatrical version was awarded the Gold Palm at Cannes the following year, and Pernilla August received the award for best actress. The same year she was also awarded a Guldbagge for the same performance.

In 1999 August played the part as Shmi Skywalker in George Lucas 'Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace', and for this achievement, she was nominated for a Saturn Award. In 2005 Pernilla August debuted as a director with the short film 'Blindgångare' and now, six years later, we can now enjoy her feature film debut.

Noomi Rapace
Noomi Rapace (b. 1979) became an internationally hyped star, when nailing the part as Lisbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. Rapace, who once lived in Iceland, debuted in the age of seven as an extra in the Icelandic film 'Korpans skugga', which awakened her interest for acting. After her studies at Skara's school stage in 1998-99, Rapace's career began at Theatre Plaza, Orionteatern, Stockholm's City Theatre and Dramaten in Stockholm. In 2003, Noomi Rapace had her cinema screen debut with 'Capricciosa'. Four years later she was awarded the prestigious Bodil Award for her leading part as Anna in Simon Staho's film 'Daisy Diamond'. The sovereign breakthrough, however, was with the part as Lisbeth Salander in 'Men who hate women' for which she was awarded with a Guldbagge. The international attention is soon visible on the home cinema screens when she can be seen in Grossmann's 'Clean Out', Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus', Stefan Ruzowitzkys 'The Last Voyage of Demeter' and Guy Ritchie's upcoming Sherlock Holmes drama.

Reviews
In general, the Danish reviewers praised August's directorial debut. Among several others Politiken and Berlingske Tidende rated as high as 5 out of 6 stars/hearts and Politiken's Sophie Engberg Sonne wrote "... A careful, honest, trustworthy and deeply human story about love in spite of everything...", while Berlingske Tidende began with the subheading: "Pernilla August's directorial debut is an overwhelmingly beautiful glimpse of a girl growing up on the wrong side of Sweden."

Movie Awards
Also abroad, 'Beyond' has evoked attention. At film festivals including Lübeck, Venice, Sao Paulo and Hamburg the Swedish drama has impressed and been awarded with festival awards. Back home in Sweden Pernilla August received this year's Guldbagge for best director and now 'Beyond' is praised as the best Nordic film in 2011 with the award of this year's Nordic Council Film Prize

Nordisk Film released 'Beyond' on DVD on October 5th.