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Film wins honour at AFI festival

’Kissed by Winter’, Norway’s official entry for the Academy Awards, won the top jury prize in the 12-film international feature film competition at this year’s AFI Film Fest today, beating out other competing front-runners in the foreign language Oscar race.

16/11/2005 :: Producer, Christian Fredrik Martin was on hand at the rooftop ceremony at the Arclight to receive the Award. "It is unreal to win this Award in such a prestigious competition," he said. "I saw so many good films at the AFI Film Festival, so I am very proud of my director and cast. It was great to see the response of the American audiences."

Lead actress, Annika Hallin, currently in New York, having just returned from Los Angeles after attending the festival, heard the news after the screening of the film at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “A Luminous Century: Celebrating Norwegian Cinema” series. “On hearing that the film had won, I broke down and cried,” said Hallin, accompanied by her two teenage daughters. “Making the film was an extremely emotional experience for me and I relived it again on seeing the film here in the US with the American audiences. Our trip here has been unbelievable, I feel like I am in a dream. I got to meet my idol Liv Ullman here in New York and my teenage daughters got to meet theirs, Johnny Depp and John Malkovich, at the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles. I am deeply moved and grateful to the jury for awarding this film the top prize. We made a film about human experience, told in a raw, honest, unglamorised way. It is not a beautiful fairytale. The audience takes a journey and experiences the universality of suffering and grief of which no-one is immune. At some point in our lives, we all experience hurt and have to take the painful path to healing.”

Director, Sara Johnsen, reached at home in Oslo, Norway, was woken up to hear the news while her eleven-week-old baby daughter cried in the background. As her husband tended to the child, Sara spoke of her delight at receiving the AFI Film Festival award, “I am thrilled. Even though the film deals with sadness, it is also about how love and forgiveness are possible. It is about how important it is to observe and take care of our loved ones. That even great pain can be dealt with and that sometimes you can give someone something without demanding anything back. I worked so hard on the film and I had a great team.”

The film is a drama set in the Norwegian winter landscape. Following a tragic accident, Victoria leaves the man she loves in Stockholm. She takes up a position as country doctor in a remote village in the mountains of Norway. One day the body of a young man is found in the snow by the road. The deceased turns out to be an Iraqi boy from a nearby refugee centre. Through her encounter with the dead boy in the snow and the local inhabitants, Victoria becomes trapped in a fateful labyrinth, believing that by clarifying the circumstances surrounding his death, she can provide closure for all.

See the film in London

As part of the Norwegian Film Festival at the Barbican, London, in early December, you can see 'Kissed by Winter' on 3 December. To book tickets - click here.

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From the film 'Kissed by Winter'.Photo: www.vinterkyss.no

The director of the film, Sara Johnsen.Photo: www.vinterkyss.no