The Nordic Council Film Prize 2020 has been awarded to screenwriter/director Dag Johan Haugerud and producer Yngve Sæther for their Norwegian film Beware of Children.
The Norwegian drama Beware of Children was Tuesday night announced as winner of the Nordic Council Film Prize 2020 one of Northern Europe’s most coveted film awards.
The prize endowed with DKK 350,000 is shared among the three functions, directing, screenwriting and producing in recognition of film as an art form, based on the collaboration between the main functions.
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Beware of Children traces the dramatic aftermath of a tragic event in a middle-class suburb of Oslo. During a break in school a 13-year girl, the daughter of a prominent Labour Party member, seriously injures her classmate Jamie, the son of a high-profile right-wing politician. When Jamie later dies in hospital, contradicting versions of what actually happened risks making a difficult situation worse. The school’s female principal, the secret lover of Jamie’s father, confronts the community in distress and her own conflicted emotions.
Part of the jury’s motivation says:
“A thirteen-year-old dies in the schoolyard, after fighting with another pupil. This occasion causes the adults surrounding these pupils to face a myriad of new thoughts and dilemmas, and is the starting point for Dag Johan Haugerud’s ambitious and thoughtful film Beware of Children. With empathy and great seriousness Haugerud explores the relationship between children and adults, and asks pressing questions. How well do the parents and teachers really know the children in their care? Do parents have an obligation to believe their children? To what degree should they protect them? Is it really possible to always act in the best interest of a child? And why does it feel so much worse when something dramatic happens to a child, compared to an adult?” … “Dag Johan Haugerud is a distinct filmmaker, with a highly personal view of the world and an unusually well attuned ear for dialogue. Through the years he has cultivated a warm and trusting relationship with some of Norway’s finest actors, and in Beware of Children they bring out the best in each other. This is a rich film about that which matters most of all.”
Dag Johan Haugerud is an accomplished author, screenwriter and director. His first feature length film I Belong (2012) was nominated for the Nordic Council Film Prize in 2013. Beware of Children had its world premiere at Venice Days 2019, it won the Critic's Award at Thessaloniki Film Festival and the Dragon Award-Best Nordic Film at the Göteborg Film Festival.
The Nordic Council Film Prize was first awarded in 2002 and is the most prestigious film award in the Nordic region. The Nordic Council awards five prizes each year – for literature, film, music, the environment, and children’s and young people’s literature. The purpose of the prizes is to raise interest in the Nordic cultural community and Nordic co-operation on the environment, as well as to recognise outstanding artistic and environmental efforts.