Historic Grand Slam for Norwegian cinema at Sundance

Historic Grand Slam for Norwegian cinema at Sundance: Awards for “A New Kind of Wilderness,” “Ibelin,” and “Handling the Undead.”The documentary film “A New Kind of Wilderness ” won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, while “Ibelin” received The Directing Award and The Audience Award in the same section. The feature film “Handling the Undead” won Special Jury Award for Original Music in The World Cinema Dramatic Competition. This makes this year’s awards ceremony the best ever for Norwegian cinema at a major festival. The awards were presented in Park City, Utah, in a ceremony on Friday, with the Norwegian winners present in the auditorium. 

“It’s completely wild, we are so grateful and proud! That a close and personal film receives this recognition means everything,” says ” A New Kind of Wilderness ” director Silje Evensmo Jacobsen. 

 “This was absolutely fantastic! We would like to dedicate this award to Mats ‘Ibelin’ Steen. It will stand together with his picture at his parents Robert and Trude’s home. We hope the film will reach as many people as possible, and create discussions and inspiration all over the world. Such an award helps the future life of the film and increases the likelihood that it will be seen by more people. We are incredibly grateful and happy for this,” says Benjamin Ree, director of “Ibelin.” 

Golden Age for Norwegian Documentary Film 
“We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Norwegian documentary film is in a golden age. The quality is world-class, and the fact that both “A New Kind of Wilderness ” and “Ibelin” won awards at Sundance is testament to this. Not only have they been carefully selected to the festival – they also took home three awards to Norway! We are incredibly proud of the teams behind the films and the directors Benjamin Ree and Silje Evensmo Jakobsen, and to composer Peter Raeburn for his work with the music for “Handling the Undead,” says Kjersti Mo, director of the Norwegian Film Institute. 

A New Kind of Wilderness 
The documentary film “A New Kind of Wilderness” by director Silje Evensmo Jacobsen takes place on a small farm surrounded by spruce forest where a family that has made an unconventional choice lives – Maria and Nik and their four children grow their own food, practice homeschooling, and co-sleep. They want to spend their time being together, living close to nature, becoming self-sufficient, and free. Maria, the mother of the family, is a photographer and documents the life project through words and pictures on the website wildandfree. But then tragedy strikes them, and the world they know is turned upside down. Reluctantly, the family must change their lifestyle and become part of modern society again. 

” A New Kind of Wilderness ” has received 1.7 million NOK in development and production grants from the Norwegian Film Institute. 

About the Double Winner “Ibelin”
“Ibelin” is about the gamer Mats Steen who died of a muscle disease at the age of 25. His parents mourned what they thought had been a lonely and isolated life, when they suddenly began to receive messages from Mats’ online friends from all over the world. The film recreates the rich life of Mats’ avatar “Ibelin” in the gaming world. Everything is based on real events and dialogues, taken from role-playing in World of Warcraft.
The documentary is directed by Benjamin Ree, whose previous film “The Painter and the Thief” in 2020 was the first Norwegian-registered documentary film in the main competition at Sundance. There, Ree won the Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling. For the 2024 festival, Ree’s new film “Ibelin” was invited to be shown at the traditional cinema The Egyptian on the opening day and has now won two awards. 
The film is produced by Ingvil Giske for Medieoperatørene and will have its Norwegian premiere in March 2024. It has received 4.2 million NOK in development and production grants from the Norwegian Film Institute…

Excerpt from press release of Norwegian Film Institute.
Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3872