Nordic Council Film Prize for the Danish animated film Escape
The Danish animated film Escape is winning the Nordic Council Film Prize 2021.
The award was given to director and screenwriter Jonas Poher Rasmussen, screenwriter Amin and manufacturers Monica Hellström, Charlotte de la Gournerie and Signe Byrge Sørensen during the Nordic Council’s session in Copenhagen. Last week, the film was unveiled as Denmark’s official Oscar nominee.
The Nordic Council Film Prize comes with a prize of as much as 300,000 Danish kroner, which must be shared between director, screenwriter and producer.
The jury, which consists of one representative from each of the five Nordic countries, states the following in its reasoning:
It is rare that the aesthetic, political and human dimensions merge in such a sublime artistic unity as in Escape. In the animated documentary, the director’s childhood friend, Amin, tells for the first time his dramatic story as a homosexual and as a minor refugee from Afghanistan, at a time when he is facing a major turning point in life: He is getting married.
The film puts a concrete, soul-shaking fate into the refugee debate of the time, and at the same time it is easy for the audience to get acquainted with Amin’s general, existential doubts, which the film reveals with delicate and sometimes humorous sense of detail and mood.
The animation solves in a brilliant way practical challenges with anonymity and lack of visual material. The stylish execution of promises simultaneously elevates the narrative to a sensuous experience, from the depiction of happy childhood in Afghanistan to the brutal flight to Europe. Amin ends up in Denmark and tries to find security and a home.
We mean Escape tells an extremely important, relevant and touching story that all people, regardless of ethnic origin, background, age and sexual orientation, have the right to a happy childhood and a safe country to live in. The film was written before many people in Afghanistan had to to flee from the Civil War, and it has only become more relevant after these events. But the director avoids becoming self-pitying or sentimental in a way the story is told.
At the Sundance Festival of the film Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary section, and at Annecy’s International Animation Festival it was named best feature film. The film is expected to have great international success in the coming year. We in the Nordic film jury believe this is fully deserved. We are therefore the only ones that we will award Escape Nordic Council Film Prize 2021.
The other films that were nominated were:
- Gunda (Norway) – Victor Kossakovsky (direction and script), Ainara Vera (script), Anita Rehoff Larsen (producer).
- Ensilumi (“Any Day Now”, Finland) – Hamy Ramezan (direction and script), Antti Rautava (script), Jussi Rantamäki (producer) and Emilia Haukka (producer).
- Alma (Ø) – Kristín Jóhannesdóttir (director and script), Guðrún Edda Þórhannesdóttir (producer), Friðrik Þór Friðriksson (producer) and Egil Ødegård (producer).
- Tigers (Sweden) – Ronnie Sandahl (director and screenwriter) and Piodor Gustafsson (producer).
Escape had its Norwegian cinema premiere on 22 October.