The Danish film "Empire" wins 2023 Nordic Council Film Prize

31.10.23 | News
Den danska filmen ”Viften” fick Nordiska rådets filmpris 2023

Den danska filmen ”Viften” fick Nordiska rådets filmpris 2023

Magnus Fröderberg,
The 2023 Nordic Council Film Prize goes to the Danish film “Empire” by director Frederikke Aspöck, screenwriter Anna Neye, and producers Pernille Munk Skydsgaard, Nina Leidersdorff, and Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen. They have won the prize for a multifaceted work described by the jury as self-assured and carefully thought out in every detail.

The prize was awarded at an awards ceremony at the Norwegian Opera & Ballet in Oslo on Tuesday evening. Actor Maria Bonnive awarded the prize. 

The winner of the Nordic Council Film Prize receives a Nordlys statuette and DKK 300,000, which is shared equally between the winning film’s director, screenwriters, and producers – to acknowledge the fact that film as an art form is the result of co-operation between these three main functions.


It’s a rare thing to come across a film that’s so confidently and thoroughly thought through in every single detail. The director Frederikke Aspöck does not stumble. Empire takes a new and fresh stance on racism and power plays. Centred around Denmark’s colonial times at the West Indies back in 1848 at St. Croix. 


it is brave, bold, and ambitious of the filmmakers to pursue this serious and traumatising story in such personal, playful and, at some points, even humoristic and surprisingly beautiful ways. They look back at history and it doesn’t look good. Empire is a story about a very specific part of Denmark’s past, and it is both deeply relatable to our current dilemmas and to a global audience.


With hindsight, the film convincingly interprets the slave rebellion against Danish colonialism, in highly complex ways. Everyone is struggling to find a place within the hierarchy of race and class. Loyalties and agendas shift, making the story unpredictable and riveting. The screenwriter Anna Neye, who also plays the leading character, has created a diverse and previously unheard story where all the characters have flaws, and many have inner ethical struggles.


The jury chose Empire from a selection of Nordic films of exceptionally high quality. The film combines excellent screenwriting with a striking visual narrative and soundscape that make for a powerful cinematic experience. All in all, the filmmakers have served the audience a beautiful, sweet, and colourful treat laced with bitter poison and low-key rage. 


We congratulate the producers for allowing these powerful and original voices to be heard in our Nordic cinemas.

Production information

Original title: Viften

International title: Empire

Director: Frederikke Aspöck

Screenwriter: Anna Neye

Producers: Pernille Munk Skydsgaard, Nina Leidersdorff, Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen

Production company: Meta Film


A total of six Nordic films were nominated for this year’s film prize.