'Vinterkyss' ('Kissed by Winter')

"A poetic thriller, where the detective appears to be more mysterious than the case she investigates," is how Norwegian director Sara Johnsen described her feature debut, 'Vinterkyss' ('Kissed by Winter'), which was awarded two Amandas - the local Oscars - for Best Actress (Annika Hallin) and Best Nordic Newcomer.

'Kissed by Winter' is set during the winter in a small town in Eastern Norway, where a young man is found dead, presumably hit by a snow plough.

However, the local doctor, Victoria (Annika Hallin), who is Swedish, is convinced that he has been the victim of a crime before the accident.

As she gets entangled in the investigation of the dead man, and involved in a love affair with the prime suspect, Kai (Kristoffer Joner), events from her own past that she would rather have forgotten are whirled up to the surface.

"The idea for the film actually came from a vision of a death wish, related to a young man lying bloody and beaten in the snow waiting for a snow truck. Ståle Stein Berg and I used this as the starting point for the depiction of an emotional character, ruled by his feelings, and his extreme opposite, someone preoccupied with controlling emotions. The one keeping check on her emotions eventually became the main character," Johnsen recalled.  "In the film Kai asks Victoria, 'Shall I carry you home?" It is said as a joke, but in fact that is what he does. He helps her to build up the courage to reunite with the man she loves - and beg him for forgiveness. He gives her the kind of unconditional love that is hard to give. If I were to summarise my thoughts about the story in one sentence, it would be, 'I would rather die than come crawling, but I will survive if you carry me home'," she concluded.

Director/Scriptwriter: Sara Johnsen

Sara Johnsen, who graduated from the Norwegian Film School at Lillehammer in 2000, won several prizes for her student film projects, including 'Hormoner og Andre Demoner' ('Hormones and Other Demons').

She contributed to the Norwegian documentary, 'Folk flest bor i Kina' ('Utopia - Nobody Is Perfect in the Perfect Country'), with - among others - Martin Asphaug, Hans Petter Moland and Thomas Robsahm.

Her short films have won several international awards. For example 'Houdinis Hund' ('Houdini's Dog'), which took first prize at the Buster Copenhagen International Children's Film Festival.

Scriptwriters: Ståle Stein Berg, Sara Johnsen

A former student of philosophy and free-lance journalist, Ståle Stein Berg studied scriptwriting at the Norwegian Film School, where he started his collaboration with Johnsen.

Their 'Himmelstormeren' ('In Spite of Ourselves') and 'Hormoner og Andre Demoner' ('Hormones and Other Demons') both won prizes in Munich. Berg wrote the original screenplay for Jens Lien's 'Jonny Vang', which was selected for the Panorama in Berlin.

Producers: Christian Fredrik Martin, Asle Vatn

After working as a production and location manager on numerous Norwegian features in the 1990s, Martin graduated as a producer from the Norwegian Film School in 2000.

The general manager of Friland since 2001, he produced 'Kissed by Winter', Ove Raymond Gyldenås' 'Tommy's Inferno', and is currently in pre-production with URO.

With an MA in audiovisual law and economics, Vatn has worked for Merkur Filmproduksjon and been a consultant both for the Audiovisual Production Fund and the Norwegian Film Fund, before he joined Friland in 2002, where he has produced 'Kissed by Winter' and 'Tommy's Inferno'.

Director:

Sara Johnsen

Scriptwriters:

Ståle Stein Berg, Sara Johnsen

Producers:

Christian Fredrik Martin, Asle Vatn, Friland

Principal cast:

Annika Hallin, Kristoffer Joner, Göran Ragnarstam, Fridtjov Såheim, Linn Skåber

Local distributor:

Sandrew Metronome Norway.

International sales:

NonStop Sales