Norsk filminstitutt

Dag Johan Haugerud's new feature SEX has won a total of three awards at the Berlin Film Festival: the Europa Cinema distribution award, the arthouse cinema award, and the prize from the ecumenical jury. 

Foto.To menn som er feiere sitter på et hustak
Jan Gunnar Røise and Thorbjørn Harr as chimney sweeps in Dag Johan Haugerud's film SEX. Photo: Agnete Brun

SEX, the first film in Dag Johan Haugerud's trilogy SEX DREAMS LOVE  thus brings home three awards from Berlin: the Europa Cinemas Label, the CICAE Prize, and the ecumenical jury's prize. 

"It has been a very nice experience to have the world premiere of Sex in Berlin, especially meeting a curious festival audience both on the red carpet at Zoo Palast and in smaller neighborhood cinemas. Additionally, being recognized by three different juries, from distributors and cinema owners to the ecumenical jury, we take it as a sign that the film has struck a chord. With this trilogy, our ambition has been to reach a wide audience both at home and internationally, and hopefully, these awards can help us along the way," says director and screenwriter Dag Johan Haugerud.

"These three awards confirms that SEX is a film of high artistic quality that will both entertain and touch audiences worldwide. It is a recognition of Dag Johan Haugerud as a filmmaker and shows that an artistically ambitious project like this trilogy on queer love and sexuality can have significant impact. He makes the world a little bigger for the audience, to paraphrase one of the characters in SEX. We look forward to following the journey of this film and, not least, to seeing the two upcoming films in the trilogy, DREAMS and LOVE," says Kjersti Mo, director of the Norwegian Film Institute. 

Europa Cinemas Label award 

The film won the Europa Cinemas Label for best European film in the Panorama section. The prize ensures SEX access to promotion through Europa Cinemas, which represents a network of European arthouse cinemas. Winners receive marketing support from the Europa Cinemas group. These cinemas will now also have financial incentives to include SEX in their programming. The aim of the prize is to contribute to increased marketing, distribution, and festival participation for the winning films. European Cinema was established by and is supported by the EU's Creative Europe Media and the French CNC, and also receives support from Eurimages. 

In their rationale for the prize, the five-person jury stated: 

“Dag Johan Haugerud’s SEX is fresh, original, and, above all, great fun. Yes, it is a talky film, but we feel strongly that the open and frank conversations about the fundamental nature of relationships will please audiences around Europe. Their attention is gripped from the first scene, and it will challenge and stay with them for a long time. The excellent photography helps drive the film’s appeal. And what a pleasure to see tangible evidence that men can talk freely about their feelings!”  

This is the fourth time a Motlys film has won this award: First Nord (with a shared prize in 2009), then Blind (2014), then Hope (2020), and now SEX (2024). The fifth Norwegian feature to have won this prize was Out of Nature in 2015, produced by Mer Film. 

Arthouse Cinema Prize 

SEX also won the prize awarded by the International Confederation of Art House Cinemas (CICAE) in the Panorama section. This association organizes three thousand arthouse cinemas worldwide, in addition to fifteen festivals and many distributors from 30 countries around the world. 

Film Prize from the ecumenical jury 

The film also garnered recognition from the ecumenical jury, representing the film organizations of the Protestant and Catholic churches. The jury awards prizes to directors who have succeeded in portraying actions or human experiences that are in keeping with the Gospels, or in sensitising viewers to spiritual, human or social values.   

About the film 

SEX is a warm and contemplative drama about two janitors (Thorbjørn Harr and Jan Gunnar Røise) who surprise each other during lunch one day. One reveals that he agreed to have sex with another man, but is puzzled when his wife accuses him of infidelity afterwards. The other worries about a vivid dream where David Bowie looks at him as if he were a woman. Can their lives continue as before? 

The SEX DREAMS LOVE trilogy has received 19.1 million Norwegian kroner in production grants from the Norwegian Film Institute, of which SEX is the first film to hit theaters. It will premiere in Norway on March 1st. 

In connection with the Berlinale, the film has been sold by the sales agent M-Appeal to, among others, North America (Strand Releasing), France, Greece, and South Korea. 

NORWEGIAN PREMIERE DATE March 1, 2024 DRAMA 125 min DIRECTOR Dag Johan Haugerud SCREENPLAY Dag Johan Haugerud CINEMATOGRAPHY Cecilie Semec CAST Thorbjørn Harr, Jan Gunnar Røise, Birgitte Larsen, Siri Forberg, Theo Dahl PRODUCERS Yngve Sæther and Hege Hauff Hvattum PRODUCTION COMPANY Motlys SALES AGENT M-Appeal NORWEGIAN DISTRIBUTOR Arthaus 

Six people in front of photo wall.
From the World Premiere in Berlin of SEX. From left: producer Yngve Sæther, actress Siri Forberg, director Dag Johan Haugerud, actress Birgitte Larsen, producer Hege Hauff Hvattum and actor Thorbjørn Harr. Photo: NFI.