‘A Joyful Choice’: Double Palme d’Or Winner Ruben Östlund Named Honorary President of Göteborg Film Festival

Double Palme d’Or winner Ruben Östlund has been named new Honorary President of Sweden’s Göteborg Film Festival, the biggest movie event in Scandinavia..

The “Triangle of Sadness” helmer will act as an advisor for the Swedish fest and “leave his artistic imprint on the festival program,” promised the organizers. That includes the upcoming 46th edition, starting in January.

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“It was both an easy and a joyful choice to accept this heavy title,” said Östlund, who will succeed previous presidents, Ingmar Bergman and Roy Andersson

“We share the vision of a more vital cinema culture, free from nostalgic throwbacks. We will have to do this work in many different areas, but I can reveal that the first one for us to lecture is the cinema audience.”

“They must learn the difference between scrolling for dopamine on individual screens and to take part in a show,” he added.

As reported by Variety, the award-winning director – whose satire “The Square” was nominated for an Academy Award in 2018 – is currently developing “The Entertainment System is Down,” set onboard a long-haul flight and inspired by Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel “Brave New World.”

The film will be shot in English.

“Since I made ‘Force Majeure,’ I have had a goal of combining the best part of the American cinema, where you’re reaching the audience, with the European cinema, where you’re discussing society and where you are provoking thoughts. And I think that the audience actually is interested in that,” he recently told Variety.

But he also has other ambitious plans.

“It was fantastic to win the [Palme d’Or] the first time. I never thought it would happen again. And when you win it the second time, the scary thing is that then you realize it is possible to win a third time. And then I would be the only one in the world. I’m sorry, but these are the kind of fantasies I get.”

Östlund showed his documentary short “Let the Others Deal with Love” at the fest back in 2001. Now, over two decades after his first visit, he will speak as the new president at the opening ceremony.

“Ruben Östlund has the artistic integrity, the intellectual playfulness and the international luminescence that make him an excellent Honorary President for Göteborg Film Festival,” observed artistic director Jonas Holmberg, calling the helmer a “loyal visitor” to the festival.

“He is a critical sociologist, a passionate visual creator and a charming provocateur. It will be both joyful and challenging for us to search for the future of the festival together.”

“Once, an old man gave me a VHS tape with the very first moving images Ruben ever shot, when he was a kid playing around with the camera for the first time. The film is about some children bicycling into the water. The man had tried to give the tape to Ruben for years, but he didn’t accept the gift. We consider this film ‘ours’ now,” Holmberg told Variety.

“We have had the privilege to follow and support his work for more than 20 years and his work and ideas have for long been a constant reference in our understanding of cinema. We are of course very open to a female Honorary President in the future, but at this moment I can’t think of anyone more suitable for the role.”

Östlund’s many commitments, including the ongoing Oscar campaign for “Triangle of Sadness,” won’t be an issue.

“We are expecting an active Honorary President,” adds Holmberg.

“Ruben is very interested in discussing and challenging ideas about how we screen and watch films in the contemporary media landscape, questions at the heart of our operation. We are currently working on the first project and I think it will be sensational! Watch out in January.”

The board of Göteborg Film Festival appoints the Honorary President for five years, at which point it will be renewed or concluded.

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