Renny Harlin Slated to Receive CWB's "Bridging the Borders Award" at Scandinavian Film Festival L.A.


Burbank, California – January 5, 2012: Director Renny Harlin Slated to Receive Cinema Without Borders “Bridging the Borders Award” at Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. Renny Harlin, the Finnish director who became the quintessential American success story through his work in Hollywood, will receive the Cinema Without Borders “Bridging the Borders Award”  for his film “ 5 Days of War.”  The Award will be presented at the 13th Annual Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. on Sunday January 8 in conjunction with a special 3:00 p.m. screening of the film with Harlin “on deck” for honors and for Q & A. There will be a private award reception hosted by the Finnish Consulate at a later date.

The award was announced by “Cinema Without Borders” Editor-in-Chief Bijan Tehrani.  He states “I am proud to name Renny Harlin as recipient of the ‘Bridging the Borders Award at the 13th Annual Scandinavian Film Festival L.A.   In this beautiful film, Renny Harlin deals delicately and artistically with the inhumanity and injustice of a war imposed on a small nation.  5 Days of War allows us to witness a part of recent history that a lot of us haven’t even heard reported.  Harlin uses the setting of hardship to exhibit the cross-cultural cooperation that comes together at times of pain and loss.”

Based on a true story, the film, set in the midst of the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, unfolds around an American journalist, his cameraman, and a Georgian schoolteacher caught in the crossfire of the first Russian airstrikes against Georgia.  As the three desperately attempt to flee for safety, they witness– and document– the devastation, destruction, and cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians.  When they attempt to broadcast the footage, they are captured while under attack from Russian soldiers and local mercenaries, but are are met with resistance from American and international forces as well, who are either shorthanded from covering the Beijing Olympics or simply tired of war news from other arenas like Iraq. The three put the survival of “the truth” ahead of their own survival. 

“Real disasters are often described by the people caught up in them as being ‘surreal’– almost as if in slow motion.”  says SFFLA Founder/Director Jim Koenig.  “Renny Harlin skillfully captures the ‘surreal’ interruptions of war in a way that captures both the brutality and humanity of those caught up in the cause and the casualty of the action. The film begins with a quote from U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson from 1918– you know, when ‘the war to end all wars’ was over.  He said:  ‘The first casualty of war is truth.’  Renny Harlin follows his characters in a filmic recovery mission that saves the truth.  When that happens it’s worth of an award.”

Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. is scheduled to run January 7, 8, 14, 15 at the Writers Guild Theater 135 S. Doheny in Beverly Hills.  The program includes Oscar submissions, current feature films, shorts, and documentaries from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden– and, sometimes, a very special offering from an acclaimed Scandinavian working in Hollywood.


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