A special screening of Renny Harlin’s film 5 Days of War was held at the 13th Annual Scandinavian Film Festival in Los Angeles on January 8, 2012 at 3pm PST. Cinema Without Borders’ Editor-in-Chief, Bijan Tehrani, bestowed Director Renny Harlin with the “Bridging the Borders Award” for his powerful and moving film.
“Harlin dealt delicately and artistically with the inhumanity and injustice of a war imposed on a small nation. It showed how people from different cultures could come together to fight against injustice, which is created by a crazy war,” Tehrani said at the awards ceremony.
Harlin, a prominent Finnish director, stayed for the honors ceremony after the screening as well as a Q & A session. Best known for his high-budget films like “Die Hard 2” and “Cliffhanger,” Harlin said that this film, in particular, was the most powerful experience of his life and career. Harlin was pleased to receive the “Bridging the Borders Award” from Cinema Without Borders. Harlin stated that, “It’s beautiful that there is an organization like Cinema Without Borders, an organization that everyone can tap into, to go online and find so much information about movies made in different countries, movies that sometimes don’t reach audiences so easily because they are not mainstream, and not shown in thousands of movie theatres, but are really, really great stories.” Harlin added that he hopes to make many more movies in the future like “5 Days of War” that can be presented at festivals around the world and be internationally documented and recognized by organizations like Cinema Without Borders.
Harlin’s film, “5 Days of War” focuses on a disgruntled and disillusioned American war journalist, his cameraman, and a local Georgian woman, whose lives intersect when they get caught in the middle of the violence that erupted when the Russians invaded the Georgian Republic in 2008. The three main characters are determined to make it out alive in order to report what has transpired and deliver a memory card that has captured brutal war atrocities. Under attack by Russian soldiers, they try to survive while attempting to capture war footage despite resistance and lack of interest from international news networks that are solely focused on covering the Beijing Olympics. The film is ultimately about the sacrifices made for the power of truth.
Harlin later stated that the film has had a positive effect on him, not only professionally, but personally. “For me, “5 Days of War,” having now seen it dozens of times, in different festivals all around the world, still brings tears into my eyes, because it is about people, it is about real life situations, and that is what is so great about cinema, because you can tell these stories. You can reach millions of people all around the world, and get your message across, and affect the people that the movies are about and the people watching the movie,” Harlin said.
At a later date, there will be a private awards reception for the film hosted by the Finnish Consulate.