The Nordic Film Composers Award 2024 goes to Iceland’s Eðvarð Egilsson for the score to Estonian Anna Hints’ documentary Smoke Sauna Sisterhood.

In a strong lineup, with Finnish composer Pessi Levanto and his suggestive score for the Danish film Superposition; Swedish composers Irya Gmeyner and Martin Hederos with their subtle ethnic score for the police series Thin Blue Line (Tunna blå linjen); the omnipresent score by Norwegian Ola Fløttum for the Norwegian true drama Let the River Flow (La elva leve); and Jonas Struck’s music becoming the rhythm of Apolonia’s soul in the Danish documentary Apolonia Apolonia, the international jury faced an almost impossible task selecting this year’s HARPA winner.

Right after receiving the much sought-after prize, an overwhelmed Eðvarð Egilsson says: ”It’s a great honour. I am deeply happy for the recognition, and proud of bringing the prize home to Iceland, being a small country. It has been very enriching attending this event, and meeting fellow composers and filmmakers. A huge thanks to The Nordic Film Music Days, The Nordic Embassies, and the sponsors of this wonderful event.”

The International jury released a statement about the nominated composers and Egilsson’s award- winning score:

“They are all amazing, these scores, and it has been a very hard, though joyful task, to watch these films and listen to the scores. We all agreed that all the composers would well deserve to bring back to their home country the award, created by Icelandic Ragnar Kjartansson.”

On this year’s winner, the statement continues: “The score that the jury has chosen as this year’s HARPA recipient, is very special. Special, not only because it is the result of a cooperative process between the composer and the director, but also because it blends human voices with rhythmic, yet fleshy sounds. Giving an earthy, earnest and poetic smoke to the film.”

The score for Estonian Smoke Sauna (Sisterhood Savvusanna sõsarad) was made as a collaboration with the Estonian electronic folk trio Eeter – the director of the film, Anna Hints, also being one of the three members.

The international HARPA jury 2024 consists of: Norwegian composer Jørund Fluge Samuelsen, HARPA winner 2023; Canadian composer Erica Procunier; German producer and director of SoundTrack Cologne Michael P. Aust; Tallinn & Baltic event Music Meets Film project manager Hanna-Greth Peetson; music director of Jecheon International Music and Film Festival South Korea, Lee Dong-June; Director of European Film Market Dennis Ruh; and American international film consultant Sydney Levine.

The HARPA awards is the culmination of The Nordic Film Music Days (NFMD) at The Nordic Embassies during the Berlinale. The three day conference is a rooted tradition since 2010, this year gathering 70 Nordic film and media composers for 15 events.

NFMD showcases the connection between music and cinema. The programme is designed for composers, producers, directors, and enthusiasts alike, offering a platform to explore the musical scoring of films, engage in meaningful discussions, and celebrate the talents within the Nordic film music industry.

Lone Nyhuus, being the Project Coordinator, says: “We are super happy about the collaboration with The Nordic Embassies. It’s a true Nordic event, with all five Nordic composers organisations contributing side by side”.

The event is financed by the Nordic composers organisations, with means from Nordic music rights organisations and Nordisk Film & TV Fond.