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AWARDS Denmark

Lars von Trier receives the 2018 Sonning Prize


- The Danish auteur is being presented with the biggest cultural award in Denmark, which commemorates personalities that have contributed to European culture

Lars von Trier receives the 2018 Sonning Prize
The inimitable Lars von Trier (© Zentropa)

The biggest cultural award in Denmark, the Sonning Prize (Sonningprisen) this year goes to Danish filmmaker and screenwriter Lars von Trier, who was elected by a committee under the University of Copenhagen. The Sonning Prize is accompanied by a sum of DKK 1 million (€135,000) and is normally awarded biennially to personalities that have contributed to European culture.

One of the most innovative and groundbreaking film creators, von Trier has received acknowledgment not only in his home country but also beyond Europe’s borders. As for the decision to award him the prize, Milena Bonifacini, the chairwoman of the Academy Council, underlines: “As a filmmaker, Lars von Trier has managed to give different genres his very own interpretation. In that sense, he is a groundbreaking and avant-garde artist who positions himself confidently and self-consciously in a place far removed from the ever more commercialised mainstream films. It’s this continued embrace and break with the conventional which sets Lars von Trier's work apart and has contributed to making European film something special.”

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Through over 20 films and TV productions in the past 30 years, von Trier has become a distinguished figure in European culture, without being limited to cinema. “All of Lars von Trier's films are visually incredibly strong. He is a fantastic image maker and has, as such, had a major impact on many artists,” notes Bonifacini.

The Sonning Prize was founded by author and editor CJ Sonning (1879-1937) and will be awarded on his birthday, 19 April, in the Ceremonial Hall at the University of Copenhagen. It’s worth noting that another film director, Austrian Michael Haneke, picked up the prize back in 2014 (see the news).

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