MARSTRAND (Sweden) • A front-line Swedish nurse is getting some Covid-19 downtime with a week of private screenings of the Gothenburg film festival, in a former lighthouse off the country's west coast.
More than 12,000 candidates from 45 countries applied to watch the festival's films in almost near isolation on an island 400km from Stockholm.
The prize is a week viewing as many of the festival's 70 premieres as they like in a hotel in the former Pater Noster Lighthouse. But they will be in isolation and will have no access to their own computers.
The bright-red lighthouse, built on a tiny island off Sweden's west coast in 1868, can be reached only by boat or helicopter, depending on the weather.
After a series of interviews and tests, festival organisers chose emergency nurse and film buff Lisa Enroth for the prize, in keeping with the 2021 festival's theme, Social Distances.
"It has been hectic, so it's a nice opportunity just to be able to land and to reflect over the year," Ms Enroth said.
Sweden, which has taken a light-touch approach to the pandemic, has been facing a stronger than expected second wave of the virus. More than 11,500 people have died of Covid-19 across the country.
The organisers said they were surprised by the number of applicants but were confident they had chosen the right candidate - not just for her love of cinema.
"She has also dedicated this past year on the front line against the Covid-19 pandemic," the festival's creative director Jonas Holmberg said. "That's also one of the reasons we chose her".
A screen has been set up in the lantern room at the top of the windswept island's lighthouse, offering a 360-degree view of the sea and coastline around. Another wide screen has been set up in one of the island's buildings.
Ms Enroth will also have a tablet and headphones if she wants to watch films elsewhere on the island, which measures just 250m by 150m.
With only one other person staying permanently on the island - a safety precaution - Ms Enroth's only contact with the outside world will be through her video diary about the films she has viewed.
The festival's films will be shown online and two venues in Gothenburg itself will allow screenings for just one person at a time.
Mr Holmberg said he hoped events like these would maintain interest in the industry at a time when many screens are closed because of pandemic restrictions.
"We are longing so much to come back to the cinemas and in the meantime we have to be creative and do the things that we can to create discussion," he said.