The Guldbagge Award. Photo: Johan Bergmark

Photo: Johan Bergmark

The Guldbagge Awards are Sweden’s leading film awards and have been presented since 1964 for outstanding contributions to Swedish film over the past year. In total around 500 Guldbagge Awards have been handed out over the years, and 18 Guldbagge Awards are now presented annually in the various categories.

Just six months after the Swedish Film Institute was founded, its CEO Harry Schein announced a competition to design a film award to be presented to those who had made a strong contribution during the year. Exactly which artists took part in the competition is still wrapped in mystery, but Karl-Axel Pehrson (1921-2005), one of Sweden’s most famous artists at the time, was commissioned to design a film award.

The awards are named after the Swedish word for the rose chafer beetle. “The rose chafer likes to fly in the summer sunshine. It shimmers much like a film strip as it flies by. Something about its behaviour and its way of living can be likened to that of film.” This is how artist Karl Axel Pehrson explained why he chose a rose chafer beetle as his inspiration when designing the award.

A Guldbagge Award weighs approximately 1.2 kg and its body is chased in copper which is then enamelled. Finally, real gold is added to give the Guldbagge its characteristic shimmer.

The first Guldbagge Awards were presented in 1964 and there were only three categories. They went to Ingmar Bergman – Best Director for The Silence (Tystnaden), Ingrid Thulin – Best Actress for her role in The Silence (Tystnaden) and Keve Hjelm – Best Actor for his role in Raven’s End (Kvarteret Korpen).