It’s not often that animators receive recognition from governments for their artistry, but the country of Norway is honoring Torill Kove with one of the highest honors it can bestow upon an artist.
Kove, a native of Norway, is receiving the Anders Jahre Culture Prize at a ceremony in Oslo this evening. Although Kove, 58, has resided in Canada since 1982, the Prize is awarded to Norwegian or foreign individuals and institutions making outstanding contributions to Norway’s cultural life.
Kove’s contributions to Norway, Canada, and worldwide animation in general are becoming less of a secret with the passage of time. Her 2006 short, The Danish Poet, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short, while her 1999 professional directorial debut, My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts, and her most recent 2014 short, Me and My Moulton, hauled in Oscar nominations for their wistful autobiographical efforts.
That said, Kove, whose next film will be her first set in Montreal, wouldn’t mind if the Academy Awards aimed even higher.
“What I think would be really great would be if the academy’s taste in animation would branch out a bit,” Kove told The Globe and Mail earlier this February. “Here at the [NFB] and other places in the world, there are people that make beautiful animated films that are maybe a little more demanding of the audience. I think it would be wonderful if they would get some recognition and I’m sure that time will come.”
What makes her rise to the top especially remarkable is that Kove, who earned a degree in urban planning, didn’t watch much animation (or even consider animation as a career) until she was in her early-30s, when she discovered the National Film Board of Canada films during a stretch of unemployment. Upon discovering animation, she said to herself, “I want to do this.” I wanted to write, I wanted to draw, I wanted to be serious and funny, and with this art form I could do all three.”