Film festivals June 2015

Where can you catch Scandinavian films at festivals this month? Here’s our guide to finding films near you:

Sheffield Documentary Film Festival (UK)

  • Drone (NOR): For Drone Schei, who in Independent Intervention (2006) examined American media’s coverage of the war in Iraq, filmed victims of US drone attacks in Waziristan (Pakistan) as well as the young American pilots who control the killings from joysticks at the other end of the world. It has collected several prizes, including – in Berlin – the Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Documentary of the Year.
  • Good Girl (NOR): In what is labelled “a feelgood film on depression,” Melkeraaen describes how she herself falls into a heavy clinical depression. Electro-shock therapy helps, but when she suffers a second, she has to accept that being perfect is not an option.
  • I am Dublin (SWE): The film portrays Ahmed who plays a character whose life mirrors his own. He finds himself in limbo. The moment he arrived in Europe he became a so-called Dublin-case, meaning he was deprived of all his rights and deported from country to country. His fingerprint is what decides his future.
  • Those Who Said No (SWE): For the first time an International People’s Tribunal convenes in The Hague court of justice to investigate the mass executions of political prisoners in Iran during the 1980s. Iraj and Mehdi are two survivors who lead this fight for justice. Together with other survivors they testify against a crime that has been kept secret from the world for over 25 years.
  • Democrats (DEN): For the first time in Robert Mugabe’s four decades of tyranny, there is legitimate hope for a more representative political future in Zimbabwe. Douglas Mwonzora, the admirably passionate yet cool-headed legal advisor of the oppositional party, is engaged in a tortuous constitution-making process with the country’s leading political figures, including the ageing despot’s trusted yes-man Paul Mangwana.
  • The Circus Dynasty (DEN): Expectations are high when the son and daughter of two famous circus families fall in love. Benny Berdino, the owner of one of Europe’s biggest circus, has a dream. He hopes that his grandson, Patrick Berdino, and the award winning circus artist Merrylu Casselly will marry and one day carry on Circus Arena. But will the fickle flames of young romance threaten this perfect union?
  • The Look of Silence (DEN):Joshua Oppenheimer further explores the terrible legacy of the Indonesian genocide fifty years ago, this time through the lens of one family. Adi was born in 1968, two years after his brother Ramli was slaughtered in front of many eyewitnesses.
  • Leaving Africa (FIN):For over 25 years, best friends Riitta and Kata have been working together on a labour of love in Kampala, Uganda, where they live. Both are educator-activists, giving workshops on sexual health, gender equality, and family planning primarily in the rural areas. Now in her 60s, Riitta is just a few months away from retiring — and from leaving Kata as she returns to her native Finland.
  • 16 Years Till Summer (ICE): convicted criminal returns home to nurse his father, bringing a dangerous mix of troubled past and big ambition into the lives of those that love him. Set in a remote, church-going village in the Scottish Highlands, the film follows the redeeming relationships Uisdean builds with his father and lover – both drawn to the ‘new start’ Uisdean promises to bring.

Museum of Arts and Design New York (USA)

  • Songs from the Second Floor (SWE)

AFI Docs (USA)

  • Drone (NOR)

Los Angeles Film Festival (USA)

  • Maiko – Dancing Child (NOR): Maiko means dancing child in Japanese: her mother sold their home to send the 14-year-old girl to the most prestigious dancing schools in Europe. Now she is 32, and prima ballerina with the Norwegian National Ballet – but competition is getting tough, and she has decided to start a family of her own.

Moscow International Film Festival (Russia)

  • Rosita (DEN): Johannes lives together with his father, the middle-aged widower Ulrik in a small fishing town in the northern part of Denmark. They live a quiet routine life, each minding their separate jobs in the fishing industry. Ulrik misses the love and tenderness of a woman and arranges for the young, beautiful, Filipino Rosita to come to Denmark – just as many other men in the town have done before him. Johannes is reluctantly drawn into this as Ulrik’s translator. However, over the following weeks Johannes and Rosita are getting more and more attracted to each other which forces Johannes to take responsibility for his dreams and his future.
  • The Visit (DEN): Ever since the invention of radio and television, humans have been sending signals into outer space, announcing their existence to other civilizations. “The Visit” documents an event that has never taken place: humans’ first encounter with intelligent life from another world. Through tantalizing interviews with experts from NASA, United Nations, and the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, among many others, acclaimed Danish filmmaker Michael Madsen constructs a chillingly believable scenario of first contact on Earth, beginning with the simplest of questions: Why are you here?
  • Armi Alive! (FIN): Armi Ratia is the woman behind the legendary design company Marimekko and a worldwide celebrity. A theatre company has taken on the task of trying to portray the life and work of this complex person. The play focuses in Armi’s life between the years 1949 and 1968, when she founds the fashion company, leads it to an international success. The sets mainly consist of the well-known patterns that we all have grown to love. Armi is a brave, risk-taking businesswoman and her passion for her company repeatedly takes its toll on her employees, finances and family. The company grows while Armi’s personal life is shaken by suicide attempts and turbulence.

Edinburgh International Film Festival (UK)

  • Out of Nature (NOR): Living in a small Norwegian town, a family father in his 30s is bored with his job, has a problematic relationship with himself and is distant from his wife and son. He longs to get away – and spends a weekend on a hiking trip into the mountains, confronting the way he lives his life. The film won the Europa Cinemas Label at this year’s Berlinale.
  • Agnes (SWE)
  • The Circle (SWE): Following the mysterious death of the school outsider, six teenage girls discover they have acquired supernatural powers as part of an ancient prophecy. Can these young witches come together to save the world from predatory demons? Adapted from the Swedish young adult series, the Engelsfors trilogy, this dark fantasy film is perfect for fans of The Hunger Gamesand Twilight.
  • Shadowland (SWE)
  • The Newsroom: Off the Record (DEN): A fascinating insight into the realities of modern-day tabloid journalism. The paper could be any from around the world, but in this case is Denmark’s Ekstra Bladet, which battles against declining sales and advertising, and criticism of its editorial style. Editor-in-chief Poul Madsen allows full access as the paper goes through redundancies, the launch of its online edition and criticism of its coverage of the Danish hostage crisis in Somalia that ended in 2013. An enthralling and entertaining documentary.


Filmfest München (Germany)

  • Here is Harold (NOR): When IKEA opens a vast superstore next door, Harold and Marny are forced to close Lunde Furniture, which they have been successfully running for more than 40 years. They also lose their home – and Marny loses her memory. Harold decides to take revenge, by kidnapping his nemesis, IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad. Armed with a pistol, he sets off for Almhult, Sweden, in his old Saab.
  • Daughter (NOR): A brave story about womens fight for freedom and independence in Pakistan. It tells the story about a woman who flees with her daughter from her family, and start on a dangerous journey.
  • The Ceremony (SWE): France’s most famousdominatrix, two close friends and two lovers share their innermost thoughtsabout love, friendship, dominance and submission – as we meet the unusual andfascinating author Catherine Robbe-Grillet and her inner circle.
  • Fassbinder: To Love Without Diamonds (DEN):
  • Key House Mirror (DEN): Lily and Max have been married for more than 50 years. Now they live together in a nursing home, where Max has been reliant on professional care since his stroke. Lily has been putting her own needs aside and is desperately longing for excitement and intimacy in her life. When a man known as “the Pilot” moves in next door, Lily is immediately charmed by him and his passion for life. But neither her family nor the other residents at the nursing home are fond of her new acquaintance.Misunderstood by her family and trapped in her life with Max, Lily decides to fight to escape the bars of her invisible prison and claim her freedom.
  • Louder Than Bombs (NOR): Three years after her unexpected death, the preparation of an exhibition celebrating the famous war photographer Laura Freed brings her husband and their two sons together for the first time in years. When an unsettling secret resurfaces, the three men are forced to look at each other and themselves in a new light, redefining their innermost needs and desires.
  • Men and Chicken (DEN): This black comedy revolves around two weirdo brothers, Elias and Gabriel. Upon their father’s passing, the two brothers, who are not at all fond of each other, discover in their father’s videotaped will that they are adopted. Despite their disagreements, Elias and Gabriel decide to seek out their natural father and set out for the island where he lives. A most unusual surprise awaits them there. Surrounded by the island’s many oddball inhabitants, Elias and Gabriel discover a paralysing, yet liberating truth about themselves and their family.
  • Silent Heart (SWE): Three generations of a family gather over a weekend. The two sisters Sanne and Heidi have accepted their terminally ill mother’s desire to die before her disease worsens. However, as the weekend progresses, their mother’s decision becomes harder and harder to deal with, and old conflicts resurface.

Shanghai International Film Festival (China)

  • Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words (SWE): Accessing Ingrid Bergman’s diaries and her own private footage, this film gives an inside perspective of one of our most distinguished actors and a woman who always chose her own path. Released in 2015, it marks the centenary of her birth.

Nordic festivals in June 2015




Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.

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