Nordic Film Days announces opening film and retrospective

Via press release:

Logo NFL 2015 D

Lübeck, Aug. 25, 2015. At today’s traditional summer press panel, Lübeck’s culture senator Kathrin Weiher, and Retrospective curator Jörg Schöning joined festival directors Linde Fröhlich (artistic director) and Christian Modersbach (managing director) to present the latest news from the 57th Nordic Film Days Lübeck. The Nordic Film Days are presented by the Hanseatic city of Lübeck. This year’s festival will run from November 4 – 8, 2015. It is the largest festival in Europe outside Scandinavia dedicated exclusively to films from Scandinavia, the Baltic States, and northern Germany.

Kathrin Weiher, seit Beginn des Jahres Senatorin für den Fachbereich Kultur und Bildung der Hansestadt Lübeck, ist voller Vorfreude auf die 57. Nordischen Filmtage Lübeck, wird es doch die erste Festivalausgabe ihrer Amtszeit – somit ein Festival voller Premieren im doppelten Sinn – sein: „Ich freue mich sehr auf die gemeinsame Zusammenarbeit mit den Nordischen Filmtagen und den Festivalleitern Linde Fröhlich und Christian Modersbach sowie dem gesamten Team. Die Filmtage sind nicht nur ein wichtiger kultureller Bestandteil der Hansestadt Lübeck, sondern verbinden Schleswig-Holstein in enger Partnerschaft mit den nordisch-baltischen Ländern und senden ein positives Signal an die vielen Besucher, die Lübeck zum Filmfestival bereisen werden.“

Kathrin Weiher, who took up the post of senator for culture and education for the city of Lübeck at the start of this year, said she is looking forward to the 57th Nordic Film Days Lübeck – as the first festival during her tenure, it will be one of premieres in two different senses. “I am very much looking forward to a collaboration with the Nordic Film Days and festival directors Linde Fröhlich and Christian Modersbach, as well as the whole team. The festival is not only an important element in the cultural life of Lübeck, it also links Schleswig-Holstein closely with the northern and Baltic countries and sends a positive signal to the many visitors who will travel to Lübeck for the film festival.”

Senator Weiher also expressed great delight that Linde Fröhlich will be the recipient of an honorary membership in Interfilm, to be bestowed on September 13, 2015 in St Marien church in Lübeck. The artistic director of the Nordic Film Days Lübeck will be honoured for 20 years of cooperation with Interfilm, and for her contribution to linking film culture to an ethical, aesthetic and Protestant perspective.

Linde Fröhlich announced the first high point of this year’s festival with the opening night film, “Rams” (Hrútar) by director Grímur Hákonarson, an Icelandic-Danish production that won the Un Certain Regard Prize at this year’s Cannes film festival. The NFL is pleased to welcome the Icelandic director and his two leads, Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson as guests at the NFL opening night celebration on November 4, 2015 in Lübeck (the film will be released in Germany in autumn 2015 by Arsenal Filmverleih).

“The Icelanders are powerful storytellers and Grímur Hákonarson’s “Rams” is the best example of this. The film is a human drama, filled with empathy for the protagonists, as well as odd situations and comic moments, all set in a spectacular landscape,” said Linde Fröhlich.

Curator and director of the Retrospective, Jörg Schöning, presented this year’s look back, dedicated to “Northern journeys. Travelogues & Road Movies”. Audiences will be “transported” back in time with a screening of the silent Swedish outdoor drama “The Strongest” (1929), shown with musical accompaniment in cooperation with the Lübeck Academy of Music under the direction of professor Franz Danksagmüller, as well as by maritime documentation by shipboard photographer Richard Fleischhut (1881 – 1951) and film treasures from the National Library of Norway. On top of that, selected road movies will take audiences on sometimes comic, sometimes melancholy, but always adventurous paths to far-flung locales in the Scandinavian film landscape. The series will include films by Ingmar Bergman, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, Mika and Aki Kaurismäki, as well as directors Karin Ottarssdóttir and Auli Mantila. The Retrospective will open with the world premiere of “Hit the Road Gunnar” by young director Nicolas Ehret.

The Retrospective will once again be complemented by the “Lübeck Film Studies Colloquium”. Lectures in English, seminars and panel discussions will be dedicated to current issues in contemporary cinema. The colloquium is organized in cooperation with the “Journal of Scandinavian Cinema” and is directed at (film) students and people interested in film history. The journal’s editor Anders Marklund, professor at Lund University, will be joined by other speakers. Participation in the Lübeck event is free of charge, with registration in advance requested.

The Nordic Film Days Lübeck have been involved in issues of youth and film for many years now, a sector that is particularly close to the heart of festival manager Christian Modersbach. Last year, the NFL launched the international project “Young Nordic Film Makers”, which will once again provide 16 young people (between 16 and 20) from Germany, Denmark, Finland and Norway with an opportunity to work together developing and shooting their first short documentary films. There will be a public screening of the resulting films on the last day of the festival, and they will also be shown later in the partner countries. The project is supported financially on the German side by the Studentenwerk (student union) Schleswig-Holstein at the University of Kiel, and the German Federation of Film Clubs for Children and Young People. The international partners include the Danish “Station Next” film school for young people, the “Nordic Youth Film Festival – NUFF”, founded by the Youth Culture Centre TVIBIT in Tromsø (Norway), and the Finnish “Oulu International Children’s and Youth Film Festival”.

Christian Modersbach said he was delighted at the first new programme highlights of the Film Days and expressed his gratitude to the current sponsors and funding entities, as well as partners and those endowing prizes, with particular mention going out to the main sponsors STAWAG, Lübeck public services partner, the Radisson Blu Senator Hotel and the CineStar group, as well as the supporters the Possehl Stiftung (foundation), the state of Schleswig-Holstein and the Friends of the Nordic Film Days Lübeck, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Financing for the 57th Nordic Film Days Lübeck was once again secured with the help of funding from EU Creative Europe MEDIA Programme and financial support from the main sponsors and partners.

Christian Modersbach: “Good work is worth it! The Film Days provide sponsors with a good platform to profile themselves and their message. Our solid financing is based on maintaining our long term partnerships, welcoming new partners, and acquiring public funding.” “

The sidebar programme for the 57th Nordic Film Days will once again include concerts and lectures, as well as “Total Recall”, where the public is invited to re-tell the story of a favourite film in their own personal way … but within the time limit. The best re-telling wins the “silberne Linde” (silver lime tree) prize.

The Nordic Film Days Lübeck can call on a long and active collaboration with its media partners, broadcaster NDR – Norddeutscher Rundfunk and the daily Lübecker Nachrichten, a cooperation that the festival is pleased to announce will continue this year. As a complement to the NFL, NDR will once again show it’s beloved “Scandinavian film series” on television.

Save the date: on October 13, 2015, there will be a press conference to announce the full programme of the 57th Nordic Film Days Lübeck. This year’s theatres and venues are the CineStar Filmpalast Stadthalle, the Kolosseum, the Kommunale Kino Lübeck and St Jakobi church.

Up to date information can be found at www.filmtage.luebeck.de, as well as on Facebook.com and Twitter.com/NordicFilmDays. Applications for accreditation will be accepted throughout September.

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.