Nordic films screening at the International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg 2018

About the festival

The International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg is one of the oldest film festivals in Germany and specialises in featuring new filmmakers. It takes place from the 15th-25th of November.


The Distant Barking of Dogs
Directed by Simon Lereng Wilmont

The Distant Barking of Dogs is set in Eastern Ukraine on the frontline of the war. The film follows the life of 10-year-old Ukrainian boy Oleg throughout a year, witnessing the gradual erosion of his innocence beneath the pressures of war. Oleg lives with his beloved grandmother, Alexandra, in the small village of Hnutove. Having no other place to go, Oleg and Alexandra stay and watch as others leave the village. Life becomes increasingly difficult with each passing day, and the war offers no end in sight. In this now half-deserted village where Oleg and Alexandra are the only true constants in each other’s lives, the film shows just how fragile, but crucial, close relationships are for survival. Through Oleg’s perspective, the film examines what it means to grow up in a war zone. It portrays how a child’s universal struggle to discover what the world is about grows interlaced with all the dangers and challenges the war presents.


East of Sweden
Directed by Simo Halinen

The lives of three troubled people are connected by accident when they are faced with moral questions.

Eastern Memories
Directed by Simo Halinen

A journey through Mongolia, Japan, China and South Korea, narrated by the journals of Finnish linguist, diplomat and journeyman G.J. Ramstedt (1873-1950).

The Violin Player
Directed by Paavo Westerberg

A love story about ambition, giving up and reaching the dreams.


And Breathe Normally
Directed by Isold Uggadottir

Two women’s lives will intersect while trapped in circumstances unforeseen. Between a struggling Icelandic mother and an asylum seeker from Guinea-Bissau, a delicate bond will form as both strategise to get their lives back on track.

Read our interview with Isold Uggadottir


Directed by Gabriela Pichler

A sleepy Swedish province hopes to lure a discount store chain by hiring a pompous commercial director to document their town’s worthiness, but two bright, brash high school girls from immigrant families use their cellphones and selfie sticks to tell the real story.

Read our review


Giants and the Morning After
Directed by Per Eriksson

At the beginning of time, giants created the mountains and deep forests that surround the small town of Ydre. Sweden’s smallest municipality is surrounded by lakes, fog and towering spruce trees, and has a population of just a few thousands which is carefully monitored by the town’s friendly and idealistic mayor. Depopulation and the many problems of the great outside world are becoming an increasingly present threat, so the mayor is ready with gifts and big smiles every time a child is born and he can carefully note that Ydre has a new inhabitant. In the meantime, youths and elderly people are working and living their lives. Creation myths, fables and everyday realism are mixed with understated comedy in an atmospheric and almost miraculously ubiquitous fresco of a film. Evocative and elegant.




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.