Focus on Children’s and Youth Films

19 september 2007 - The Nordic Film Days Lübeck are dedicating an extensive focus on Scandinavian children’s and youth films from 31st October to 4th November. Besides current cinema productions and a retrospective of classic children’s films there will also be a homage to Astrid Lindgren, who would have become 100 years old on 14th November.

“Before we look back on the great classics of Scandinavian cinema at the 50th anniversary of the Nordic Film Days Lübeck next year, we wanted to put great films for the little ones in the centre of attention this year”, says Linde Fröhlich, Artistic Director of the festival. “Scandinavian children’s and youth film culture is deemed one of the liveliest in the world.”

One of the highlights at this year’s youth film competition is “Skymaster, A Flying Family Fairytale” from Denmark. This brightly coloured wild fairytale tells of a boy who lives in a surreal fantasy world, and was directed by directing duo Michael Wikke and Steen Rasmussen, who were previously presented with the Prize of the children’s jury at the Nordic Film Days Lübeck in 2001 for “The Flying Granny”. In “Mystery of the Wolf” from Finland (director: Raimo O Niemi), a girl saves two wolf cubs from the huntsmen that are after them. The film attains a special atmosphere thanks to its intense embrace of nature. In his youth film “Leaps and Bounds”, “Elling” director Petter Næss picks up on the debate on the integration of immigrants: the film centres on two Kurdish brothers who seek refuge in Sweden.

“This year Scandinavian children’s and youth film once again lives up to its reputation in experimenting with new means of expression and, in doing so, touching on the sentiments of a younger audience while simultaneously possessing socio-political timeliness”, says Hauke Lange-Fuchs, member of the artistic direction of Nordic Film Days Lübeck. “And there is a noticeable increase in cooperation across the borders of the Nordic film countries.” E.g. Norwegian Petter Næss shot his film “Leaps and Bounds” in Sweden, and Hella Joof (“Oh Happy Day”) from Denmark also went to Sweden to make her feature film “Bitter Sweetheart”, a tragicomedy about the joys and hardships of puberty.

In cooperation with the Centre of Films for Children and Young People in Germany (KJF) the Nordic Film Days Lübeck are presenting a retrospective entitled “Highlights of Scandinavian Children’s and Youth Film”. It features classics such as Lasse Hallström’s “My Life as a Dog” (Sweden 1985) and Søren Kragh-Jacobsens “Shower of Gold” (Denmark 1987). “With this retrospective we want to call to mind those films that made Scandinavian children’s and youth film famous in the past decades”, says Horst Schäfer, long-standing head of the Centre of Films for Children and Young People, who made the selection of films.

A minor homage is also dedicated to Astrid Lindgren: the world-famous writer of children’s and youth literature, who always cooperated very intensely on the films made of her books, would have become 100 years old on 14th November. On the occasion of which the Nordic Film Days Lübeck are showing the German-Swedish co-production “Pippi Longstocking” from the year 1968 (director: Olle Hellbom) as well as “More About the Children of Noisy Village” from 1987 (director: Lasse Hallström). “Pippi Longstocking and The Children of Noisy Village are often the first characters that children discover the oeuvre of Astrid Lindgren with”, says Linde Fröhlich, Artistic Director of the Nordic Film Days Lübeck. Twenty years ago the film festival had dedicated an extensive retrospective to the author on occasion of her 80th birthday.

The focus on children’s and youth film is accompanied by an extensive supporting programme: school classes from Lübeck have the opportunity of attending the children’s and youth film programme in high numbers on Thursday and Friday mornings. Adolescents will review the films of the children’s and youth programme, gathering first experiences as reporters and film critics within the framework of the project “Young Journalists”. The prize of the children's jury and the Children's film prize of the Nordic Film Institutes will be presented on Sunday, 4th November.