Different perspectives: People in crisis situations and fascinating portraits are the core of the documentary film section

Lübeck, Oct. 25, 2016. - Every day, politics, society and the social media are shaped by violence, war and flight.  Experiences and images from war-torn and crisis regions in Europe and elsewhere are also fodder for documentarians.  In contrast to the daily media flood, the films presented in the documentary section of the 58th Nordic Film Days Lübeck take a closer, longer, more detailed look, showcasing personal stories and giving their protagonists a face and a voice.

In “Those Who Jump”, the film work places the violence in context, and the consequences of war become particularly haunting and alive. When directors Moritz Siebert and Estephan Wagner began work on the film about refugees at the border fence in the Spanish exclave of Melilla, they felt it essential that the film unconditionally take the perspective of its protagonists and not be just a report “about” them. They gave a camera to Malian refugee Abou Bakar Sidibé, who became the film’s protagonist and, in the end, its co-director. The three filmmakers will talk about how that unusual form of cinematic cooperation came about, both to a Lübeck audience and in a “documentary master class”.

George Kurian used a similar approach; in Egypt, he met a group of Syrians who were all friends and entrusted them with a camera to film "The Crossing” to Italy in an overcrowded boat. To get to Europe from North Africa, you have to cross the Mediterranean; sometimes it’s the Indian Ocean that presents the danger.  On the Comoros Islands, between Mozambique and Madagascar, the locals build small, fragile boats of fibreglass, called “Kwassa Kwassa” to fish and to bring people to Europe; one of the four main islands, Mayotte, is a French territory. A poetic narration and lingering shots from above onto the open sea allow the audience’s thoughts to wander, as if on their own, to the dangers of such crossings. 

In "Close Relations”, Vitaly Mansky portrays the ways in which violent conflicts in Europe can affect people’s lives, using the example of his own family in Ukraine. For a year, he followed relatives in Lviv and Odessa, the Crimea and the Donbass region, who found themselves on different sides of the barricades, telling their stories and searching for the roots of the conflict.

In addition to a focus on migration and the violence of war, the documentary programme also features fascinating portraits of unusual people. In “Arctic Superstar” we get a rare glimpse into an unusual crossroads of expression and lifestyle, as we meet young Sami Nils AKA SlinCraze, living in Norway’s far north and living for Hip Hop. From Estonia comes "Out of Fashion” by Jaak Kilmi and Lennart Laberenz, about how young designer Reet develops a creative upcycling concept to counter the mainstream fashion industry, which lives from fast fashion, exploitation and environmental destruction.  Top chef René Redzepi revolutionised Nordic cuisine with his imaginative ideas, and we get an intimate portrait of the man in “Noma – My Perfect Storm”, directed by Pierre Deschamps. Despite the well-tempered hot springs, the Icelandic documentary "Hot Tub" is a refreshing dip, as we listen in to the country's ritual of chewing the fat in the titular vessel.  There's more to Iceland's culture than just hot springing – there’s also football, as impressively illustrated in Sævar Gudmundsson’s documentary "Inside a Volcano – The Rise of Icelandic Football”, which follows the national team through the qualifying rounds for the European Championships. A documentary about three people addicted to video games employs effective means to illustrate its point.  In “I was a Winner” by Swedish director Jonas Odell, we see the computer-animated characters and spaces that hold the addicts in their thrall. A thrilling story of life and success is on view in Benjamin Ree’s “Magnus” about the Swedish chess wunderkind Magnus Carlsen, who is facing a nerve-wracking duel for his first world champion title.

This year’s documentary programme is clear evidence that it is actually individuals who produce effects, get things started and achieve the extraordinary amid everyday life – be it in art, fashion, gastronomy or sport.  In addition, we will meet up again with two masters of the genre, who are represented in both the Retrospective and the documentary programme -  Jon Bang Carlsen gives us “Déjà Vu”, while Juoko Aaltonen takes us to “Temples of Dreams”.

In addition to the onscreen portrayals, and discussions with actors and directors, audiences will have a chance to mingle with people from various cultures while enjoying a delightful meal at Crisis Cuisine, from Thursday, Nov. 3 through Saturday, Nov. 5, from 12 noon to 5 pm at the Altstadtbad Krähenteich, Lübeck.

The complete schedule and film details for the Nordic Film Days is online at www.filmtage.luebeck.de, advance ticket sales for the 58th festival start on October 29, at 3 pm at the CineStar Filmpalast Stadthalle and online on the NFL website and at www.cinestar.de

Press contact:

Silke Lehmann
Wiebke Reichenbach
Zara Zerbe
Press and publicity department
Nordic Film Days Lübeck
Schildstr. 12, 23539 Lübeck, Germany
Tel: +49 451 122 1455