Lübeck, Aug. 30, 2017. At the summer press conference for the Nordic Film Days Lübeck, festival directors Linde Fröhlich (artistic director) and Florian Vollmers, who took over as managing director on July 1st, provided a first glimpse at the upcoming
59th Film Days. To introduce the news and changes, they were joined at the podium by Lübeck’s culture senator Kathrin Weiher, the curator of the Retrospective Jörg Schöning, and Petra Kallies, provost of the Lübeck-Lauenburg church district.
After greeting the assembled guests, sponsors, partners, and press, Lübeck's culture senator Kathrin Weiher emphasized her personal commitment to the festival, and that of the city of Lübeck, which as the festival organizer, provides most of the funding for the Film Days.
Provost Petra Kallies had good news about the Church Prize, which has been awarded to an NFL competition film since 1996 by INTERFILM, the international network for the dialogue between the church and cinema, and which is endowed by the Lutheran Protestant church district Lübeck-Lauenburg. Beginning in 2017, the prize money will be raised to € 5,000 (previously € 2,500). The INTERFILM Church Prize is awarded to a narrative feature that “distinguishes itself with its artistic quality and expresses human behaviour or testimony that is in accordance with the Gospel, or sensitises audiences to spiritual, human or social issues and values". Provost Kallies had this to say about the decision of her church district and INTERFILM, “The subject of faith has always found expression in the arts as well. I’m glad that in addition to music and the visual arts, we are also becoming more involved with film. Especially in Scandinavian films, the great themes of life almost always play a major role, encouraging debate”.
For last year’s Retrospective, Scandinavians travelled to foreign lands, while this year the focus is on the impressions of people who have moved to the Nordic countries as we take a cinematic look “Through Foreign Eyes” at their new homelands. The series curator for many years, Jörg Schöning, pointed out that it was particularly second and third generation immigrants who used their own experiences to tackle the subject of migration and integration in the past and present onscreen. In keeping with that theme, the NFL will present the German premiere of “Citizen Schein” (Sweden, 2017; D: R: Maud Nycander, Kersti Grunditz Brennan, Jannike Åhlund), a documentary portrait of Harry Schein (1924 – 2006), who arrived in Sweden from Vienna as an unaccompanied refugee at the age of 14. Schein was a dazzling personality who left a decisive mark on the country’s culture and media.
Also during the press conference, Linde Fröhlich introduced an addition to the festival programme called “Lake (View) Cinema", two evenings of open-air screenings at the old town Krähenteich swimming pier. Whether it's a creepy thriller or a poetic documentary, the planned films "Tale of a Lake" (D: Marko Röhr, Kim Saarniluoto) and "Lake Bodom" (D: Taneli Mustonen) from Finland both centre on lakes. The films are part of this year’s festival emphasis as we celebrate the anniversary “100 Years of Finland”, with additional films and special events across the entire Film Days programme. The new Series festival section introduced last year will continue, showing among other TV series the comedic Norwegian series “Vikings” (Norsemen, D: R: Jon Iver Helgaker, Jonas Torgersen), a look at a village in the year 790 that must decide whether to engage in cultural boosterism, or instead give a wide berth to the feud between two brothers - Game of Thrones meets Monty Python. Thrills will be found in the Swedish series “Black Lake” (Svartsjön, D: David Berron, Jonathan Sjöberg), set in an isolated part of a ski resort plagued by mysterious incidents. Another element launched in 2016, the "360° Short Film Programme“ shown in a fulldome tent specially erected for the Film Days, will be continued this year, thanks to special partnerships and the financial support of the Lübeck public utilities company. The fulldome cinema can be experienced at a new venue this year, as it moves to Lübeck’s Klingenberg square. Both of the programme elements received enthusiastic responses from audiences. Linde Fröhlich said, “Finland is the land of 1,000 lakes and we want to honour that on the country's 100th anniversary with two films that - between magic and horror open up two very different “Lake Views".
As new managing director, Florian Vollmers was very taken with the first programme highlights and expressed pleasure that the financing for the 59th Nordic Film Days Lübeck has once again been secured with the help of funds from the EU Creative Europe MEDIA Programme and thanks to financial support from the main sponsors and partners. Vollmers expressed deep gratitude to the partners and sponsors attending the press conference, as well as all the additional financial contributors and prize sponsors. Special thanks go to the main sponsors, the CineStar group, the Radisson Blu Senator Hotel Lübeck, and STAWAG (partner of Lübeck’s public utilities); the main patron, the Lübeck Possehl foundation; and our partners, the Gemeinnützige Sparkassen-Stiftung (regional savings bank foundation), LYNET Kommunikation AG, Tallink Silja Line, AVIS car rental Lübeck, the CITTI group from Kiel, as well as the state of Schleswig-Holstein, and the Nordic Film Days Lübeck Friends Association. “For many years, the Nordic Film Days Lübeck has been backed by a broad battery of patrons and sponsors, ranging from the European Union to the state of Schleswig-Holstein and the Hanseatic city of Lübeck, from companies active across Germany to local businesses and foundations", Vollmers says, “that makes it possible for our festival to foster and cultivate a unique profile – which strengthens us for the future. We are very grateful for that”.
Nordic Film Days Lübeck also continues to enjoy their cooperation with the media partners who have been committed to the festival for many years – the broadcaster NDR – Norddeutscher Rundfunk, and the Lübecker Nachrichten (LN) daily newspaper. The public has always shown its appreciation for the reporting before and during the Film Days, as well as the beloved "Scandinavian Film Series" on NDR television, and a weekend magazine by LN highlighting festival programme and events.
NFL youth projects such as “Young Nordic Filmmakers” or “young festival bloggers” expose young people to practical experiences in both filmmaking and journalism. These will once again be supported by the partners NORDEN - the Nordic Council Culture Fund, the Schleswig-Holstein student union from Kiel’s Christian Albrecht University, the non-profit German Federation of Film Clubs for Children and Young People (BJF), and the German Centre for Youth and Children’s Films (KJF e.V.).
In the Film Forum section of films from northern Germany, we can look forward to films such as “Wild Heart” (Wildes Herz), the directorial debut of the much-loved actor Charly Hübner (Co-Director: Sebastian Schultz), who will be a guest at the NFL, and “My Brother Simpel” by Markus Goller, with young stars David Kross and Frederick Lau playing a pair of dissimilar brothers.
On October 11, 2017, there will be a press conference to announce the full programme of the 59th Nordic Film Days Lübeck. The cinemas and venues signed up so far this year include the CineStar Filmpalast Stadthalle as the main theatre, the Kolosseum, the Kommunale Kino Lübeck, das Filmhaus, and the open-air cinema at the lakeside Krähenteich municipal swimming hole. Additional venues to be announced.
Up-to-date news and information about the Film Days can be found at www.filmtage.luebeck.de, on Facebook and Twitter.com/NordicFilmDays. Applications for accreditation will be accepted throughout September.
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