Socialisation, Taking Stock, and Fascinating Lives – the Documentary programme for the 59th Nordic Film Days Lübeck.

Lübeck, Oct. 24, 2017. The Documentary section of the 59th Nordic Film Days Lübeck (Nov. 1 – 5, 2017) focuses on the subjects of socialisation and taking stock, as well as portraits of people who have experienced and achieved unusual things in art and in life. For the last 36 years, the jury for the Documentary Film Prize has been awarded by Lübeck’s trade unions to “a socially committed film”.  The award is endowed with 2,500 euros.

Many of the films centre on growing up, and the personal and social development of children and young people, but also on the hurdles that young people face. “House of a Dream” (Ühe unistuse maja / Haus der Träume ) by Ruti Murusalu takes us inside a ballet school and demonstrates how difficult the path to successful ballerina can be, while “What Young Men Do” (Barneraneren / Junge Täter) by Jon Haukeland follows the path to re-socialisation of a delinquent young man. Director Knutte Wester tackles the subject of the marginalisation of illegitimate children in Sweden at the start of the 20th century in “A Bastard Child” (Horungen / Hurenkind), and “69 Minutes of 86 Days” (69 minutter av 86 dager / 69 Minuten von 86 Tagen, dir: Egil Håskjold Larsen) shows a family’s flight from Syria to Sweden from the perspective of their three-year-old daughter. “The Wait” (Mon de kommer om natten? / Kommen sie heute Nacht?, dir: Emil Langballe) follows a young woman whose family is threatened with deportation. 

Also in keeping with the section’s focus are the films “Childhood” (Barndom / Kindheit) by Margreth Olin and “Becoming a Citizen” (Fra barn til borger / Vom Kind zum Bürger) by Janne Lindgren, both of which offer fascinating insight into how children learn – whether in kindergarten or in elementary school. Meanwhile director Selma Vilhunen looks at how a group of girls in Finland master jumping and dressage on their trusty wooden steeds in “Hobbyhorse Revolution”. “Once I Was a Dragonfly” (Kesäni sudenkorentona / Mein Sommer als Libelle, dir: Elli Toivoniemi), on the other hand, follows a boy, from childhood to young adult, whose passion lies with insects, particularly dragonflies.  Nine-year-old Ylva, by contrast, is following in an old family tradition by becoming one of the “Tongue Cutters” (Tungeskjærerne / Zungenschneider, dir: Solveig Melkeraaen).The young city girl travels to a fishing village in northern Norway, where children traditionally cut the tongues from the freshly caught cod, earning an impressive amount of money while they’re at it.

The Documentary films also tackle the subject of taking stock. They introduce people with unusual jobs or hobbies, people undergoing personal crises or social upheaval, people searching for something, or those who distinguish themselves with unusual achievements. Two of those films take us out on the high seas – “Sealers - One Last Hunt” (Ishavsblod - De siste selfangerne / Die letzten Robbenjäger) directed by Trude Berge Ottersen and Gry Elisabeth Mortensen, and “Dora - One of the Guys” (Dóra - ein af strákunum / Dóra – Eine von den Jungs, dir: Árni Gunnarsson). “What we Leave Behind” (Liebe Oma, guten Tag!, dir: Jurate Samulionyte, Vilma Samulionyte) follows two sisters as they try to find out what happened to their grandmother.

People dealing with difficult blows is an apt description of “After Inez” (Efter Inez / Nach Inez), in which director Karin Ekberg intimately documents a couple dealing with the loss of their unborn child in the 37th week of the pregnancy.  Director Sulev Keedus also takes on a tragic story in “War” (Sõda / Krieg), about a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after a deployment to Afghanistan. Sine Skibsholt’s documentary “Who We Were” (Dem vi var / Wer wir waren) takes us inside a family in an existential crisis in the wake of the husband’s stroke. People undergoing upheaval in their circumstances are the subject of “Butterfly City” (Drugelio miestas / Schmetterlingsstadt, dir: Olga Cernovaite), “Black Hole Mama” (dir: Heidi Piiroinen), and “Paradise Behind the Fence” (Lumi punasel lagedal / Schnee auf dem roten Hügel, dir: Aljona Surzikova), while “The Boiling Point” (Kiehumispiste / Siedepunkt, dir: Elina Hirvonen) documents the polarisation of Finland in the face of the refugee crisis. 

The Documentary programme also showcases portraits of people who have achieved unusual things in life and in art.“Amateurs in Space” by Max Kestner is about two Danes who plan to build a rocket out of materials from the DIY store and launch it into space.  “Big Time” by Kaspar Astrup Schröder is a portrait of Bjarke Ingels, one of the world’s most successful contemporary architects, and Natalie Johanna Halla’s film “Life in Four Elements” is a study of four people who have found “their” element in fire, water, earth, or air. In addition to the curious and tragic life story of the man with super strength, “Beyond Strength” (Reynir Sterki / Reynir, der Starkedir: Baldvin Z), “The Art of the Impossible” (Det umuliges kunst / Die Kunst des Unmöglichen, dir: Elsa Kvamme) is a portrait of Eugenio Barba and his revolutionary Odin Theater. And with “Citizen Schein”, the Film Days are also presenting a documentary about one of the most enigmatic figures in Sweden’s film history.  “He represented everything my father didn’t like”, said Ingmar Bergman’s son about Schein, “alcohol, cigarettes, loudness, and laughter”. Yet Bergman and the “intellectual playboy” were close friends. The film by Maud Nycander, Kersti Grunditz Brennan, and Jannike Åhlund uses archival material and interviews to reconstruct his turbulent life. The film will have its German premiere at Lübeck, as well as being the subject of the “Documentary Master Class”.

Many of the screenings will be followed by discussions with guests of the festival, who will be available for Q&A with audiences. Among those coming to Lübeck are Jannike Åhlund and Kersti Grunditz (“Citizen Schein”), Aljona Surzhikova (“Paradise Behind the Fence”), and Jon Haukeland (“What Young Men Do”). To whet your appetite, the Nordic Film Days Lübeck will release video messages made by festival guests, called "Director's Voices", at regular intervals on our social media channels. Among the contributors from the Documentary section are Janne Lindgren (“Becoming a Citizen”),  Árni Gunnarsson (“Dora – One of the Guys”), and Solveig Melkeraan (“Tongue Cutters”). 

The complete schedule and film details for the Nordic Film Days has been online at since October 21, advance ticket sales for the 59th festival start on October 28, at 3 pm at the CineStar Filmpalast Stadthalle and online on the NFL website and at

Highlights, news, and videos by NFL guests can be found on Facebook / Twitter / Press photos for festival films will be available online at: 

Press contact:

Silke Lehmann, Luisa Wellhausen, Svenja Knoke, Melissa Harms
Nordic Film Days Lübeck
Press and publicity department
Schildstr. 12, 23539 Lübeck
Tel: + 49 / (0) 451 / 122 1454
Fax: + 49 / (0) 451 / 122 1799