The Filmforum at the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck – Stories of life and lively stories

Lübeck, Oct. 24, 2019. For more than 30 years now, the Filmforum has served as a platform for films from northern Germany at the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck. At this year’s 61st festival (Oct. 29 – Nov. 3, 2019), the section will present a total of 44 narrative, documentary, and short films. The selection includes some unusual documentaries and narratives from young, up-and-coming filmmakers, as well as new works by well-known directors to inspire audiences. Many of the films go in search of the past, tackle historical subjects, or family histories; but the range also encompasses a merry Christmas movie for the whole family.

“Filmmaking in northern Germany is very diverse and, again and again, provides exciting highlights and perspectives – and that is reflected in the programme. Every film finds the right form to give us a vantage point to look into the worlds the protagonists live in, to reveal the effects of past events, or even to give us a look into the future”, says the section’s curator, Lili Hartwig.

Two of the Filmforum’s narrative features this year also have a chance at winning the “Prize of the Friends of the NFL for Best First Feature”, an award introduced last year that is endowed with 7,500 euros. “Coup”, directed by Sven O. Hill, is based on a true story; with Rocko Schamoni playing a lawyer, it tells the story of little-known case of bank fraud in the 1980s. In her debut film, “Too Far Away”, Sarah Winkenstette tackles the subject of the loss of a sense of home. Twelve-year-old Ben moves with his family to a nearby large city when their village has to make way for a huge lignite mine. Tariq, Ben’s new classmate, is a refugee from Syria. Sarah Winkenstette links the two together by virtue of the fact that both have lost their homes and have to find their way in a new environment. The film will screen in Lübeck with audio description for the visually impaired.

Alongside the debuts, this year’s Filmforum once again showcases well-known directors who work primarily in northern Germany. Kathrin Gebbe celebrated her debut in Cannes in 2013, and this year, audiences in Lübeck will get to see her “Pelican Blood” about an adopted daughter who turns a family’s life upside down. With Nina Hoss shining in the lead role, the film had its premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival. Lars-Gunnar Lotz will be represented in the section with his detective thriller “The Last Snowy Days”. In the film version of the eponymous novel by Jan Costin Wagner, a fatal nexus of relationships brings together people who were originally not connected. Director André Erkau is also no stranger to Lübeck. His romantic Christmas comedy “Love Suddenly”, with Kostja Uhlmann, Kim Riedle, Johannes Allmayer, and Julia Hartmann in leading roles, will enjoy its world premiere at the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck. And director Christin Freitag from Grevesmühlen is on her way to an accomplished film career. Her documentary thesis film “Let the Bell Ring” takes a look behind the scenes of amateur boxing in California. The classic boxer’s heroic journey becomes an intimate generational portrait of first and last hopes, loneliness, family, and yearning.

The documentaries in the Filmforum tackle, among other things, historical figures, such as the little known pioneer of abstract painting, Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (“Beyond the Visible – Hilma af Klint”) or the eccentric hermit Ernst Otto Carl Grassmé (“Free State Midpoint”). Two films address the importance of agriculture to northern Germany – “On the Fault Line” and “Born for Korn”. Films that process history and global politics also play a large role in the Filmforum. “The Colonial Institute” reconstructs the Hamburg institute of that name, which later became the city's University, and which was founded in 1909 expressly to give colonialism a "scholarly" foundation, thus lending it credibility. And “Progress in the Valley of the People Who Don’t Know” walks the line between melancholy and absurdity in an essay film about Syrian asylum-seekers and former East German factory workers who share a sense of lost homeland. Meanwhile in the film diary “Homs Life”, 23-year-old Sulaiman Tadmory documents his life in the beleaguered Syrian city of Homs. Days become weeks; weeks become months. Food is scarce; his family is just a few hundred metres away, yet out of reach. With fear a constant companion, his haunting images show us the day-to-day life of people living in a war zone.

Interconnections, from small to large, is a recurring subject in the Filmforum movies. One example is “A Comic Pioneer Story”, the tale of the Dirks brothers from Heide in Holstein, who emigrated to the US as children in the 19th century and whose comics left their mark on popular culture. The documentary, directed by Martina Fluck, will celebrate its world premiere in Lübeck. In “The Hidden City”, the audience is taken on an expedition into a parallel world underneath a large European city, where dark tunnels, damp sewers, supply shafts, and ventilation systems constitute an infrastructure of essential services for modern society that goes virtually unnoticed by the world above. Meanwhile, the stunning imagery in the documentary “Olanda”, about mushroom harvesters in Romania, reveals what actually goes into the mushroom products on supermarket shelves.

The Filmforum is rounded out with a series of short film programmes, including one of documentary shorts. Those films look behind the scenes at specific places, such as a labour office in Ludwigslust, or the colourful goings-on at a miniature golf course near Bad Oldesloe. The short films are also eligible for the CineStar Prize, endowed with 5,000 euros. The prize is endowed by the CineStar Group and will be awarded on November 2, 2019 at the Prize Gala of the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck.

You can find the complete Filmforum programme here.

Press photos for the films, alongside information about the festival is available at, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram/nordicfilmdays. The screening schedule for the entire NFL, and additional details on the films are available now on the festival homepage. Advance ticket sales begin on October 26 at 3:00 pm at the CineStar Filmpalast Stadthalle cinema, online at the festival website, and at


Press and Publicity Department
Nordische Filmtage Lübeck
Schildstr. 12, 23539 Lübeck