Lübeck, Sept. 2, 2019.
In a first press conference at the Radisson Blu Senator Hotel, the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck offered a look at the upcoming festival programme. Festival heads Linde Fröhlich (Artistic Director)and Florian Vollmers (Managing Director)took to the podium to introduce this year’s NFL, alongside Lübeck’s Culture Senator Kathrin Weiher, and festival curators Jörg Schöning (Retrospective) Franziska Kremser-Klinkertz (Children and Youth films) and Ralph Heinsohn (360° films/immersive media). Also on the dais were new members of the NFL team Lilli Hartwig (FilmForum curator) and Gabriele Gillner (head of marketing & sponsoring). Running from the 29th of October to November 3, 2019, the NFL focusses on new films from the Nordic and Baltic countries, as well as northern Germany (Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg), the only festival on the European continent to put the spotlight on that region.
This year’s Retrospective, titled Undercover North/Northeast. Spies and Secret Agents in Scandinavian and Baltic Films promises plenty of thrills and a few laughs. The section will screen films made between 1913 and 2012 in Denmark, Germany, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and in the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. In addition to thrillers, the Retrospective will also show comedies, dramas, satires, and period films. Amazingly for their time, many of them feature women at the centre – as active secret agents, while early silents such as “Sealed Orders” (Denmark, 1914) hark back to the international “spy fever” before World War I. The section will open with “Two Lives”, the German-Norwegian drama of intrigue and concealment starring Juliane Köhler and Liv Ullmann. In cooperation with the Danish association of film composers (DFMC), agents and spies from the Retrospective programme will appear holographically at various spots around Lübeck’s old town, accompanied by newly-composed film music, guaranteeing a very special festival experience.
“Water” is the motif for the 2019 Immersive Media section, with 360° and virtual reality films. They will be shown in a mobile Fulldome tent which this year has a significantly greater audience capacity, with 120 places. That larger “Infinity Dome” will be erected in central Lübeck at Klingenberg square. The first two confirmed films in the section are 2019’s “The Embrace of the Ocean”, a 360° film made by Finns Hannes Vartiainen and Pekka Veikkolainen, and “Kaluoka’Hina – the Enchanted Reef” (dir: Peter Popp), an underwater adventure for young and old. Also new this year, each morning, the Dome will become a “Globe of Knowledge”. In cooperation with Lübeck’s municipal Department 4, education and culture, there will be free admittance to the Dome for a varied science programme for festival visitors and the general public. The presentations will address subjects such as “Fridays for Future” or water in outer space. The new Dome was made possible with funding from the Possehl Foundation, and a bigger commitment from the festival’s long-term partner, the Lübeck public utilities company (Stadtwerk).
Festival manager Florian Vollmers announced that this year’s NFL is on solid financial footing thanks to the support of the main sponsors and partners. In addition to the festival host, the city of Lübeck, many other partners provide decisive financial support. The festival’s primary patron, the Possehl Foundation, is onboard again this year, ensuring that the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck can once again present its usual diverse and high-quality programme. The Gemeinnützige Sparkassenstiftung (regional savings bank foundation) of Lübeck, which has endowed the Children’s and Youth prize since 2008, has significantly increased its financial support this year, making it one of the festival’s main sponsors. “Film as an art form plays a key role in the everyday life of many people. Year for year, the Nordische Filmtage festival mounts a programme that surprises us, sometimes challenges us and, at the same time, transports us to the filmmaking world, thus skilfully distinguishing itself from the modern-day streaming platforms. We have the opportunity to experience foreign films in their original language and we are amazed at how much we understand anyway. We wait eagerly for the complete programme to appear in the Lübecker Nachrichten newspaper, and stand in anticipation at the ticket counter waiting for the film event to begin. There is no question that the Nordische Filmtage Days Lübeck are a treasure that we have to work together to preserve”, said the chairman of the board of the foundation, Frank Schumacher, in a statement.
There are also new developments in the festival awards. For many years, the documentary film prize awarded by the Lübeck branch of the Federation of German Trade Unions (DGB) has been an integral part of the NFL. The award has now been re-named the “Documentary Film Prize of the DGB District North” and the endowment has been doubled. “Since 1991, the trade unions have been active supporters of the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck in varying constellations by endowing the documentary film prize. This year, the DGB District North has taken over the film prize, doubled the endowment to 5,000 euros, and raised the award’s profile to an international level. We want to encourage directors to grapple innovatively with changes in our society, and to engage on a social and political level. This is a continuation of the long tradition of the unions’ commitment to the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck. The DGB North also facilitates cooperation in the northern area. We maintain close contact with trade unions all over the Baltic region. The Baltic Sea Trade Union Network (BASTUN) is a regular exchange of ideas and information with representatives of 22 unions from across the Baltic region”, says Uwe Polkaehn, president of DGB District North. Nine prizes are awarded at the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck with a total endowment of 52,500 euros.
“For many years, the NFL has put great value on fostering young talent”, says Franziska Kremser-Klinkertz, curator of the Children’s and Youth section. For instance, this will mark the sixth year of the project “Young Nordic Filmmakers”, a cooperative venture with German and international partners, including the non-profit German Federation of Film Clubs for Children and Young People (BJF). The thematic focus “Europe” is new in 2019 and, for the first time, will be implemented with the support of the EU Erasmus+: Youth in Action programme. A total of 20 young adults from four countries (D, SF, N, DK) will spend a week in workshops making their own short documentary and narrative films, which will be shown in the autumn in Lübeck, and in Norway’s Tromsø in the spring of 2020. With the financial support of the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO), an additional project for young adults will be launched this year. It is mounted by the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck in cooperation with the city’s college of music and art, and the French International Festival du Film in La Rochelle, Lübeck’s partner city. The project is dedicated to film music. Eight young music enthusiasts from Germany and five from France met up in July during the La Rochelle festival and collaborated on writing the music for two Nordic short films. The focus of the workshop was working together to compose accompanying music for a silent film. The resulting compositions will be performed during the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck, with the French participants in attendance. And with the support of the GEMEINNÜTZIGE, the Young Festival Bloggers will be on the move again this year, learning the basic of journalism during the NFL. In addition, four local children will be chosen to make up the NFL’s youngest jury, which awards the Children’s Jury Prize endowed by Lübeck’s Radisson Blu Senator Hotel. The extensive school cinema programme of the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck is funded by the Margot and Jürgen Wessel Foundation.
The festival thanks all the many sponsors and partners, and funding and endowment entities. They include, in addition to the Possehl Foundation and the Gemeinnützigen Sparkassenstiftung zu Lübeck, the main sponsors Radisson Blu Senator Hotel Lübeck, which endows the Children’s Jury prize, the CineStar Group, which funds the CineStar Prize for best short film in the FilmForum section, and the Schleswig-Holstein's ministry of science, culture, and education. Other supporters and sponsors of the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck are the public utilities company, LYNET Kommunikation AG, AVIS car rentals, Lübeck, STAWAG AG, the CITTI Group, Friends of the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck, which also endows the prize for best narrative film debut, and the Margot and Jürgen Wessel Foundation as patrons and sponsors of the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck. In addition to the documentary prize sponsored by the DGB District North, additional prizes are endowed by the Protestant-Lutheran Church District of Lübeck-Lauenburg for the Interfilm Church Prize, as well as Baltic Films for the Baltic Film Prize.
For many years now, the NFL media partners have been the broadcaster NDR and the Lübecker Nachrichten newspaper, which endow the NDR Film Prize and the Audience prize respectively. This year, too, they will be profiling the festival, the films, and the guests with extensive coverage. The cinemas and venues that are already under lock and key include the CineStar Filmpalast Stadthalle, the Kolosseum, the Kommunale Kino Lübeck, the CineStar Filmhaus, and Schuppen 6 on Untertrave.
Up-to-date news about the festival can be found at www.nordische-filmtage.de, and on Facebook and Twitter.com/NordicFilmDays. Applications for accreditation at the NFL will be accepted throughout September. A press conference to announce the complete programme for the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck will be held on October 17, 2019.