Lübeck, Oct. 11, 2019. “The Children’s and Youth films at the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck display are marked by the topicality of their subject matter. Serious topics have been made into innovative and entertaining movies, both in the live-action and in the animated films for young people”, says Franziska Kremser-Klinkertz, the section curator. This year’s programme comprises a total of 37 films, 18 features and 19 short films. As in every year, the section includes numerous premieres, underscoring the NFL’s great significance as a forum for Nordic and Baltic films for the international children’s and youth film industry.
In addition to several German premieres, two films this year are marking their international premieres. The children’s film “Gooseboy” (dir: Michael Wikke, Steen Rasmussen, DEN/HUN, 2019) is about gaming nerd Viggo, who loses sight of the real world in the midst of his digital obsession. But when he finds an injured, talking gander who’s lost the ability to fly, the two take off to find the bird’s family. It’s a modern-day ‘adventures of Nils’ with a first-rate cast, even in the smaller roles, that includes Ulrich Thomsen and Nicolas Bro. Also celebrating its first outing on the international screen will be the young adults’ film “Diva of Finland” (FIN/NOR, 2019). In her debut film, director Maria Veijalainen depicts the escalating rivalry between two best enemies forever, who are both determined to become pop stars. Jealousy erupts in drama until both girls realize –Life is not a reality show.
This year, many of the section’s films for young people tackle the day-to-day digital reality of that age group, and cast a critical eye on the phenomenon of social media fame and the darker sides of the digital world. One example is Sergey Vailiev’s film “PewPewPew” (SWE, 2019), which posits a mysterious fictional virus gripping teenagers; it exaggerates the idea of how the young people present themselves online. The director will be in Lübeck to introduce the film. The short film “Get Ready With Me” (dir: Jonatan Etzler, SWE, 2019) is a psychological thriller dealing with the problems of social media. In many of the programme’s films, the virtual world is set against the real world of natural events. In “Taiki” (HOL/SWE, 2018), an avid, nine-year-old video gamer from Holland is forced to navigate the analogue natural world during a family holiday in Sweden. Both director Mirjam de With and cinematographer Gerko Jonker will be in Lübeck for the film’s German premiere.
Finland’s entry for the foreign language Oscar “Stupid Young Heart” (FIN/HOL/SWE, 2018) is an excellent example of the many political films for young people at the NFL. When his girlfriend gets pregnant, 15-year-old Lenni joins a martial arts group of right-wing extremists to boost his self-confidence. The director combines his rigorous observation teen parents in a Helsinki flashpoint milieu with a warning about radical right-wing groups. In the short “2nd Class” (SWE, 2018) by Jimmy Olsson, a young teacher is beaten by a right-wing thug. She provides the man’s son, who is in her class at school, with some healing tutoring. Victor Lindgren’s narrative feature “The Unpromised Land” (SWE, 2019) takes on the story of Sabina, a 17-year-old Roma. She and her brothers have immigrated to Sweden from Romania; Sabina and the young Swede Elin form an alliance against all the annoying things in life. Migration is also the subject of the short film “Jamila” (dir: Sophie Vuković, SWE, 2019). When her family’s application for asylum is rejected, the eponymous protagonist suddenly sees police everywhere. American director Tomas Vengris’ feature debut, “Motherland” (LIT/LAT/GER/GRE, 2019) will celebrate its European premiere at the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck. It’s the story of Viktorija, an émigré in the USA who returns to her now-independent homeland twenty years after leaving Soviet Lithuania. Recently divorced, the mother of 12-year-old Kovas wants to reclaim her family’s former property. But it turns out to be occupied. Told entirely from the perspective of Kovas, “Motherland” gradually reveals the psychogram of a young boy in a country that is foreign to him, and where his mother becomes more and more foreign to him.
In addition to exciting films from the Nordic country, the Baltic region also shines this year with a diverse range of high-quality films for young audiences. Director Anu Aun will be a guest in Lübeck to present her film “Phantom Owl Forest” (EST, 2018). Eia is spending Christmas with relatives in a forested region under threat from developers. It’s a family film that combines a cosy Christmas story with a message about environmental protection. “Bille” (LAT/LIT/CZE, 2018), directed by Inara Kolmane, who will also be in Lübeck, tells the story of a childhood full of deprivation in Riga in the 1930s, based on the semi-autobiographical works of Latvian Nobel prize nominee Vizma Belševica. “Away” (dir: Gints Zilbalodis, LAT, 2019) is a fantasy adventure story with no dialogue, in which a young boy fleeing a giant discovers magical landscapes and a fabulous world of animals.
The section’s short films have been grouped into separate programmes designed for specific age groups. “Shorts for Shorties” features films for children from four to eight years old. Two additional short film programmes present an exciting and informative selection for children from the age of 12 and 14, respectively. The wide-ranging selection of films in the Children’s and Youth film section is in the running for two prizes. The Children’s Jury is made up of four young people from Lübeck who decide on the winner of the prize for best children’s film in the category up to 12 year, endowed by the Radisson Blu Senator Hotel. The recipient of the Children’s and Youth Film Prize of the Gemeinnützigen Sparkassenstiftung zu Lübeck (regional savings bank foundation) is chosen from among all features in the section. This year the three-person jury is made up of the director of the FBW (German film and media consulting), Bettina Buchler; screenwriter, director, and producer of animated films, Reza Memari (“A Stork’s Journey”); and young actress Lea Zoë Voss (“Die Pfefferkörner”, “Druck” – nominated for the Grimme prize – and “Das Wichtigste im Leben”).
On Wednesday and Friday morning (Oct. 30 + Nov. 1, 2019), the Kolosseum cinema (Kronsforder Allee 25) and the CineStar Lübeck – Das Filmhaus (Königstrasse 38-40) will open their doors for screenings for school classes up to 12 years of age. The programme will show selected films from the Children’s and Youth film section that provide a starting point for classroom discussions. The brochure (in German) is available for download at: https://nordische-filmtage.de/files/2019_Anlagen/Schulkino2019_61NordFilmtageLuebeck.pdf. Reservations for school screenings can be made until Oct. 23, 2019 by e-mail to Karolina Frackowski (email@example.com).
A press conference to announce the complete programme for the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck will be held on October 17, 2019. Following the press conference, the entire programme will be available online, as well as press photos for download. Advance ticket sales begin on Oct. 26, 2019. Festival prizes will be awarded on Nov. 2, 2019. All details and information about the festival can be found online at https://nordische-filmtage.de/en/index.html. Up-to-date news is also available at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram/nordicfilmdays.
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