The Programme of the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck – Big names and new discoveries in the Competition section

Lübeck, Oct. 17, 2019. Works by well-known directors and fascinating newcomers from the Scandinavian and Baltic countries will rendezvous at the 61st Nordische Filmtage Lübeck. The full festival programme, competing for prizes with a total endowment of 52,500 euros, was presented today at a press conference at the Radisson Blu Senator Hotel in Lübeck by festival directors Linde Fröhlich (artistic director) and Florian Vollmers (festival manager), joined on the dais by the curators of the various festival sections. On the six days from Oct. 29 to Nov. 3, there will be 283 screenings of a total of 196 films, providing a detailed and compelling look at the current state of filmmaking in the north and northeast of Europe.

A few interesting tendencies emerge. While the narrative film Competition is marked by strong debuts and mature later works, far-off regions come much more to the fore. Films from the Faroe Islands, Greenland, or Sápmi, the cultural region of the Sámi, are particularly present in this year’s programme. Also apparent in every section of the festival is a new way of looking at the natural world, and an increased awareness of our environment, while the spies romping through the Retrospective have managed to worm their way into other sections of the festival. Music also plays a major role in many of the films, with silent film concerts, and side-bar events like the one with the industry association of Nordic film composers. Norway, the guest of honour at this year’s Frankfurt book fair, is represented here on the literary front with film versions of books in the Competition and Series sections, as well as documentaries about Norwegian writers and other notables in the art and contemporary history scenes. The epicentre of the NFL is the Competition section, which this year comprises 18 narrative features. Nine of those already have a German distributor and will be released little by little after their showing at the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck.

“It’s proof of the high quality and the gratifying power of northern European cinema, and the esteem it enjoys here in Germany”, says Linde Fröhlich, Artistic Director of the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck, “The films in Competition this year deal with fateful emotions – love and betrayal, passion and obsession, sorrow and perfidy. They use classic storytelling techniques with great perfection, while at the same time introducing innovations with unusual imagery or by experimentally blurring the lines between style and genre. And they feature brilliant actors”.

Roy Andersson’s meditation “About Endlessness” (“Om det oändliga”), which recently won the directing prize at the Venice film festival, and Hans Petter Moland’s book adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” (“Ut å stjæle hester”), crowned with a Silver Bear at the Berlin film festival, are among the international highlights in Lübeck that will be joined by other masters of Nordic cinema. For instance, in “Master Cheng” (“Mestari Cheng”), Mika Kaurismäki serves up a cinematic delicacy, and in “The Birdcatcher’s Son” (“Fågelfångarens son”), Richard Hobert has directed an emotional family drama set in the Faroe Islands. Marius Holst, whose has won many awards in Lübeck, has set his absorbing, real-life political thriller in “Congo” (“Mordene i Kongo”), while Jesper W. Nielsen, also a Lübeck prize winner, depicts perfidy in the here and now in his psychological thriller “The Exception” (“Undtagelsen”). In the 56 mini-dramas that make up “Echo” (“Bergmál”), director Rúnar Rúnarsson assembles a fascinating mosaic of Icelandic society. In “The County” (“Héraðið”) Grímur Hákonarson, also represented in the Documentary section with “Little Moscow”, tells of a farming widow’s emancipating obstinacy, while Hlynur Pálmason’s “A White, White Day” (“Hvítur, hvítur dagur”) is about a widower who overcomes his sorrow by special means. The film’s lead actor Ingvar E. Sigurdsson (“Fantastic Beasts”) is expected as a guest in Lübeck.

In the best tradition of Ingmar Bergman, Estonia’s Martti Helde gives us “Scandinavian Silence” (Skandinaavia vaikus”). In “Dogs Don’t Wear Pants” (“Koirat eivät käytä housuja”), Finnish director J-P Valkeapää takes us on a journey to the depths of extreme passion, and in May el-Toukhy’s “Queen of Hearts” (“Dronningen”), Denmark’s star actress Trine Dyrholm plays a woman who enters into a fatal affair. Meanwhile “The Spy” (“Spionen”), loosely based on the life of Norwegian actress Sonja Wiegert, is a woman caught between different men and opposing political interests. Under the direction of Jens Jonsson, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal shines in the title role, alongside Sweden’s Rolf Lassgård, and German Alexander Scheer, who gives an impressive performance as real-life Nazi Reich Commissioner Josef Terboven.

The Competition section is rounded out by four narrative film debuts not to be overlooked. Karolis Kaupinis takes his first bow with the historical satire “Nova Lituania”, while Ulaa Salim’s provocative political thriller “Sons of Denmark” (“Danmarks sønner”) is set in the near future. Directed by Mila Tervo, Finnish party girl “Aurora” is looking for a wife for an Iranian refugee, but above all, on the search for her real self. And in “Wind” (“Anori”) singer Nukâka Coster-Waldau plays a young woman in Greenland wavering between modern life and ancient myths. Director Pipaluk Kreutzmann Jørgensen is the first woman from Greenland to direct a narrative feature.

Lübeck audiences are already familiar with the films of directing duo Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein. But with “Swoon” (“Eld och Lågor”), the two Swedes will be guests in Lübeck for the first time, here to open the NFL festivities on October 29, 2019 at 7 pm at the CineStar Filmpalast Stadthalle.

The festival is presented by the Hanseatic city of Lübeck and has long been a strong mainstay of Schleswig-Holstein’s event calendar and a special treat for fans of Nordic cinema. The films will be screened in four festival cinemas and a additional special venues. The screenings are complemented by numerous special events –a mobile Fulldome cinema to showcase the 360° films, silent film concerts, multi-media performances, audio-visual installations, and readings. The programme is rounded out with a series of industry events, a master class, and a film colloquium.

Press photos for all the festival films are available for download at along with detailed information on the NFL programme. Up-to-date news is also available on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram/nordicfilmdays. The screening schedule and additional details on the films and the side-bar programme will be available starting October 18, 2019 on the festival homepage. Advance ticket sales begin on October 26 at 3:00 pm at the CineStar Filmpalast Stadthalle Lübeck cinema, online at the festival website, and at


Press and Publicity Department
Nordische Filmtage Lübeck
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