62. Nordische Filmtage Lübeck – hybrid festival in 2020, new Youth Jury Prize, Retrospective “Fishermen’s Films”

At the first press announcement for the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck in the city’s Radisson Blu Senator Hotel, the NFL provided initial information about what this year’s festival will look like in these unusual times. Kathrin Weiher, Lübeck’s culture Senator, Linde Fröhlich (artistic director), Susanne Kasimir (festival manager), and the curator of the Retrospective, Jörg Schöning, took a look at what’s new this year and the upcoming festival line-up. The 62nd festival, from November 4 – 8, 2020, will be a hybrid of live and online. Screenings and events at the festival cinemas and other venues in Lübeck will be held in compliance with the corona guidelines. Online screenings and events will be added to compensate for the limited live audience numbers and give those who can’t attend in person a sense of the festival. “I’m pleased that we are able to present the 62nd Nordische Filmtage in a hybrid version under the special circumstances of this year”, said culture senator Kathrin Weiher. The NFL focusses on new films from the Nordic and Baltic countries, as well as northern Germany (Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg) and is the only festival on the European continent to put the spotlight on that region.

“Our plan to hold the festival live in Lübeck’s cinemas and other venues and complement that with selected online events sends an important message and we have already received very positive feedback on that”, said Linde Fröhlich, the NFL’s long-time artistic director, “As a premiere event in the city of Lübeck, we want to give local residents and guests from the region, who have missed so much in the last few months, a chance to enjoy culture and films together in cinemas. As part of the international film community, we want to put the focus on the cinemas and at the same time, in cooperation with productions companies, film institutions, distributors, and international salespeople, send a message about keeping cinema culture alive and supporting live encounters between filmmakers and their audiences.”

Although the festival 2020 must deal with special conditions and limitations, festival manager Susanne Kasimir expressed great pleasure at one new development. Lübeck company cbb software GmbH, a member of the Viega Group, has come onboard as a new sponsor, donating €5000 as an endowment for the Youth Jury Prize. This new prize will put a spotlight on films for and about young people, and be awarded in the festival sections that are dedicated to dealing with their issues on film. A four-person jury, made up of people between 13 and 17 years of age, will select a winning film during the festival. Professor Dr. Bruce-Boye (CEO) and Andreas Fechner (COO) from cbb software GmbH were on hand to talk about the company’s commitment to the festival. “We’ve loved the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck for many years as a lively and dedicated festival. With its international orientation and the way it promotes up-and-coming talent, it has always ensured inter-generational communication and networking on many levels. With our new Youth Jury Prize, cbb software GmbH, a member of the Viega Group, wants to support the festival’s commitment to young talent and films for a young audience, in particular, the directors who tackle the issues facing young people. We want to give something to the young people who will be shaping our future. The current changes in our society and world-wide, with climate and environmental changes, pose a particular challenge to young people, who feel the responsibility. We need to learn from the younger generation. And film, as an art form, plays an important and valuable role in that. It offers us an opportunity to listen to the young, and films can draw our attention to their issues. In addition, with our prize, we’re expressing our solidarity with the festival, the city of Lübeck, and the region, particularly in these unusual times”, says Professor Dr. Bruce-Boye, CEO of cbb software GmbH.

This year’s Retrospective Fishermen’s Films – Fishing in Nordic and Baltic Cinema represents the conclusion of the section’s Baltic cycle, begun in 2018 and spread across the three festival years. Narrative and documentary films made between 1912 and 2019 illuminate a traditional profession that hovers between natural idyll and commercial industry. Lübeck itself plays a featured role in this Retrospective. “The Fishing Industry in Schlutup and the Fishing Village of Gothmund” were captured on film as early as the 1920s and that film will be part of a programme of short silents. Iceland is also front and centre, as a traditional fishing nation – including with the section’s opening night film. With her narrative debut “Ingaló” (1992), director Ásdís Thoroddsen tells the story of a headstrong young woman’s emancipation journey as she manages to assert herself in the harsh world of commercial fishing; the lead is played by Sólveig Arnarsdóttir, well known in Lübeck for her work in the TV series “Das Duo”. Retrospective curator Jörg Schöning is especially pleased with “the excellent quality of three newly-restored narrative features from Estonia”. “Veealused karid / Rocks Under Water” (Viktor Nevežin, 1959) is a critical look at personal grievances within a fishing collective; “Ühe küla mehed / Men From the Fisherman’s Village” (Jüri Müür, 1961) is now considered the film that launched Estonia’s post-war national filmmaking industry; and “Karge meri / The Smacking Sea” (Arvo Kruusement, 1981) is an impressively atmospheric cinematic adaptation of the eponymous 1938 novel by Estonian writer August Gailit. 

Festival manager Susanne Kasimir noted that it was thanks to the continued support of its main sponsors and partners that financing for this year’s NFL was made possible. In addition to the festival host, the city of Lübeck, many other partners provide decisive financial support. The Nordische Filmtage Lübeck expressed special thanks to all of its long-time partners, financing entities, and prize sponsors. Their support is particularly valuable given the circumstances of 2020. They include, in addition to 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 ministry of science, culture, and education. Other supporters and sponsors of the 62nd Nordische Filmtage are the Lübeck public utilities company, LYNET Kommunikation AG, STAWAG AG, the CITTI Group, Friends of the Nordic Film Days Lübeck, which also endows the prize for best narrative film debut, and the Margot and Jürgen Wessel Foundation. Additional prizes are endowed by DGB District North trade union organization, the Protestant-Lutheran Church District of Lübeck-Lauenburg for the Interfilm Church Prize, as well as Baltic Films for the Baltic Film Prize. They are joined this year by cbb software GmbH, sponsors of the new Youth Jury Prize, discussed above. 

In 2020, the NFL once again boasts strong media partners who have supported the festival for many years – broadcaster NDR Norddeutscher Rundfunk and the Lübecker Nachrichten newspaper, both of which also endow prizes (NDR Film Prize and the LN Audience Prize), will once again also publicize the festival, film subjects, and NFL guests. The cinemas and venues that are already under lock and key include the CineStar Filmpalast Stadthalle, the Kolosseum, the Kommunale Kino Lübeck, and Schuppen 6 on Untertrave.

Up-to-date NFL news can be found at www.nordische-filmtage.de, and on the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.com/nordicfilmdays.

Applications for accreditation for the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck will be accepted throughout September. A press conference to announce the complete programme for the 62nd Nordische Filmtage Lübeck will be held on October 20, 2020.

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