A multi-facetted Children and Youth Films programme – youth cultures, family spirit, and tender animation films

Lübeck, Oct. 26, 2020. The line-up for the Children and Youth Films section of the 62nd Nordische Filmtage Lübeck (Nov. 4-8, 2020) is a coat of many colours.

“This year’s Children and Youth films cover a broad range of subject matter. Whether it’s sport, music, faith and spirituality, or life as part of a clique, the various facets of young people’s culture are all represented in this section”, says Franziska Kremser-Klinkertz, the section curator. In 2020, the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck will be presented as a hybrid event for the first time, so that audiences can see films as usual in cinemas, or stream them online. That includes selected films from the Children and Youth section, which will be available to stream anywhere in Germany for the duration of the festival.  

Among the films for young adults is a German premiere of the feature debut by Norwegian director Ingvild Søderlind, “All Foreigners Keep Their Curtains Closed” (NO, 2020), a realistic film about a multi-cultural clique in metropolitan Oslo. In the film, Mariana, the daughter of a Norwegian woman and a Chilean, falls for a classmate with Turkish roots, chick magnet Ali2. But is he serious about her? 

Also screening in Lübeck for the first time in Germany is the coming-of-age drama “The Castle” (LT/IE, 2020). Director and screenwriter Lina Lužytė gives us the story of 13-year-old Monika from Lithuania, living in Dublin and dreaming of a career as a singer, who resorts to desperate measures to make her dream come true. Music also plays an important role in the life of Jānis, the main protagonist of “Jelgava 94” (LV, 2019). Based on the bestselling winner of the European Union Prize for Literature, “Doom 94” by Jānis Joņevs, it’s a tale of young metalheads trying to buck the system in the newly-independent Latvia of the early 1990s. Pop culture and religious fanaticism collide in “Disco” (NO, 2019), also enjoying its German premiere at the NFL. Mirjam is a disco and freestyle dance champion. But the glittering façade hides an insecure young woman who is put under enormous pressure by the moral constraints of a fundamentalist church group and her manipulative family. The Finnish film “Eden” (2020) is set at a Protestant confirmation camp on an island near Helsinki. Over the course of a summer, the four main characters re-define their relationship to their surroundings and to god. Director Ulla Heikkilä, whose short “Golgatha” was shown at the 2016 NFL, brings her own experiences as a young woman to bear on her feature debut. “The Pack” (CZ/SK/LT, 2020) deals with how an ice hockey team hangs together and how difficult it can be as a newcomer to break into the pack.

Family togetherness is a key focus of the films for younger children. It is on display in the Norwegian film “Sisters” (2020). Vega, her sister Billie, and her father are hiking in the wilderness when there is an accident, and the two young sisters are faced with the adventurous task of saving their father’s life. In addition to director Arild Østin Ommundsen, Silje Salomonsen makes her co-directing debut with the film. Their two daughters acted in the film, making this unusual movie a true family project. The siblings in the feature debut “The Crossing” (NO, 2020) must also stick together, as they try to smuggle a pair of Jewish children across the Swedish border to safety during World War II. The festival screening will be the first time the film is shown in Germany. That also applies to “Bert’s Diary” (SE, 2020). It’s about the title character’s attempts to attract the attention of the girl he has a crush on. To get closer to the coolest girl in school, he ends up making friends with her little sister. In “Sune – Best Man” (SE, 2019), directed by Jon Holmberg, Sune is also trying to impress his heartthrob, Sophie. But when his Grandfather’s wedding is scheduled on the same day as the class trip, Sune faces an important decision.

The festival will also provide a taste of the upcoming Yule season with the German premiere of “All I Want for Christmas 2” (DK, 2020) by Christian Dyekjær, whose first film about Lucia and Father Christmas won last year’s NFL Children’s Jury prize endowed by the Radisson Blu Senator Hotel Lübeck. 

The live-action film programme will be complemented by two tenderly creative animated films for smaller children, five years and up – “Pelle No-Tail” (SE, 2020) by Christian Ryltenius and “Raggi” (EE/DK, 2020) by Meelis Arulepp and Karsten Kiilerich. In “Pelle” the eponymous little tomcat goes to the big city of Uppsala, where he becomes a nightclub star. In this new film version of the children’s book classic, with modern “cat music”, fans of hip-hop will get their money’s worth. In “Raggi”, a ragdoll becomes 6-year-old Ruby’s favourite, which leads to conflict. 

The Youth Jury Prize is being awarded this year for the first time this year, endowed by cbb software GmbH (member of the Viega Group). It will be awarded to a festival film that best deals with the reality of young adult life. The jury will be made up of four young people, aged between 15 and 17. The Children’s Jury Prize of the Radisson Blu Senator Hotel has been awarded since 2011, with an endowment from the hotel. Four children between 11 and 13 select their favourite from films for children under the age of 12. And the Children’s and Youth Film Prize of the Gemeinnützigen Sparkassenstiftung zu Lübeck will be awarded by a three-person adult jury of film and media experts; the non-profit bank foundation has endowed this prize since 2008. Each of those three prizes is endowed with 5,000 euros. 

This year, too, the “young festival bloggers” will be active during the NFL, reporting on festival happenings, and learning the basics of journalism. And for the first time this year, they will be working in international cooperation, via video conferencing, with young bloggers from Finland’s Oulu International Children's and Youth Film Festival. The project receives financial support from the German Federation of Film Clubs for Children and Young People (BJF) and the foundation Carl Arthur Strait Stiftung, part of Lübeck’s Gemeinnützige group of non-profits. The Strait foundation is focussed on fostering intercultural understanding, in particular by connecting young people from Lübeck (school and university students, vocational trainees) with the Nordic, Baltic, and Eastern European countries. The project is a cooperative venture with broadcaster NDR and the Lübecker Nachrichten newspaper.

Advance ticket sales for screenings in Lübeck’s cinemas and other venues, as well as for online streaming begin on Nov. 1, 2020 at 1pm.

Tickets will be available online at www.nordische-filmtage.de and www.cinestar.de and at the box office of the CineStar Filmpalast Stadthalle Lübeck. Further details and news are available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram / nordicfilmdays, and our YouTube channel.

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