The Competition section is a showcase for all varieties of narrative filmmaking. The films from the Nordic and Baltic states draw on their cinematic roots and traditions, while still evolving and pushing the envelope of the film medium.

The movies chosen for this section are intended to reflect and re-cast issues, discussions, and reality in their respective countries and at the same time, open a dialogue between them. It is about what kinds of stories interest the directors and how they choose to tell them. The selection ranges from mainstream productions to arthouse films, from cinematic experiments to straight-up narratives, and from genre films to writer-director independents. The Competition provides a platform to both established, lauded filmmakers and newcomers. The section is a representative cross-section of the year’s cinematic output.


This competition section focusses on films that deal with topical issues, deconstruct them, or provide a new perspective on social and political subject matter. The section encompasses all the myriad forms of documentary filmmaking – classic documentaries, investigative and journalistic formats, portraits, and cinematic essays. The selection leans towards films meant for theatrical screening that take advantage of the opportunities offered by the big screen. But there are also works that examine their own form, that explore the boundaries of documentation, or that deliberately transgress them to try to access reality.

Nordic Shorts

The Nordic Shorts section is aimed at anyone looking at cinema with yearning. Beyond the boundaries of genre and category, the short form boasts the entire bandwidth of cinematic possibility. Whether deep diving at full-volume, or quietly observational, short films are in sync with the zeitgeist and explore artistic issues in a variety of different ways.

This section showcases some 25 short films made by established filmmakers who have remained faithful to the short format, as well as up-and-coming young directors, all representing the current scene in the Nordic and Baltic regions, while providing momentum for the future of cinema. The selection of the films and their allocation to various thematic programmes is a balancing act between profound entertainment and cinematic insight.

The Nordic Shorts also go on the road throughout the year, presenting retrospectives or programme highlights at various other festivals.


This section, which has been a part of the festival since 2016, is dedicated to TV series and their creators. The series format has a fascinating ability to tell complex stories and develop characters over a number of episodes. The cross-pollination of dramatic and aesthetic concepts between TV series and theatrical films benefits both formats, along with audio-visual storytelling in general. And series from the Nordic countries have a deservedly good reputation for quality. With episodes from up to ten of the year’s new series, this Nordische Filmtage Lübeck Series section highlights current creative trends in television.

The festival is open to all formats, regardless of length, number of episodes, anthology or serial, any budget, and domestic series or international co-productions.

Young Audience

Films from the Nordic and Baltic states made for young people are known for the innovative and imaginative ways they deal with difficult issues. The Children’s and Youth section of the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck presents a selection of the films from the previous year made for the younger generation.

They are aimed at all ages, from first-time movie-goers of kindergarten age to young adults. In addition to the regular screenings for festival audiences, the NFL organises an extensive programme of screenings for school classes and day-care groups. The film showings are complemented by a programme of participative and educational events.

The films are all shown in their original language with English subtitles. For films recommended for children up to age 12, German translation is supplied via headphones.


For the Retrospective section, the NFL works with the film archives of the Nordic and Baltic states to present a curated selection from their rich cinematic legacy. With a different leitmotif each year, audiences have a chance to see a range of digitally restored and 35mm vintage films. The Retrospective partners include the Lübeck Academy of Music, where professor Franz Danksagmüller and his students develop music to accompany silent films, and the trade publication Journal of Scandinavian Cinema. The journal’s publisher, Anders Marklund of Lund University, organises the Lübeck Film Studies Colloquium as part of the NFL, a series of public events featuring discussions with film historians and experts from Germany, and the Nordic and Baltic states.


The Filmforum is dedicated to filmmaking in northern Germany. Each year, the section brings together narrative and documentary shorts and features, independent films, and large-scale theatrical movies. The section offers audiences an opportunity to see new work by established directors, as well as to discover unknown talent and artistic films outside the mainstream. The Filmforum places a strong value in the discussions and interactions between filmmakers and the audience during the festival.

The section was launched in 1988 with the aim of providing the film scene in Schleswig-Holstein a space within the international festival to showcase their creative work. As filmmaking practices diversified and funding opportunities evolved, the section has grown and expanded its horizons over the years. The Filmforum accepts submissions from any production with local funding, works by northern German filmmakers, and any film that was shot in the region or deals with issues pertinent to life in the north.

Immersion 360°

The Immersion 360° section showcases new work produced for Fulldome Video / 360 Degree Film (for use with VR headsets or virtual tours), with virtual or expanded reality and interactive 3D experiences.  On the German scene, the phrase “go in instead of look at” has taken hold as the credo for art, including … in fact, particularly … for moving pictures. These experiences are accessible to a broader public with special architecture and high-tech environments, such as the InfinityDome, a mobile Fulldome with an exterior diameter of almost 20 metres and a 360ᵒ projector. This represents an innovative digital format with enormous future potential. The Immersion 360° section introduces established and newer artists with roots in the North who have dedicated themselves to developing their own immersive forms of the audio-visual experience.