The 14th Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. (SFFLA) sets sail with its annual immersion into the world of Nordic film Jan 12, 13, 19, 20 at the Writers Guild Theater 135 S. Doheny in Beverly HIlls with a program of films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden which will extend across the waters to Baltic neighbors, with offerings from Latvia and Lithuania, along with a Norwegian-German co-production. Films include Oscar submissions (with Denmark, Iceland, and Norway’s entries already “short-listed” for Academy “Best Foreign Language Film” nomination), additional current feature films, several North American premieres, documentaries and shorts – including two “short listed” shorts.
“Northern European countries have often taken to the seas with a cargo of culture, commerce, and collaboration,” says festival founder/director James Koenig. “And we have an exciting program that follows old routes to new worlds and around the Baltic neighborhood where cultural cross-currents have been a reality since even before Hanseatic ‘happenings’!”
The opening night gala on Jan 12 is flanked by veteran Swedish director Jan Troell’s THE LAST SENTENCE and KON-TIKI from Norway’s new shinning stars Joachim Rønning and Espin Sandberg who have already nabbed a Golden Globe nomination and are short-listed for Oscar nomination. Iceland’s short-listed feature THE DEEP is up as well, from Baltasar Kormákur, who is busy working on post production for two American films and will soon be “as high up as possible” filming Everest on Mount Everest. The day also includes two short-listed shorts– from Denmark 9 METER (Anders Walter),and from Sweden KIRUNA-KIGALI (Goran Kapetanovic) and the Latvian Oscar submission GULF STREAM UNDER THE WATER from Director Yevgeni Pashkevich.
Sunday Jan 13 begins with SILENT VOICES, an Icelandic documentary from director Helena Stefánsdóttir about land threatened by heavy industry projects, told by the humble people who love it, and respect it, and call it home. Then comes a white knuckle Norwegian thriller THALE from director Aleksander Nordaas, based on a folk tale come to life and co-sponsored by Screamfest LA. Then Finnish Director Antti Jokinen’s PURGE (Finland’s Oscar submission) takes on an Estonian story that spans a time-line from Soviet takeover and “purges” in the early 20th Century until just after liberation in the early 1990‘s. Following is the North American premiere of STARS ABOVE from Finland’s Saara Cantell offering a beautiful chronicle of the changing context of Finnish women’s lives. Finally THE HUNT from award winning Danish director Thomas Vinterberg starring Mads Mikkelsen (known to American audiences as the villain in “Casino Royal”) concludes the day. The film premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival as the first Danish-language film in the main competition since 1998, and had it’s North American premier at the Toronto Film Festival.
On Jan 19 BALLROOM DANCER kicks off the second weekend of the festival with Danish directors Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed’s documentary that leads us through the agony and ecstasy of a world class competitive dancer. A quick-step change of pace is next on-board with Finnish Director Johan Karrento’s comedic short documentary CAPTAIN SANDHOLM about a rowing race from Finland to Sweden. The day continues with MERCY from German director Matthias Glasner, a Norwegian-German co-production which drew attention at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival with its story of an expatriate German family living above the Arctic Circle in Norway. The screening is co-sponsored by the Goethe Institute of Los Angeles. Then it’s a Swedish feature length documentary PALME — the life and times of Olof Palme, the prime minister of Sweden until his assassination in 1986 from directors Kristina Lindström and Maud Nycander. Festivities continue with the presentation of the now annual SWEA (Swedish Women’s Educational Association) film grant to an up and coming Swedish film maker. This year’s recipient is Nanna Dalunde. A North American premiere of GOOD LUCK, AND TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER from Swedish director Jens Sjögren tops off the night.
The final day of the festival is Jan 20 starts with selected shorts followed by Loss from Lithuanian director Maris Martinsons. Finnish Director Aku Louhimies’ NAKED HARBOUR follows. The film is a mosaic of characters portraying imperfect people who don’t see eye to eye and may hurt each other, but somehow hope remains alive. OSLO, AUGUST 31 from Norwegian Director Joachim Trier (Reprise) follows with a day in the life of a recovering addict named Anders who has a day pass from rehab and contemplates life and death as he wanders around the titular city. An important documentary unspools next with Dheeraj Akolkar’s bio-pic LIV & INGMAR a documentary which offers an intimate look at one of cinema’s most illustrious collaborations, the partnership of legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and Norwegian actress Liv Ullman. The film offers a candid look, not only at two great artists, but also at two human beings, friends and soul-mates. The festival closes with two Academy Award “short-listed” Danish films– 9 METERS from Anders Walter, and Nikolaj Arcel’s award winning A ROYAL AFFAIR.
Parent organization of SFFLA is The American Scandinavian Foundation of Los Angeles a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation celebrating diversity and promoting friendship and exchange between the five Scandinavian countries and the United States. The festival receives support from the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation,ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America) SWEA (Swedish Women’s Educational Association),Nordic Consulates, as well as individual and corporate donors. Complete schedule and ticket ordering information available at sffla.net.