62nd Nordic Film Days Lübeck comes out on top with its first online festival

Lübeck, Nov. 13, 2020. Due to covid pandemic restrictions, this year’s Nordic Film Days Lübeck, originally planned as a hybrid festival, was unable to mount live screenings and events, instead welcoming festival “visitors” to its online portal. After extending the streaming of festival films for three additional days, the online edition of the festival ended on Wednesday. The enormous popularity and high demand led the festival management and its partners to extend the availability of the 62nd Nordic Film Days Lübeck’s streamed films until 11:59 pm on November 11. For the first time in the festival’s history, it was possible to watch the films online from anywhere in Germany.

After a total of eight festival days, NFL manager Susanne Kasimir and artistic director Linde Fröhlich expressed their satisfaction with the results. “Our prescient plan came to full fruition and we are more than pleased with the results and, above all, grateful!”, Kasimir said, “It was very well received by loyal film fans and all our supporters and sponsors, without whom this great effort would not have been possible. It represents the birth of a new, complementary festival format”. With a total of about 16,000 streamed films and 4,300 registrations at the online portal, the Nordic Film Days Lübeck enjoyed a great response. Even if only two people on average “shared” a stream and watched the film together, the festival would still have reached the same number of “visitors” as it did in each of the previous two years of live festivals, although the two variations are not comparable. On the evening of Saturday, November 7, 2020, the streaming portal registered some 2,500 uses. Of the 160 films originally planned for the 62nd NFL, 146 were available in 93 different programmes at the streaming site nordische-filmtage.culturebase.org.

“We are extremely happy that a large number of filmmakers enthusiastically embraced the format. They sent us statements about their films, and participated in lengthy discussions with our online moderators. That made it possible for audiences at home to get to know the people who made the films and access additional information about them”, said Linde Fröhlich the NFL artistic director. More than 120 videos, film discussions, interviews and “director’s voice” clips to complement the “virtual festival” of streamed films were posted to the festival homepage and the NFL YouTube channel, garnering some 7,000 views. That all made it possible for audiences to meet Nordic Film Days Lübeck “guests” and enjoy events on their screens at home, creating a festival feeling in their own homes.

Despite the success of the online version, the NFL team hopes that things will return to normal soon, and looks forward to live festivals in the future. A total of 407 industry visitors and press were accredited for the online 62nd festival. The Lübeck Meetings events were held as video conferences, moderated by organiser Laurin Dietrich, and were well attended, with industry professionals from north and northeastern Europe, as well as Germany. “Discover the Baltics” explored production conditions and tax breaks available in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, while “Bringing the Past to the Future - Audience Building for Historical Films in Unprecedented Times” took a look at this year’s opening night film “The Good Traitor” with a panel featuring Christina Rosendahl (director) and Jonas Frederiksen (producer, Nimbus Film), among others. The online panel was held in cooperation with Creative Europe Desk Hamburg, Denmark, and the FFHSH Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein film commission. The event “Co-Kreatives Wirtschaften” was a first-time collaboration with Lübeck’s business community to explore project management and budget planning for film production. This year’s Master Class focused on animated documentaries, a format that makes it possible to explore memory, emotions, and taboo subject matter. All the video conferences remain available for viewing at the NFL homepage www.nordische-filmtage.de.

With one additional prize, this year saw a total of ten prizes awarded on Saturday, November 7, with a total endowment of 57,500 euros. The award ceremony was recorded at Theater Lübeck and posted on the festival homepage, as well as Facebook and the NFL YouTube channel. Three of the ten prizes went to Finland, including the Lübecker Nachrichten Audience Prize to “Forest Giant” (“Metsäjätti”) directed by Ville Jankeri; the Friends of the NFL Prize for Best First Feature and the Baltic Film Prize both went to Jenni Toivoniemi’s “Games People Play” (“Seurapeli”). The NDR Film Prize, endowed with 12,500 euros, was awarded to a Latvian film for the first time since 1990. Appearing by video link, director Dace Pūce expressed her pleasure that her feature debut “The Pit” (“Bedre”) won.

The festival’s two media partners, broadcaster NDR and the Lübecker Nachrichten newspaper provided extensive coverage of the event, with reports and interviews.

At the end of the award ceremony, confetti flew for Linde Fröhlich, who has been the artistic director of the Nordic Film Days Lübeck since 2001. She was celebrated for her years of commitment with videos and greetings from the NFL team and serenaded with a surprise musical act. Ms Fröhlich is retiring at the end of this year.

The new artistic director Thomas Hailer will take over on January 1, 2021, working with Susanne Kasimir, who made her debut as festival manager in this unusual year.

Detailed information on the 62nd Nordic Film Days Lübeck, including prize winners, jury statements, and photographs is available at www.nordische-filmtage.de and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram / nordicfilmdays, and the NFL YouTube channel.

SAVE THE DATE: The 63rd Nordic Film Days Lübeck will run from November 3 – 7, 2021.

Press and Publicity Department
Nordische Filmtage Lübeck