Paradise 89 by Madara Dislere
Paradise 89 by Madara Dislere

This year’s Children’s and Youth program at the 2018 Nordic Film Days Lübeck comprises 36 films, including 16 feature narratives and 20 shorts.  The 11 German and international premieres among the features alone are impressive proof of the festival’s importance to the children and youth film industry.

“The selection of films for the Children’s section of the has rarely been as serious, and yet so diverse and entertaining as it is this year”, says long-term section curator Franziska Kremser-Klinkertz. Numerous filmmakers have taken on serious subjects this year, tackling them in ways that make them accessible and tangible to young people. One example is the political-historical film “Paradise ‘89” (LV/GER 2018). Set in the summer of 1989, amid sea changes in Europe and Latvia’s pursuit of independence, it depicts events from the children’s point of view, and is a worthy complement to the NFL focus on the Baltic states this year. “Summer Children” (ICE/NOR 2017) also has an historical perspective, addressing a dark chapter in Iceland’s post-war history.From football to super-heroes with environmental leanings, all the way to science-fiction for kids, the palette of films covers almost everything that children’s films have to offer. Sometimes in animated form, and sometimes with formidable performances by young actors.

This year’s films for young adults are authentic and stirring. In “Money Problem” (SWE 2017), two girls think having enough will solve all their problems. It’s a dramatic journey as they learn just how wrong they are. This unconventional film by Swedish director Nikeisha Andersson is as much a milieu study as it is an absorbing story about friendship. “The Comet” (SWE 2017) and “Adam” (GER/ICE/US/MEX 2018), meanwhile, are proof that touching movies can be made on small budgets and with limited production facilities.

Variety is also on hand in the short film programs, targeting an assortment of age groups. “Shorts for Shorties” features films for children from four to six years old. The films in the program “Stories of Meetings and Friendship” have been selected for children 10+, while the shorts for the 14+ age group deal with “Love, Death, and Togetherness”.

Two prizes are awarded in the Children’s and Youth film section. The recipient of the Children’s and Youth Film Prize of the Gemeinnützigen Sparkassenstiftung is chosen from among all features in the section. This year’s jury includes director Thomas Heinemann (“Lola on the Pea”), up-and-coming actor Tristan Göbel (“Goodbye Berlin”, “Bright Nights”), and Marjo Kovanen, director of the Finnish school cinema association.

60th Nordische Filmtage Lübeck Feature Films Children’s and Youth program

Adam / Adam / Adam
Deutschland / Island / USA / Mexiko / 2018 / 72 Min.
Director(s): Maria Solrun
Drug abuse landed Adam’s mother in an institution. Now he is responsible – for her and for himself. A drama with strong performances and a driving techno beat.

Alone in Space / Ensamma i Rymden / Allein im All
Schweden / 2018 / 84 Min.
Director(s): Ted Kjellsson
The Earth of the future is uninhabitable. So Gladys and her brother Keaton travel to a distant planet. The problem is, they are alone in space. Or are they?

Captain Morten and the Spider Queen / Morten Lollide laeval / Käpt’n Morten und die Spinnenkönigin
Estland / Irland / Belgien / Großbritannien / 2018 / 78 Min.
Director(s): Kaspar Jancis
Morten wants to be a ship’s captain, just like his father. His dream is fulfilled when a scientist shrinks the young boy down to the size of an insect.

Land of Glass / Landet af glas / Land aus Glas
Dänemark / 2018 / 87 Min.
Director(s): Marie Rønn, Jeppe Vig Find
More than just wolves lurk in the foggy Danish forests. A 13-year-old boy makes a supernatural discovery in this modern mystery-adventure story.

Money Problem / Para Knas / Abgebrannt
Schweden / 2017 / 78 Min.
Director(s): Nikeisha Andersson
Money here, money there – everybody needs dough. But in this film, two friends from the outskirts of Stockholm learn the hard way what really counts in the end.

Monky / Monky / Monky
Schweden / 2017 / 87 Min.
Director(s): Maria Blom
A boisterous film about a difficult subject – a monkey turns the life of a family in mourning upside down and, in the process, puts them back on the right path.

Paradise ’89 / Paradīze ’89 / Paradies ’89
Lettland / Deutschland / 2018 / 90 Min.
Director(s): Madara Dišlere
Latvia in the summer of 1989: Four girls enjoy the liberty of the countryside. But there are major changes in the air, both private and political.

Summer Children / Sumarbörn / Sommerkinder
Island / Norwegen / 2017 / 84 Min.
Director(s): Gu∂rún Ragnarsdóttir
After their parents separate, Eydís and Kári are sent to a care home. In the film’s magical images, real hardship meets the power of children’s imagination.

Super Furball / Supermarsu / Supermeerschweinchen
Finnland / 2018 / 85 Min.
Director(s): Joona Tena
Emilia’s boring life comes to an abrupt end when she’s bitten by a guinea pig. Suddenly she has super powers – not to mention a set of killer incisors!

Team Albert / Team Albert / Team Albert
Dänemark / 2018 / 90 Min.
Director(s): Frederik Nørgaard
Law? An MBA? No, Albert’s career plan is YouTube. In this coming-of-age comedy, Danish Internet star Albert Dyrlund plays the lead – with a lot of self-mockery.

The Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King / Askeladden – I Dovregubbens hall / Espen
und die Legende vom Bergkönig
Norwegen / Irland / Tschechien / 2017 / 100 Min.
Director(s): Mikkel Brænne Sandemose
A very special kind of legendary hero – in order to free a princess from the claws of a giant troll, inept Espen Ash Lad has to take his courage in hand.

The Comet / Kometen / Der Komet
Norwegen / 2017 / 72 Min.
Director(s): Bård Røssevold
Gustav is searching for his father, who disappeared twelve years ago as a comet was passing Earth. Was he really kidnapped by extra-terrestrials?

The Falcons / Víti í Vestmannaeyjum / Die Falken – alle für einen
Island / Schweden / 2018 / 95 Min.
Director(s): Bragi _ór Hinriksson
Set on an island off Iceland’s coast, when 10-year-old Jon’s team enters a children’s football tournament, he learns about fairness and friendship.

The Heart / Hjärtat / Das Herz
Schweden / 2018 / 100 Min.
Director(s): Fanni Metelius
Mika and Tesfay fall in love, move in together, drift apart, and find each other again. They realize more and more how very different they are from each other.

The War Game / Krig / Kriegsspiel
Schweden / 2017 / 84 Min.
Director(s): Goran Kapetanović
Eleven-year-old Malte gets caught between two children’s gangs. A talented military strategist, he has no problem making sure the situation escalates.

Vitello / Vitello / Vitello
Dänemark / 2018 / 72 Min.
Director(s): Dorte Bengtson
Monster attacks, kidnapping kitties, a day lived in reverse. Vitello is a rascal with a million ideas. But most of all, he wants to find out who his father is.

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