The 20th Anniversary Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. (SFFLA) will be in residence at the Writers Guild Theater 135 S. Doheny in Beverly Hills January 5, 6, 19 20 with “top films from the top of Europe” featuring “Oscar” submissions and other current films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA–Baltic neighbors Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. www.sffla.net
The festival has become a highlight of the “film season” run up to awards season culminating in the Oscars. The festival has been called “Nordic film’s ‘home away from home’ in the film capital of the world.” The annual residency has created an on-going presence for Nordic film in Hollywood with incalculable benefits for filmmakers. “The event is a cultural event “ says SFFLA Founder/Director James Koenig, “but one that is very well situated for those with business to conduct.”
Opening night film is Gustav Möller’s THE GUILTY—Denmark’s entry into the Oscar race. Rights have already been bought for an American remake starring Jake Gyllenhale. And the film has been short-listed for Best Foreign Film nomination. Möller and producer Lina Flint will be guests of the festival and do Q & A after the screening. Opening day includes Oscar submissions from Latvia and Sweden as well With Alli Abbas’ Swedish entry BORDER and Latvian contender TO BE CONTINUED from director Ivars Seleckis.
Day two weighs in with Finland’s Oscar submission EUTHANIZER from Director Teemu Nikki. “The film’s lead character moonlights as a sick pet exterminator who loves animals—and not so much, anyone who mistreats them. The film is sort of mixture of Kaurismäki and Stephen King.”
Next comes WOMAN AT WAR from Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson. Iceland’s Oscar submission has been getting a lot of attention on the festival circuit. The day builds up to Norway’s Oscar submission WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY from Director Iram Haq. The biographical film is a moving portrayal of a woman who is an immigrant from Pakistan.
The first week-end wraps up with two important historical films– UNKNOWN SOLDIER from Finnish Director Aku Lohimies and The 12TH MAN from Norwegian Director Harald Zwart. The first, based on a novel of the same name chronicles the life of a ficticious machine gun company during Finland’s “Continuation War” with the Soviet Union, and Zwart’s 12TH MAN is based on the true story of 12 sabateurs sent from England to Northern Norway. Eleven are killed by the Nazi occupational forces. The lone survivor, Jan Baalsruds, faced not only the enemy but the elements with the most brutal imaginable weather conditions in the far north.
The second week-end of the festival January 19, 20 starts with Saturday morning action/adventure with a dark Finnish super-hero story– RENDEL: Dark Vengeance from Director Jesse Haaja and producer Trevor Doyle. It’s followed by a Swedish bio-pic from award winning director Hannes Holm–TED: SHOW ME LOVE about famed Swedish singer-songwriter Ted Gårdestad. Later Estonia’s Oscar entry TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT from Director Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo explores single fatherhood with heart and humor, then it’s on to Iceland’s two vesting different brothers united in a drug venture spiraling out of control in VULTURES from director Borkur Sigborsson. In the evening Sweden will have you laughing with THE CAKE GENERAL from directors Pilip Hammar and Fredrik Wikingsson whose based on a true story plot tried to put “the most boring city in Sweden” on the map!
Closing day of the festival starts out with the Lithuanian Oscar entry—WONDERFUL LOSERS from Arûnas Matelis—a documentary about the invaluable support team for top competitors in bicycle racing. Then it’s on to the Danish film BECOMING ASTRID about the life of Astrid Linfewn the famous Swedish writer and creator of “Pippi Longstocking.” Then it’s on the difficult contemporary history in Norwegian Director Erik Poppe’s Utoya: July 22 following a teenage girls struggles to survive and find her younger sister during the July 2011 terrorist mass murder at a political summer camp. Erik Poppe was a guest at SFFLA with his film Hawaii Oslo.
The closing film of the festival is from a favorite of SFFLA audiences—Klaus Härö (Elina, Mother of Mine, Letters to Father Jacob, and The Fencer)— ONE LAST DEAL is the story of an elderly art dealer who is about to retire but sets out to make things right with his estranged daughter and to secure his retirement with the sale of a rare painting he has purchased at auction. In the process he must face both an angry auction house and his own past mistakes.
“The mission of SFFLA’s ‘cinema cultural exchange’ is to give the savvy L.A. film audience, industry professionals, homesick northern ex-pats, students, and film lovers opportunity to see an incredible body of work and keep tabs on what’s going on in Nordic film” Says Founder/Director James Koenig. “We like to put the ‘hype’ on hold and focus on the art. And in the process we share stories of love, laughter, untold history, and of our common humanity. Film is a nexus of art and culture, business and technology. We offer an outstanding body of work visibility in the center of the film universe.”
Parent organization of SFFLA is The American Scandinavian Foundation of Los Angeles. The festival receives support from the Daniel and Susan Gottlieb Foundation, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, as well as assistance from Nordic Consulates and Embassies, Baltic Consulates and Embassies, and national film institutes as well as individual and corporate donors. Complete schedule and ticket ordering information available at www.sffla.net.