This year, the Nordic & Baltic Oscar Contenders series at Scandinavia House is going virtual! In coordination with Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA, Scandinavia House is pleased to offer virtual screenings of films chosen by the Nordic & Baltic countries to compete for the Oscar nomination for the Best International Feature Film, available to viewers across the U.S. on the weekends of January 7, 14 and 21.
Concluding the festival on Weekend 3 are two special feature film screenings as well as a pass for multiple short films. Feature films include My Favorite War (Norway/Latvia, 2020; dir. Ilze Burkovska-Jacobsen), submitted to compete for the Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. A live virtual film talk will take place on Saturday, January 23 at 2 PM ET via Zoom webinar; to learn more and register, please click here. Also screening is the feature film Life After Death (Finland, 2020; dir. Klaus Härö). A film talk with the director will take place on Friday, January 22 PM ET at 8 PM; click here to watch and set a reminder on YouTube.
Short films include Dummy/Atkūrimas (Lithuania, 2020; dir. Laurynas Bareiša); Ivo (Norway, 2019; dir. Christina Lande); My Dear Corpses/Mu kallid laibad (Estonia, 2020; dir. German Golub); The Kicksled Choir/Sparkekoret (Norway 2020; dir. Torfinn Iversen); Njuokčamat/The Tongues (Norway 2019; dir. Marja Bål Nango & Ingir Ane Bål Nango), and The Weight of All the Beauty /Süda Sõrve Sääres (Estonia, 2019; dir. Eeva Mägi).
Festival films will be available to ticket holders all over the U.S. Each session is limited to 300 tickets in an effort to preserve the intimate and communal experience. The sessions will take place over four days (Thursday — Sunday), with all films available for viewing on a virtual cinema screening platform throughout this period. To download viewing instructions and an FAQ, please click here.
An animated documentary, My Favorite War tells the director’s personal story of growing up in the Cold War-era USSR. From her early childhood playing at war on her grandfather’s farm, and then being faced with the horror of real war threats at school, Ilze lives in a clash between the Soviet reality and propaganda denying what people are actually experiencing. Moreover, she also finds out how opposing the beliefs are of the people she loves most. An exciting coming-of-age story about finding one’s own identity, truth and loyalty, the film looks at the choices a girl had to make from a very young age, before getting wiser and finding the courage to speak out.
“A powerful look at [Burkovska-Jacobsen’s] experience growing up under Soviet rule and how that political climate impacted her own coming of age”—Animation Magazine
Nisse’s wife Leila has just died, but he has mourned enough, with only some practical arrangements left to do. After deciding it’s going to be a small funeral — no fuss —Nisse soon finds himself overrun by sons, mothers, and friends, when all he wants is for everyone to do is leave him alone and stop the lamentation, to be alone with what remains: sorrow. But despite these wishes, he begins to understand that he’s not the only one with the right to say goodbye. A tragicomic film about an older man who manages to push the people around him away when he would need them the most, the film is also humorous in tone as the characters’ find difficulty in understanding one another. Life After Death is the first autobiographical film by Klaus Härö, and his first comedy.
Dummy/Atkūrimas (Lithuania, 2020; dir. Laurynas Bareiša). 13 min. In Lithuanian with English subtitles.
Using a faceless doll, a criminal reenacts a brutal crime that took place in the woods. But surprisingly, he is not the one being judged — and there seems to be an odd person out in the investigative group. Winner of the Grand Prize, Festival REGARD Saguenay; Best Narrative Film, Palm Spring Short Film Festival; and more.
Ivo (Norway, 2019; dir. Christina Lande). 18 min. In Norwegian with English subtitles.
Sixty-four year-old Iben lives alone with her dog Ivo in the small coastal community of Lofoten, where she works as a schoolteacher. When a well-meant gesture leads a student to claim that he has been bitten by her dog, she faces a difficult decision when the other villagers demand that Ivo be put down. Winner of the Grand Prize Live Action Short, Rhode Island Film Festival 2020; nominated for The Gold Chair, Norwegian Short Film Festival 2019 & The Tromsø Palm, Tromsø International Film Festival 2020.
Unexpectedly evicted from his house, Erki faces a rather difficult task to take care of his lonely mother: becoming a corpse carrier. But the situation is about to get a whole lot worse, as Erki meets a new colleague who sees the job as just another day in the field. Made by Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School students, My Dear Corpses was a gold medal winner at the Student Academy Awards.
The Kicksled Choir/Sparkekoret (Norway 2020; dir. Torfinn Iversen). 18 min. In Norwegian with English subtitles.
See a Virtual Film Talk with Julia Andersen, Torfinn Iversen, & Benoni Brox Krane.
Ten-year-old Gabriel loves to sing and has one desire: to sing in the local choir, which rides kick-sleds through the snowy landscape of Northern Norway, and is known for their kindness and charity towards the village refugees. But when Gabriel’s father gets into a fight with one of the local refugees, Gabriel’s quest to join The Kicksled Choir becomes challenging. Winner of the 2020 TIFF Junior — Tromsø International Children’s Film Festival Audience Award; the 2020 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Professional Jury’s Prize for Best Live-Action Short, and other awards.
Njuokčamat/The Tongues (Norway 2019; dir. Marja Bål Nango and Ingir Ane Bål Nango). 15 min. In Sami with English subtitles.
See a Virtual Film Talk with Marja Bål Nango & Ingir Ane Bål Nango.
When a Sami woman is attacked by a man during a blizzard on the tundra while she is herding reindeer, her sister senses that something is wrong, and sets off in search for her. Wrapped in fear and confusion, both women will unite in their fight for revenge. Winner of Best International Short Film at the Palm Springs International ShortFest, and Best Director at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, Njuokčamat is a strong visual and exploratory film story that deals with the taboo theme of abuse of women in indigenous communities in Northern Norway.
The Weight of All the Beauty /Süda Sõrve Sääres (Estonia, 2019; dir. Eeva Mägi). 24 min. In Estonian and English with English subtitles.
For the men living in the Põdra village between sea and forest, the only one to play with is a bottle demon: Vodka Spirit. Villi, the only survivor of his group of friends (Urmas, Kalju, Heints and Väints), tells their stories and how they ended up being tricked by that spirit, taking us on a journey through his village, where the houses of his friends and protective old trees live on as if nothing had happened. And if everyone else is dead, how is Villi still alive? The Weight of All the Beauty is a poetical documentary about men who are full of beauty, love and vitality but also loneliness. Winner of the Best Estonian Documentary, Pärnu International Documentary Film Festival 2019; Young Filmmaker Award for Eeva Mägi, DocPoint Tallinn 2019; and Qualifying Abercrombine & Kent award for Best Documentary, Melbourne International Film Festival 2020.