2019 festival line-up announced !

 

We return to Scandinavia House this November

The festival returns November 7-10, 2019 with another terrific line-up of films which have just been announced.

The program includes 21 films - 12 full length films and 9 shorts - featuring 5 North American Premieres, 7 New York Premieres and 1 U.S. Premiere.

The festival’s Head of Programs Jūle Rozīte remarks:

“This year's program highlights the best from the Baltic States showing what a difference 30 years can make. The past is reworked into through-provoking narratives, and new directors find ever-new ways of looking at personal and societal identity weaving a colorful picture of what the Baltic States are today. Join us November 7-10 to experience these wonderful films and meet with their filmmakers at Scandinavia House.”

See the Schedule and Film Line Up pages for more details and buy your tickets today at the Box Office.

Watch the 2019 NYBFF Trailer - click here

The Other Cinema of Northern Europe

The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have been producing motion pictures since 1910. While not as well-known as those in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, their industries have met challenges in one era or another that ultimately only galvanized their creative ambitions for features, documentaries, and animation shorts. Through the screening of both the latest productions and selected classics, the inaugural 2019 New York Baltic Film Festival will offer New Yorkers an unprecedented opportunity to see the best in Northern European film making.

The 2019 New York Baltic Film Festival is presented Scandinavia House and organized by the Consulate General of Estonia, Consulate General of Lithuania and Consulate of Latvia in New York. Programming support is from the Estonian Film Institute, National Film Center of Latvia, and Lithuanian Film Center. Funding for the festival is courtesy of governments of the Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and by the generous donations of members of the Baltic community in New York. Additional support to the festival is from the Estonian Ministry of Culture, Lithuanian Culture Institute, and the American Scandinavian Foundation.

2019 NYBFF Programming Team and Organization

Jūle Rozīte – Head of Programs

Daris Dēliņš – Associate Programmer – Consulate of Latvia in New York

Sondra Litvaitytė – Associate Programmer - Consulate General of Lithuania in New York

Gražina Michnevičiūtė – Associate Programmer – Lithuanian Cultural Attaché in New York

Jaanika Peerna – Associate Programmer – Consulate General of Estonia in New York

Kyle Reinhart – Associate Programmer – Head of Film Programming, Scandinavia House

 
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WHEN

November 7-10, 2019

 

Location

Scandinavia House

58 Park Avenue
(between 37th and 38th St.)
New York, NY 10016

Directions: click here

 

Hours

Thu Nov 7: 5:pm–10pm
Fri Nov 8: 5pm–11pm
Sat Nov 9: 9am–11pm
Sun Nov 10: 3pm–10pm

 

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2019 Baltic Film Festival Line-Up

Join us to see these wonderful film PREMIERES from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at this year’s festival.

FILMMAKERS WILL BE PRESENT AT THE Q&A FOLLOWING MANY OF THE SCREENINGS.

This year's program highlights the best from the Baltic States showing what a difference 30 years can make. The past is reworked into through-provoking narratives, and new directors find ever-new ways of looking at personal and societal identity weaving a colorful picture of what the Baltic States are today.  Jūle Rozīte - Head of Programs, 2019 NYBFF.

Click onto each film image to read more about the film and its director(s)


Animus Animalis

Animus Animalis is a film about the masters of stuffing animals, who try to restore life where it no longer exists. A taxidermist, deer farmer, and zoology museum workers live in a setting where the line between reality and artificiality have become almost imperceptible. Where dead beasts seem to compete for the most vivid posture or realistic expression, humans are in fact trying to stop time, and bring back life where it has long been absent.

U.S. Premiere Screening

Director: Aistė Žegulytė

Runtime: 70 min

2018 - Lithuania

Language: Lithuanian with English subtitles

Screening date & time: Saturday, November 9, 5:00 pm

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening

 

Anthology of the Plot

When it opened in Vilnius in 1992, the Lithuanian bar Suokalbis (“The Plot” in English) served as a refuge and a source of inspiration for young artists, filmmakers, journalists, and writers, as well as doctors, customs officers, judges, and anyone between. An evening here could result in a stroke of inspiration for your next work; you might end up rubbing shoulders with living icons, or get commissioned to write an article, a translation or a review, and maybe even give or conduct an interview — if you found time between all the drinking and dancing on tables, that is. In this magical place, you also didn’t actually need money to get drunk: all you had to do was wait for someone to leave a drink unprotected. At Suokalbis, drinks didn’t belong to the people who bought them; everything was simply placed into circulation.

The closing of Suokalbis in 2010 was a serious blow to Vilnius, and a loss of an irreplaceable public space. In this short documentary, director Arturas Jevdokimovas looks back at one of the most amazing bars in the world, one that experimented with the notion of absolute freedom.

North American Premiere Screening

Original title: Suokalbio antologija

Director: Arturas Jevdokimovas

Runtime: 27 min

2015 - Lithuania

Language: Lithuanian with English subtitles

Screening date & time: Friday, November 8, 7:15 pm

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening

 

Baltic Freedom Way

The most prominent example of Baltic solidarity and cooperation in the history of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, The Baltic Way was an event in which almost 2 million people joined hands to form a live chain from Tallinn through Riga to Vilnius. Taking place on the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on August 23, 1989, the event also marked a step closer to the restoration of independence for all three countries, as the Soviet Union neared the brink of collapse.

The Baltic Freedom Way chronicles the history of Baltic cooperation, which dates back to the proclamations of independence from each of the three states in 1918, up to the chain of events behind the peaceful protest 30 years ago. It also explores the history of that cooperation up to contemporary times — the great social, economic, and political changes of the 1990s, and the re-integration into European political, social, and cultural spaces. Weaving in memories of the past as well as contemporary victories, The Baltic Freedom Way shows both the cooperation and the competition between these three countries. It is a portrait of three sisters, in the free world and on the free market, who have remained side-by-side in both good times and in hardships.

NYC Premiere Screening

Original title: Baltijas brivības ceļš

Director: Askolds Saulītis

Runtime: 52 min

2014 - Latvia

Language: Latvian, Estonian. Lithuanian, with English subtitles

Screening date & time: Friday, November 8, 5:00 pm

Preceded by Baltic Way (Baltijos kelias), a documentary by directors, Arūnas Matelis and Audrius Stonys on this historic event. Lithuania, 1989, 10 min.

Q & A panel discussion with participants in the 1989 event following the screening.


Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs

Can an imaginative boy, his know-it-all cousin and a pack of talking dogs save their happy neighborhood from a greedy developer? City-dwelling Jacob dreams of becoming an architect, just like his busy dad, and spends most of his time drawing buildings and daydreaming while his father is at work. But when his dad needs to go on a long business trip, Jacob must spend a week in Maskachka, a historical suburb of Riga, with his bossy cousin Mimmi and her ex-seaman father Eagle. Jacob is immediately enchanted by the neighborhood’s unique aura with the chirpy, witty Mimmi as his guide: its wooden houses and interesting characters are a whole new world compared to life in the city center. When the cousins discover that a businessman plans to transform a local park into skyscrapers, they know they must save the neighborhood — and find unexpected help from a pack of local dogs that... can talk!

North American Premiere Screening

Original title: Jēkabs, Mimmi un runājošie suņi

Director: Edmunds Jansons

Runtime: 70 min

Language: English

2018 - Latvia, Poland

Screening date & time: Sunday, November 10, 3:00 pm

The Little Comrade

In the midst of the worst years of Stalin's reign of terror, six-year-old Leelo’s mother is sent to a prison camp. Haunted by her mother’s last words telling her to be a good girl, Leelo vows to always be on her best behavior. But this is not easy to do in the confusing grown-up world, particularly as her list of difficult questions just keeps growing: Why is the Estonian flag suddenly forbidden? Who is an enemy of the people? And what are the ladies in the salon laughing at? As Leelo searches for answers in the hope that it will bring her mother back, she soon learns that being a good citizen and being a good daughter are not always the same thing.

NYC Premiere Screening

Original title: Seltsimees laps

Director: Moonika Siimets

Runtime: 100 min

Language: Estonian, Russian with English subtitles

2018 - Estonia

Screening date & time: Saturday, November 9, 11:00 am

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening

Motherland

Shortly after the fall of the USSR, 12-year-old Kovas travels with his mother Viktorija to her homeland of Lithuania for the first time. Twenty years after she escaped the Soviet-occupied country for the United States, she has now returned to reclaim her beloved family estate, with the help of her old flame Romas, who escorts them into the countryside. Even though he speaks the language, everything is new for Kovas; having been raised with the stories of his mother, his observations of the country show a different side to nostalgia and longing, of belonging and trying to fit in. When they finally arrive at their long-awaited destination on Viktorija’s family’s land, only to find a run-down house occupied by an impoverished Russian family, they must reconsider what it really means to come home.

NYC Premiere Screening

Original title: Gimtinė

Director: Tomas Vengris

Runtime: 96 min

Language: Lithuanian, Russian, English, with English subtitles.

2019 - Lithuania, Germany, Greece, Latvia

Screening date & time: Thursday, November 7, 6:30 pm and Sunday, November 10, 7:00 pm

Q & A with filmmakers following the Sunday night screening


My Father the Banker

Self-made banker Boriss Osipovs achieves quick success immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, going from university professor to flamboyant millionaire. But when one venture goes awry, he flees Latvia to avoid arrest for illegal operations. Fifteen years later, his family receives a photograph from Interpol of an elderly man with a name they recognize — but this man resides in a Malaysian mental asylum. Could it be him? My Father the Banker follows director Ieva Ozolina’s investigation into her father’s story to find out the truth about the man in the photograph, despite her family’s reservations. The result is an emotional and deeply personal documentary about a man who loses himself during times of great upheaval — and the daughter who hopes to find her father, and with him, a missing piece of herself.

North American Premiere Screening

Original title: Mans tēvs baņķieris

Director: Ieva Ozoliņa

Runtime: 68 min

Language: Latvian, Russian and English with English subtitles

2014 - Latvia

Screening date & time: Saturday, November 9, 9:30 am

Pank

Pank tells the story of the rise of one of the most successful banks in the Baltic States, based on real characters and events in Estonia just after the collapse of the Soviety Union. During a key transition point in history — as everything old has been removed, with nothing new yet in place — Toomas is working at a local gas station to pay his way through school. When a random conversation with a customer lands him a job at a new, rapidly growing bank, he finds himself suddenly catapulted into a nerve hub of major deals and complex transactions. Working alongside the tough and focused Ülle, the bank’s CFO and one of its original founders — and one of very few women in the industry — Nordbank becomes a second home for both as it rapidly prospers.

Working hard and partying harder as their careers deliver one success after the other, Toomas and Ülle become blind to the destruction that Nordbank is leaving in its wake. But they’ll soon learn that success comes at a price: When you’re winning, you can’t always see what you’re losing.

North American Premiere Screening

Creator(s): Eero Epner and Tarmo Jüristo

Runtime: 108 min

Language: Estonian with English subtitles

2018 - Estonia

Screening date & time: Friday, November 8, 7:15 pm

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening

Paradise ‘89

It is the summer of 1989 in Latvia, and politics are turbulent. Nine-year old Paula and her sister Laura leave their city life for the summer to spend their summer holidays with their cousins Maija and Linda, in a small town in the country. Left without strict adult supervision as the endless sunny summer stretches before them, the four girls enjoy their unexpected freedom, and imitate leading the lives of adults: sipping coffee over conversations about life in cafes, plunging into reckless adventures, and getting into trouble. Based on true events, Paradise '89 explores a story of growing up against the background of the Baltic Way, a time when Latvia took its first steps towards regaining its independence from the Soviet Union.

NYC Premiere Screening

Original title: Paradīze ‘89

Director: Madara Dišlere

Runtime: 90 min

Language: Latvian with English subtitles

2018 - Latvia, Germany

Screening date and time: Saturday, November 9, 1:00 pm


Roots

This screening presents a collection of short documentaries telling six very personal stories, all by well-known Estonian female directors between the ages of 29 and 61, connected by a shared symbolic theme of the roots of where we come from and those who are closest to us.

In A Poem About Love, director Nora Särak documents her first time leaving Estonia, with no thoughts of returning, her first time changing her life for love. Waiting for a Miracle (dir: Aljona Suržikova). A woman’s biggest joy is giving the gift of life to a new human being, but it is her biggest pain that can truly help her see the beauty of life. Wombstone is director Kersti Uibo’s beautiful musing on what the world might look like through a newborn child’s eyes. In 40 Years Later director Moonika Siimets documents all the stuff that her parents have accumulated over the years — each object has its story, and a place in their lives, but maybe it’s time to let go? Anna Hints’ powerful documentary With Mum At The Monastery shows a mother and daughter’s complicated relationship. Will silence and meditation help them finally find peace? Director Heilika Pikkov’s grandmother and grandfather were married in 1959. In My Flesh And Blood she documents them once more standing at the altar — 50 years later.

North American Premiere Screening

Original title: Juured

Director(s): Anna Hints, Helika Pikkov, Nora Särak, Moonika Siimets, Aljona Suržikova, and Kersti Uibo,

Runtime: 102 min

Language: Estonian with English subtitles

2018 - Estonia

Screening date & time: Saturday, November 9, 2:45 pm

Spoon

In this ode to the lowly plastic spoon, the renowned Latvian documentary director Laila Pakalniņa follows the long, work-intensive journey behind the manufacturing of picnic cutlery. Oil is retrieved from subterranean depths; transported to processing plants; transformed into plastic; molded into the shape of a spoon, and then transported to convenience stores — only to be discarded shortly after being purchased. It takes a highly developed society to pull off such a complex and logistically complicated process; but to what end? Poetically and seamlessly, Spoon shows how far Latvia has come in some ways, but how far it has to go in others.

North American Premiere Screening

Original title: Karote

Director: Laila Pakalniņa

Runtime: 66 min

Language: no dialogue

2019 - Latvia, Lithuania, Norway,

Screening date & time: Saturday, November 9, 8:15 pm

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening

Summer Survivors

Indre is an ambitious young psychologist, keen to get ahead at the psychiatric unit where she works. In exchange for research privileges at the clinic, she reluctantly agrees to accompany two patients cross-country as they travel to another unit located in a seaside town. Indre quickly finds herself the leader of a rather disparate group: whereas the outgoing Paulius suffers from bipolar disorder, prone to manic mood swings, the introverted Juste’s wounds are more hidden from sight. But as they navigate through the journey, their internal struggles prove increasingly similar, and what would appear to be a carefree summer trip with friends could actually be the beginning of a meaningful healing process. Summer Survivors is a refreshing, if bittersweet story that — just like the start of every summer — is full of hopes, surprises, and the promise that anything is possible.

NYC Premiere Screening

Original title: Išgyventi vasarą

Director: Marija Kavtaradzė

Runtime: 90 min

Language: Lithuanian with English subtitles

2018 - Lithuania

Screening date & time: Saturday, November 9, 6:30 pm

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening

 

 


 

Take It or Leave It

One sleepy Saturday morning, 30-year-old construction worker Erik gets some earth-shattering news: His ex-girlfriend Moonika, whom he hasn’t seen in six months, is about to go into labor with his child. Having decided that she isn’t ready for motherhood, Moonika is planning to put the little girl up for adoption — unless Erik steps up to the plate. In director Liina Triškina-Vanhatalo’s compassionate and thought-provoking portrait of a young man at a crossroads in modern Estonia, this is just the first of many difficult decisions Erik will need to make as he learns to become a hero of everyday life, one ready to fight tooth and nail in order to be a father.

NYC Premiere Screening

Original title: Võta või jäta

Director: Liina Triškina-Vanhatalo

Runtime: 102 min

Language: Estonian with English subtitles

2018 - Estonia

Screening Date & Time: Sunday, November 10, 4:30 pm

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening

 

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2019 NYBFF Screening Schedule

Click onto each film to read more details. A PDF copy is also available at the bottom of this section.

Thursday, November 7

Friday, November 8

Saturday, November 9

Sunday, November 10


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tickets now on sale

Tickets are now on sale here via Scandinavia House's Eventbrite box office.

Ticket prices: $14 regular admission (children 12 and under, $8); $10 for Scandinavia House/ASF members

Festival series pass: $125 ($80 for ASF members). Festival pass holders receive an invitation to the Opening Night reception.

Tickets will also be on sale at the box office on the day, but we cannot guarantee seating in case of high online sales demand. So we recommend booking early.


Opening Night: Thursday NOVEMBER 7, 2019 - 6:30 PM

MOTHERLAND

Lithuania, 2019, 96 min.

NYC Premiere Screening

Preceded by “Baltic Way” (Balti kett), Estonian director Ants Vill’s short film presents newsreel footage of the Baltic Way from 1989, 10 min.

Tickets to the Opening Night Screening are automatically reserved for 2019 NYBFF Festival Pass buyers, who are also then invited to the post-screening VIP reception.


Friday, november 8, 2019 - 5:00 pm

BALTIC FREEDOM WAY

Latvia, 2014, 52 min.

NYC Premiere Screening

preceded by

BALTIC WAY

Lithuania, 1989, 10 min.

NYC Premiere Screening


Friday, november 8, 2019 - 7:15 pm

PANK

Estonia, 2018, 108 min.

North America Premiere Screening

preceded by:

ANTHOLOGY OF THE PLOT

Lithuania, 2015, 27 min.

North America Premiere Screening

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening.


saturday, november 9, 2019 - 9:30 AM

MY FATHER THE BANKER

Latvia, 2014, 70 min.

North American Premiere Screening


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2019 - 11:00 Am

THE LITTLE COMRADE

Estonia, 2018, 100 min.

NYC Premiere Screening

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening.


Saturday, November 9, 2019 - 1:00 PM

PARADISE ‘89

Latvia, 2018, 91 min.

NYC Premiere Screening


Saturday, november 9, 2019 - 2:45 pm

ROOTS

Estonia, 2018, 102 min.

U.S. Premiere Screening


Saturday, NOVEMBER 9, 2019: 5:00 pm

ANIMUS ANIMALIS

Lithuania, 2018 - 69 min.

North American Premiere Screening

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening.


Saturday, november 9, 2019 - 6:30 pm

SUMMER SURVIVORS

Lithuania 2018, 91 min.

NYC Premiere Screening

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening.


Saturday, november 9, 2019 - 8:15 pm

SPOON

Latvia, 2019, 66 min.

North American Premiere Screening

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening


Sunday, NOVEMBER 10, 2019 - 3:00 pm

JACOB, MIMMI AND THE TALKING DOGS

Latvia, 2018, 70 min.

North American Premiere Screening


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2019 - 4:30 PM

TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT

Estonia, 2018, 102 min.

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening.


Sunday, November 10, 2019 - 7:00 PM

MOTHERLAND

Lithuania, 2019, 96 min.

New York Premiere Screening

Q & A with filmmakers following the screening.



... don't forget to eat before or after the films ... 

Before or after the screening visit Smörgås Chef at Scandinavia House. Specializing in fine Scandinavia cuisine, the restaurant delights guests with a variety of Scandinavian sandwiches, salads, appetizers, entrées, and pastries. Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, with special prix fixe menus available. Hours: 11 am - 9 pm Monday-Saturday and Sunday 11 am - 4 pm.

 

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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS !

The New York Baltic Film Festival organizers thanks our sponsors and publicity partners - the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and their respective national film centers for helping to make this festival possible. And to the American Scandinavian Foundation and Scandinavia House and staff for hosting the festival.

Learn more about the cinema industry in the Baltic countries and latest film news at these websites.


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Film Schedule - 2018 NYBFF - archive

What we screened at the 2018 New York Baltic Film Festival

Thursday October 18

Friday October 19

Saturday October 20

Sunday October 21