New York Baltic Film Festival announced at Scandinavia House, November 3-14
The fourth annual New York Baltic Film Festival presented by Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America returns in 2021 as a hybrid festival with in-person and virtual screenings from November 3-14.
This year, the festival will present eleven feature films and one television series with three international premieres, four North American premieres and an American premiere, two New York premieres and an East Coast premiere. Filmmakers will be present at a number of premieres to participate in post-screening Q&A.
The festival kicks off on Wednesday November 3 at Scandinavia House (58 Park Ave., NYC) with the east coast premiere of Goodbye Soviet Union (Estonia, Finland), a playful, nostalgic and uplifting comedy that follows the life and misadventures of Johannes and his eccentric Ingro-Finnish family during the waning era of the Estonian Soviet Republic. Lauri Randla’s feature debut won the Audience Award at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival last year.
The film perfectly embodies the theme of this year’s festival: Adaptation and Resistance. Jūle Rozīte, Head of Festival Programs, says: “The past two years have thrown us all off balance and forced us to rethink our daily routines, expectations and future plans. But this is not the first time in recent history that the Baltic States have seen their daily lives turned upside down. And by digging deeper into these stories, maybe we can learn a thing or two.
The theme of adaptation and resistance is repeated throughout this year’s program, including narrative elements such as the North American premiere of Runner (Lithuania, Czechia), a hard-hitting and dynamic drama about love in leak; The American premieres of In The Mirror, the modern reimagining of the fairy tale Snow White by Latvian author Laila Pakalniņa, and the wacky genre gem Kratt, a bleak, cheerfully chaotic and absurd take on an Estonian myth; the international premiere of the first Latvian western Wild East; and the New York premieres of the historic spy thriller Dawn of War (Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania) and the visually dazzling murder mystery Isaac (Lithuania), both grappling with personal guilt in the atrocities of the Second World War. The festival will also present the international premiere of the first two episodes of the television miniseries Emīlija – Queen of the Press (Latvia), a 1920s drama about Emīlija Benjamiņš, the most powerful press and fashion mogul in the world. ‘between two wars.
The festival’s lineup also includes feature documentaries, such as the North American premiere of A Year Full of Drama (Estonia) about a woman who has never been to the theater tasked with seeing every play produced in the country; the international premiere of Tree Opera (Latvia) on the staging of an unconventional opera in a wild forest in Finland, and the North American premiere of Gentle Warriors (Lithuania, Estonia), retracing the physical and emotional transformation of women military service volunteers when conscription for men was reintroduced to Lithuania; and The Jump (Lithuania), a story stranger than the fiction of a Lithuanian sailor trying to defect from the USSR by jumping aboard an American ship off Martha’s Vineyard at the height of the Cold War.
The opening night celebration at Scandinavia House on November 3 will begin with the screening Goodbye to the Soviet Union at 7 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session from the filmmaker and the opening reception, open VIP pass holders and special guests. Goodbye Soviet Union will have an in-person reminder screening on Saturday, November 6 at noon and will be available to stream for virtual pass holders from Sunday, November 7.
From November 3-7, screenings and in-person events of the festival will take place at Scandinavia House in New York City, presented in accordance with new Covid-19 safety guidelines and protocols. Following the success of last year’s festival, the online version will once again be available to viewers across the United States via a streaming platform from November 5-14.
Wednesday November 3
Opening night celebration
7:00 p.m .: Goodbye Soviet Union (Hüvasti, NSVL, dir. Lauri Randla, Estonia / Finland, 2020, Narrative) * Open to VIP Pass holders only. *
Thursday, November 4
6 p.m .: In The Mirror (Spogulī, dir. Laila Pakalniņa, Latvia / Lithuania, 2020, Narrative)
8 p.m .: Runner (B? -Gik? -, dir. Andrius Blaževičius, Lithuania / Czech Republic, 2021, Narrative)
Both films are available virtually from Friday, November 5
Friday 5 November
6 p.m .: Gentle Warriors (Švelnūs kariai, dir. Marija Stonyt? -, Lithuania / Estonia, 2019, Documentary)
8 p.m .: Dawn of War (O2, Dir. Margus Paju, Estonia / Finland / Latvia / Lithuania, 2020, Narrative)
Both films will be available virtually from Saturday 6 November
Saturday 6 November
12 noon: Goodbye Soviet Union (Hüvasti, NSVL, dir. Lauri Randla, Estonia / Finland, 2020, Narrative)
2 p.m .: Tree Opera (Koku Opera, dir. Mārtiņš Grauds, Latvia, 2020, Documentary)
3:30 p.m .: Isaac (Izaokas, dir. Jurgis Matulevičius, Lithuania, 2019, Narrative)
6 p.m .: Kratt (dir. Rasmus Merivoo, Estonia, 2020, Narrative)
8:30 p.m .: Wild East (Kur vedīs ceļš, dir. Matīss Kaža, Latvia, 2021, Narrative)
All movies virtually available from Sunday, November 7
Sunday November 7
1 p.m .: A Year Full of Drama (Aasta täis draamat, dir. Marta Pulk, Estonia, 2019, Documentary)
3.30 p.m .: Emīlija – The queen of the press (Emīlija. Latvijas preses karaliene, dir. Andis Mizišs & Kristīne Želve, Latvia, 2021)
6 p.m .: The Jump (dir. Giedre Zickyte, Lituanie, 2021, Documentary)
All movies virtually available from Monday, November 8
The in-person pass (Early Bird: $ 100 / $ 70 for ASF members; ASF regular members at $ 120 / $ 90) grants access to all screenings in person at Scandinavia House, with the exception of the opening night. The Virtual Pass (Early Bird: $ 100 / $ 70 ASF members; regular members $ 120 / $ 90 ASF) gives access to all virtual screenings of the festival’s films streaming on the Elevent platform. The VIP pass ($ 325) grants access to all in-person and virtual screenings, two opening night tickets, six additional in-person screening tickets for one guest, a NYBFF mug, and personal recognition on the NYBFF website. The 5 film package ($ 40 / $ 30 ASF members) gives access to five in-person or virtual screenings, or a combination of the two. Individual in-person and virtual screening tickets ($ 14 regular; $ 9 for ASF members) will also be available for purchase.
All participants are required to present proof of vaccination upon arrival in accordance with the New York State government; read more here. Participants are required to follow all Scandinavia House safety protocols, including wearing masks during the program and observing social distancing rules in signage.