The 13th SCANDINAVIAN FILM FESTIVAL L.A. (SFFLA) offers a smorgasbord of Nordic cinema at the Writers Guild Theater (135 S. Doheny/at Wilshire) in Beverly Hills January 7, 8, 14, 15. The program focuses on the five Nordic Oscar submissions in the context of additional current feature films, shorts and documentaries from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The annual immersion course in Nordic film is part of the crescendo of film activity leading up to Academy Award nominations and the Awards themselves.
Juha Wuolijoki’s Joulutarina/Christmas story
Opening day, Saturday Jan 7 begins with Finnish Director Juha Wuolijoki’s feature film “Christmas Story.” It’s a film for “kids of all ages” and is preceded by a Norwegian animated short “The Last NorwegianTroll.” “Labrador (Out of Bounds)” from Danish Director Frederikke Aspock follows. “A cinematic chamber play under the open skies” the work wrestles with humanity’s efforts to keep up appearances, and clumsy ways of dealing with secrets.The day continues with an entertaining exploration of issues of gender and of justice– identity and isolation. A delightful Norwegian short, Bald Guy sets the tone, followed by a Norwegian documentary Gender Me. Then comes the Norwegian Oscar submission Happy, Happy from Norwegian filmmaker Anne Sewitsky, whose directorial debut made her a World Cinema Jury Winner at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
The festival opening gala leads into the evening with a reception and buffet preceding a screening of the Swedish Oscar entry– Beyond. Know for her on-screen work, the film is Pernilla August’s directorial debut and stars among others Noomi Rapace who garnered attention for her work as The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo, in the Millennium Trilogy.
Day two– January 8– doesn’t depart from issues of gender and justice as the day “kicks off” with the Norwegian documentary “A Balloon for Allah” from Director Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen followed by an award winning Swedish short “Bekas” from Glenn Lund. Iceland’s Oscar submission follows as “Volcano” from Director Runar Runarsson smolders, rumbles and erupts on the screen. Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, it has been called “a mature and emotionally devastating film directed with extraordinary sensitivity.”
Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen’s A Ballon for Allah

The day continues with a special screening of an American film from Finnish Director Renny Harlin. Harlin, who is at home in Hollywood, is an American success story with many blockbuster films. He will present his film “Five Days of War” and be “on board” for Q & A. Next in line is the Finnish Oscar submission “Le Havre” from the inimitable Aki Kaurismaki. Is it any wonder in a global world that the Finnish Oscar submission is a film in French!?

Renny Harlin’s Five Days of War

The day comes to a comic climax with the Danish Oscar submission Superclasico from Director Ole Christian Madsen. Known both on-screen and as a director, Paprika Steen stars in the mad-cap film about a Danish wife and mother who absconds to Buenos Aires to become a sports agent and falls in love with one of Argentina’s biggest futbol stars, where she is pursued by her estranged husband, who is determined to win her back. “The film is risible proof that all Nordic films are dark and dreary!” says SFFLA Founder/Director James Koenig.
Ole Christian Madsen’s Superclasico
The second week-end unreels on Saturday January 14 with a beautiful Swedish feature documentary “Women and Cows.” Director Peter Gerdehag and shows that also in film making “the cream rises.” Once the cows are out to pasture, the day continues with an Icelandic feature film “Either Way” the feature film debut of Director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson. The film which took top prize at the Turin Film Festival is said to be reminiscent of Aki Kaurismaki’s early style–“at one and the same time” comic,naive, and semi-surrealistic. A Finnish historic period piece follows with Juha Wuolijoki’s “Hella W.” a biopic about a complex and widely talented Finnish woman of influence who as entrepreneur, playwright and politician collaborated with the likes of Bertold Brecht and Maxim Gorky and was ostracized by Finland’s intelligentsia, which disliked the popularity and incendiary politics of her plays, which are now regarded as modern classics. The afternoon continues with Finnish director Zaida Bergroth’s “The Good Son,” the story of a an actress, who after a scandalous premier takes refuge at the old family summerhouse with her two sons. After a raucous week-end party one guest stays on to arouse– in one, love, in another, suspicion.
Zaida Bergroth’s The Good Son

 The evening starts with the presentation of the now annual SWEA (Swedish Women’s Educational Association) film grant. This year’s recipient, Hanna Andersson, will be awarded the grant and offer her short– Erika & Sally to the SFFLA audience. Finally, the day ends with “A Rational Solution” from Swedish Director Jorgen Bergmark, whose film is described as “Two-thirds belly-laugh comedy to one-third precisely observed tragedy…a smart, funny film made for adults that focuses on passion between middle aged protagonists– one of whom played by Pernilla August whose directorial debut (Beyond) is the Swedish Oscar submission.
Sunday Jan 15 starts with “A Journey in my Mother’s Footsteps” from Danish director Dina Rosenmeier, sets out on a journey in the footsteps of her mother Jessie Rosenmeier who since the 1970’s has worked as an activist to improve the lives of orphans and street children in India. Then “Epoca” a short by Danish born Soren Hellerup leads to Danish feature film “Room 304,” Birgitte Staermose’s multi-plot drama which revolves around a mysterious gunshot resonating in the hallways of a Copenhagen hotel. Finnish director Johann Karento’s short “Liv” leads us into the incredible Finnish feature film “Priest of Evil” from Director Oli Saarela, following a serial killer with incredible performances from Peter Franzen and Irina Bjorklund whose work is well know to SFFLA audiences. Then it’s “Headhunters” from Norway and Director Morten Tyldum in which an accomplished headhunter risks everything to obtain a valuable painting owned by a former mercenary.
The festival wraps up with Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjarne Nilsson’s award winning Swedish-French comedy-crime film “Sound of Noise.” It tells the story of a group of musicians who illegally perform music on objects in various institutions of a city. The film is a follow up on a 2001 short screened at SFFLA call Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers. The title comes from the Italian futurist Luigi Russolo’s 1913 manifesto The Art of Noises.
Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson’s Sound of Noise

Parent organization of Scandinavian Film Festival is the American Scandinavian Foundation of Los Angeles. Support for the festival includes individuals, organizations, and corporate sponsorship, with the assistance of The Danish Film Institute, Swedish Film Institute, the Norwegian Film Institute, the Finnish Film Foundation, and the Icelandic Film Centre. The festival is proud to partner with ELMA—European Languages and Movies in America, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, SWEA (Swedish Women’s Educational Association), the Royal Norwegian Consulate, and the Finnish Consulate, with help from the local honorary Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic Consulates in the concerted effort to bring Nordic film culture to the Los Angeles/Hollywood cultural scene.

For further information, and a complete schedule of all films and events, and information on becoming a donor or purchasing tickets, log on to:
http://www.sffla.net or http://www.scandinavianfilmfestivalla.com

or call 323-661-4273

January 7, 2012
10:30 The Last Norwegian Troll (Animation 12 minutes 23 seconds)
11:00 Christmas Story (Finnish feature film) Juha Wuolijoki
1:00 Labrador/ Out of Bounds (Danish feature film 72 minutes) Frederikke Aspock
3:00 BALD GUY (Norwegian short 12 minutes)
GENDER ME (Norwegian documentary)
4:30 Happy, Happy (Norwegian Oscar submission Anne Sewitsky
6:30 Opening gala– reception, buffet
8:00 Beyond (Swedish Oscar entry) Pernilla August
January 8, 2012
10:30 A Balloon for Allah (Norwegian documentary 58 minutes) Ofize Okal Lorentzen
11:30 Bekas Short Sweden Glenn Lund
1:00 Volcano (Icelandic Oscar submission) Runar Runarsson
3:00 p.m. Five Days of War (Presenting Finnish director Renny Harlin with his American film).
In conjunction with Cinema Without Borders
6:00 Le Havre (Finnish Oscar submission 93 minutes) Aki Kaurismaki
8 p.m. Superclasico (Danish Oscar submission) Ole Christian Madsen
January 14, 20121
10:30 A Journey in my Mother’s Footsteps” Danish feature documentary 77 minutes Dina Rosenmeier
12:30 Either Way (Icelandic feature film) Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson
2:30 Hella W. (Finnish feature film) Juha Wuolijoki
5:00 Good Son (Finnish feature film 83 minutes) Zaida Bergroth
7:30 SWEA film grant presentation and screening of recipient’s short film
Erika & Sally Hanna Andersson
8:00 A Rational Solution (Swedish feature film) SWEA Reception after screening Jorgen Bergmark
January 15, 2012
10:30 Women with Cows Peter Gerdenhag (Swedish feature/documentary) 93 minutes
12:15 Epoca Danish short– Soren Hellerup
12:30 Room 304 (Danish feature film 88 minutes)
2:30 Liv (Finnish short Johann Karento)
2:00 Evil Priest (Finnish feature film) Oli Saarela
5:00 Headhunters (Norwegian feature film) Morten Tyldum
7:30 The Sound of Noise (Swedish feature film) Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjarne Nilsson