SFFLA 2015: 16th Scandinavian Film Festival LA this month!

European masters of cinema Roy Andersson, Pirjo Honkasalo, Bent Hamer, Ruben Ostlund headline this year's line-up of terrific films!

Festival is dedicated to the loving memory of David Larson 11/1/50--10/26/2014 partner and pathfinder, co-founder and collaborator, without whose hard work, love and generosity, SFFLA would not have been possible.

There are over 20 full-length and short features that are scheduled to screen on two weekends this month. On January 17, at 8 PM, Swedish master Roy Andersson (Songs from the Second Floor) returns with an absurdist, surrealistic and shocking pitch-black comedy, which moves freely from nightmare to fantasy to hilariously deadpan humour as it muses on man’s perpetual inhumanity to man. The third part of his “living” trilogy, "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence" premiered at the 71st Venice International Film Festival where it was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film.

On January 18, at 7:30 PM, Oscar-nominated director Bent Hamer (Kitchen Stories) presents a film that revolves around Anna, a scientist who specializes in weights and measures, lives a life of precision, rigidity and solitude. But when her father, a fellow scientist, suffers a heart attack, Anna’s world falls out of perfect alignment. Wry and winsome, "1001 Grams", follows Anna on a journey from Norway to France and back, as she attempts to find the right balance in her life.

On January 24, two films, both Oscar submissions will also screen.

Ruben Ostlund's "Force Majeure" tells of a family on a ski vacation in the French alps who find themselves staring down an avalanche while they’re having lunch one day. In the aftermath, the family dynamic is shaken to the core after the father “runs for his life” to save himself.

Finnish master Pirjo Honkasalo's "Concrete Night", a dream-like odyssey through beautiful Helsinki over the course of one night for two brothers whose chaotic home is in the heart of a concrete jungle in Helsinki, will also screen. The protagonist of the film is a 14 year-old boy on a journey of self-discovery. His unpredictable mother wants him to spend the evening with his older brother who has one last day of freedom before starting a prison sentence.

This is the 16th edition of Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. and is made possible by a great audience of savvy L.A. film lovers, industry professionals, "homesick Nordics" and Baltic neighbors-- and people connected to the top of Europe through heritage, life experience, business, the arts-- or just a great sense of discovery. It doesn't happen by accident-- please consider becoming a donor today!  Check out the program on the web-site: http://www.scandinavianfilmfestivalla.com/current-schedule.php

This year's edition will be held at the Writers Guild Theater, Beverly Hills over two weekends: January 17, 18, 24, 25, 2015. Part of  the "winter film season" build up to awards-- SFFLA was launched in 2000, offering a program of films from the top of Europe, showcasing Nordic films and filmmakers, with as many as possible of the Nordic Oscar submissions in the context of current feature, documentary and short films-- and now with a bonus Baltic component of select films from around the Baltic neighborhood including. Starting in 2014 with  BALTIC FILM EXPO @SFFLA the festival initiated cinematic offerings from the three Baltic nations - Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

The full line-up and screening schedule is below:

Saturday, January 17
11:00AM: The Optimists, Norway, 2013, 90 minutes, Brunhild Westhagen
1:00PM: It's Only Make-Believe, Norway, 2013, 91 minutes, Arild Ostin Ommundsen
3:00PM: Antboy:2, Denmark, 2014, 77 minutes, Ask Hasselbalch
4:30PM: Sorrow and Joy, Denmark, 2013, 107 minutes, Nils Malmros (Oscar Submission)
6:30PM: Opening Gala and Buffet, Great Food & Drinks to open SFFLA's 16th Anniversary year!
8:00PM: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Contemplating Existence, Sweden, 2014, 101 minutes, Roy Andersson

Sunday, January 18
11:00AM: The Whale Valley, Iceland, 2013, 15 minutes, Gudmundur Gudmundson
11:15AM: Life in a Fishbowl, Iceland, 2014, 130 minutes, Baldwin Zophoniasson (Oscar Submission)
2:00PM: Speedwalking, Denmark, 2014, 109 minutes, Niels Arden Oplev
5:00PM: Heart of a Lion, Finland, 2013, 104 minutes, Dome Karukoski
7:30PM: 1001 Grams, Norway, 2014, 93 minutes, Bent Hamer (Oscar Submission)

Saturday, January 24
10:30AM: Ivan's Day, Estonia, 2014, 30 minutes, Ivan Pavljutskov
11:30AM: In the Crosswind, Estonia, 2014, 87 minutes, Martti Helde
3:30PM: Concrete Night, Finland, 2013, 96 minutes, Pirjo Honkasalo (Oscar submission)
5:00PM: Force Majeure, Sweden, 2014, 118 minutes (Oscar submission)
7:30PM: SWEA Grant Presentation, The Dog Walker will be shown (short)
8:00PM: Miss Julie, Sweden, 2013, 85 minutes, Mikael Berg

Sunday, January 25
11:00AM: Pioneer, Norway, 2013, 111 minutes, Erik Skjoldbjaerg
1:15PM: The Gambler, Lithuania, 2013, 109 minutes, Ignas Jonynas
3:30PM: Raspberry Boat Refugee,Finland, 2014, 87 minutes, Leif Lindblom
5:30PM: In Order of Disappearance, Norway, 2014, 115 minutes, Hans Petter Moland
7:30PM: Itsi Bitsi, Denmark, 2014, 107 minutes, Ole Christian Madsen

See you at the festival!

Raymond Lo

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