Bright Nights Baltic-Nordic Film Festival

Estonia's Oscar entry Mushrooming plays at the CFI's Bright Nights Fest.

I’m probably not the only ByTowner checking off the films on Oscar’s Foreign Film list this week, what with nominees A Royal Affair and Amour playing in town. (Amour opens Friday.) However, Ottawans can discover a handful of hidden gems that won’t receive the extra exposure afforded by the Academy’s favour when the Canadian Film Institute holds its annual Bright Nights: Baltic-Nordic Film Festival, which starts this Friday. Bright Nights brings some of the most exciting new films from the Baltic-Nordic countries to Ottawa. 2013 marks the third edition of the Bright Nights Film Festival and its the first time that the fest has partnered up with Winterlude. Enjoy the outdoor activities and warm up by seeing a movie!

Patrons of the CFI had a chance to sample other films from these countries during November’s European Union Film Festival, so Bright Nights might turn explorers into connoisseurs. (And it’s okay if you’re still testing the waters.) For example, I was amazed by Estonia’s Demons at EUFF, so I’m really looking forward to the Estonian entry Mushrooming, which was the country’s official selection for this year’s Oscar race. The Estonian embassy also provided the best spread of free food (and free drinks!) of all the film receptions that I attended at EUFF, so Estonia Night might be especially worth circling on the calendar. Post-screening noms are not guaranteed at the events, as it depends on the embassy, but they’re extra incentive for food-loving film buffs who want to munch, mingle, and discuss the films.

The eight-film programme looks strong overall, with prizewinners and festival favourites included on the slate. There’s also a spoof of a filmmaker’s ambitions for an Oscar in Iceland’s Mamma Gógó. The film even plays the weekend of the Academy Awards, if one wants some added novelty in the programme!

The CFI is offering a special deal for moviegoers who want to visit all the Baltic cinemascapes. For the low price of $40, viewers can nab a pass that admits them to all eight nights of the festival. This pass is a real bargain, since single tickets are $12 a ticket for general audiences and $8 for members/students/seniors.

Bright Nights Baltic-Nordic Film Festival runs Feb. 8 – Mar 1. All screenings are in the auditorium of Library and Archives Canada, 395. Wellington St.

The full line-up for the festival is as follows:

Simon and the Oaks
Sweden | Dir. Lisa Ohlin | 121 min.
-Friday, February 8 at 7:00pm

Finland | Dir. Kimmo Koskela | 86 min.
-Friday, February 15 at 7:00 pm

Denmark | Dir. Mike Magidson | 88 min.
-Friday, February 15 at 9:00 pm
*Director Mike Magidson will be in attendance to present his film and discuss it with the audience.

Mamma Gógó
Iceland | Dir. Friðrik Þór Friðriksson | 90 min.
Friday, February 22 at 7:00 pm

Estonia | Dir. Toomas Hussar | 90 min.
Friday, February 22 at 9:00 pm

Monsieur Taurins
Latvia | Dir. Alexander Hahn | 93 min.
Thursday, February 28, 7:00 pm

Low Lights
Lithuania | Dir. Ignas Miškinis | 92 min.
Thursday, February 28, 9:00 pm

King Curling
Norway | Ole Enderson | 75 min.
-Friday, March 1, 7:00 pm
* Local curlers receive a $2 discount if they attend this screening wearing their curling team jackets/uniforms!

Please visit the CFI’s website for more information.

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