The New York Baltic Film Festival at Scandinavia House

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The Third Annual New York Baltic Film Festival (NYBFF), featuring films from Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian, presented by Scandinavia House returns virtually in three sessions: October 15-18, October 29-November 1, and November 12-15, 2020.

In 2020, NYBFF invites viewers to see the world through Baltic eyes and experience the full spectrum of human emotions – and, ultimately, feel inspired to hope, dream, and seize the opportunity for positive change.

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This year, the festival will expand beyond New York to offer the most exciting and relevant Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian films to audiences across the U.S., to view in the comfort of their own homes. Nine feature films presented this year include three North American premieres and two New York premieres.

Early-bird full festival passes ($50) begin today, Thursday, October 1st, from midnight EDT, and will be available until midnight EDT on Sun., October 4th. The first 25 festival pass buyers will receive a complimentary limited edition NYBFF coffee mug. After October 4th, full festival passes will cost $60 and individual festival session passes will go on sale. All virtual screenings are limited to 300 passes only. Purchase festival passes here.

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Festival trailer: YouTube (embeddable) | Downloadable

This year’s festival will take place over three virtual sessions, with each featuring an Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian feature film, as well as virtual Q&As with filmmakers. The inaugural session LAUGH & CRY (October 15-18) will showcase Baltic comedies: the North American premiere of a witty and wild Midsummer road movie Nearby (Blakus, dir: Alise Zariņa, Latvia), Best Screenplay winner at the Latvian National Film Awards; Chasing Unicorns (Ükssarvik, dir: Rain Rannu, Estonia), a fast-paced satire of the Estonian start-up scene; and the N. American premiere of The Castle (Pilis, dir: Lina Lužytė, Lithuania/Ireland), a heartwarming tale of three generations of women, offering a fresh and nuanced look at economic migration.

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The next session STRESS & RELEASE (October 29-November 1)– just in time for Halloween – will present thrillers from the region: a sleek and seductive psychosexual relationship drama Pretenders (Teesklejad, dir: Vallo Toomla, Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania) that turns the very concept of a home invasion on its head; an intense character study Foam at the Mouth (Ar putām uz lūpām, dir: Jānis Nords, Latvia/Poland/Lithuania) where jealousy, suspicion and a toxic love triangle play out against a backdrop of rabid dogs menacing a small town; and the North American premiere of Invisible (Nematoma, dir: Ignas Jonynas, Lithuania/Latvia/Ukraine/Spain), a suspenseful and visually arresting story of an aging dancer faking blindness for TV spotlight as his dark past emerges from the shadows.

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The final session LOOKING INWARD & FORWARD (November 12-15) will spotlight the latest critically-acclaimed international festival favorites from the Baltic States: a sweeping epic Truth and Justice (Tõde ja õigus, dir: Tanel Toom, Estonia), shortlisted for this year’s Best International Feature Film Academy Award; a gritty and uncompromising drama Oleg (Oļegs, dir: Juris Kursietis, Latvia/Belgium/Lithuania/France) about a migrant worker forced to turn to a life of crime, which premiered at Directors Fortnight at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival; and The Lawyer (Advokatas, dir: Romas Zabarauskas, Lithuania), a visually lush, subversive and endearing love story between a gay Lithuanian lawyer and a Syrian refugee sex worker, which debuted at the BFI Flare London Film Festival this year.

NYBFF Head of Programs Jūle Mare Rozīte says, “This year is all about being adaptable and finding new ways to move forward. Even though travel is restricted world-wide, we can still connect with each other through art – and what better way is there than by understanding what makes people smile, what excites them, and how they see the future. We at NYBFF have had to think on our feet, and have come up with a compact and powerful program that brings the culture and spirit of the Baltic States to audiences across the U.S. with the best new films from the region. Laugh, be thrilled, and get introspective like a Balt!”

Additional ticketing info:

Festival films will be available to pass holders all over the U.S. Full festival pass gives the holder access to the entire festival (9 films). An individual session pass gives the holder access to all films (3 films) in that particular session. Each session is limited to 300 tickets in an effort to preserve the intimate and communal NYBFF experience. The sessions will take place over four days (Thursday-Sunday), and all films from the session will be available for viewing on a virtual cinema screening platform throughout this period. Festival sessions will be accompanied by virtual filmmaker Q&As.

Updates will be added regularly to the website. You can also get immediate updates on the NYBFF website and follow NYBFF on Instagram and Facebook for announcements.



October 15-18

Chasing Unicorns (Ükssarvik, dir: Rain Rannu, Estonia, 2019)

Nearby (Blakus, dir: Alise Zariņa, Latvia, 2019) *North American Premiere

The Castle (Pilis, dir: Lina Lužytė, Lithuania/Ireland, 2020) *North American Premiere


October 29-November 1

Pretenders (Teesklejad, dir: Vallo Toomla, Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania, 2016)

Foam at the Mouth (Ar putām uz lūpām, dir: Jānis Nords, Latvia/Poland/Lithuania, 2017)

Invisible (Nematoma, dir: Ignas Jonynas, Lithuania/Latvia/Ukraine/Spain, 2019) *North American Premiere


November 12-15

Truth and Justice (Tõde ja õigus, dir: Tanel Toom, Estonia, 2019) *New York Premiere

Oleg (Oļegs, dir: Juris Kursietis, Latvia/Belgium/Lithuania/France, 2019) *New York Premiere

The Lawyer (Advokatas, dir: Romas Zabarauskas, Lithuania, 2020)

Established in 2018, the New York Baltic Film Festival is presented by Scandinavia House and organized by the Consulate General of Estonia, Consulate General of Lithuania, and Consulate of Latvia in New York. Financial support for the festival comes from the Estonian Film Institute, National Film Center of Latvia, and Lithuanian Film Center, with additional sponsorship by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, American Latvian Association and LV-100.

For news and more info, follow NYBFF on social media and check the website:

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