Nordic Film Days Lübeck Looks Through Foreign Eyes

Nordic Film Days Lübeck has revealed that for its 59th edition (1 – 5 November) there will be a retrospective looking Through Foreign Eyes, which includes the German premiere of Citizen Schein.

For last year’s retrospective, Scandinavians travelled to foreign lands, but this year the focus is on those who have moved to the Nordic countries, and how second and third generation immigrants have used their experiences to explore migration and integration on film.

In keeping with that theme, Nordic Film Days Lübeck will present the German premiere of Citizen Schein (directed by Maud Nycander, Kersti Grunditz Brennan and Jannike Åhlund), a documentary about a refugee who went on to become one of the most significant figures in Swedish film to date.

Austrian Harry Schein (1924 – 2006) arrived in Sweden in 1939 at the age 15 as an unaccompanied minor. He trained as an engineer, patented a water purification system and eventually took over the company he worked for, which he then sold in 1960.

Schein then founded the Swedish Film Institute, and introduced the Film Reform of 1963, which drew 10 percent of box office sales into a central fund to support Swedish films. This ecosystem allowed such icons as Ingmar Bergman, Bo Widerberg, Jan Troell to flourish.

Co-director of Citizen Schein, Jannike Åhlund, told SVT: “We were surprised that there hadn’t been a film about him sooner… He was in public life for decades and achieved so much… With the film reform, he actually saved the Swedish film industry. It was about to be completely wiped out by television.”

The full programme for the 59th Nordic Film Days Lübeck will be announced on October 11th.