November 9 2023

This is how the opening night of the Noordelijk Film Festival went

The screening of Fallen Leaves at Stadsschouwburg De Harmonie in Leeuwarden kicked off the 43rd edition of the Noordelijk Film Festival on Wednesday night. This year’s theme is Home.

Prior to the award-winning film by Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki, a number of leading actors from the organising Film in Friesland foundation entered the stage. Board chairman Tom van Mourik introduced new director Hester Simons, but not before thanking his predecessor – Jacqueline Schrijver, present in the room – at length. ”We face the future with confidence and you have played a big part in that,” he addressed her. Multiple applause came her way.

Simons is looking forward to her first Noordelijk Film Festival as director. ,,We have great programming with diverse offerings. It is a celebration of creativity,” she said. ,,The theme of ‘home’ is expressed in special ways. We have additionally done our best to encourage talent development.”

She concluded her opening with a word of thanks. ,,I am happy with the support we are privileged to receive from funds, from sponsors, governments and friends. This shows that they think it is important for the festival to stay. I would also like to thank the many volunteers very much. Because besides support in finance, we also need the ‘hands’. That’s what we float on as a festival.”

After some “exciting corona years”, ticket sales are going well in the run-up to the festival, Simons mentioned. “Glad you all managed to find the walk to De Harmonie again this year,” she addressed the packed room.

Next up was the three members of the Noordelijk Film Festival programme team. They all highlighted some personal favourites. In addition to the Spotlight programme on Aki Kaurismäki and Nordic Focus, Harmen Huizenga named the new Sounds & Cinema line, which includes nine music films. “That will be a treat for the eyes and ears,” he said of the screening of the film Blackmail enhanced with live music.

Marrit Greidanus addressed the Memmetaal programme. “We programmed a collection of films from small language areas for the first time,” she said. In addition, Marrit tipped off the world premiere of ‘Vogels kun je niet melken’ on Saturday 11 November.

Loes Brinkman closed the line by highlighting the titles from the line Dutch Quirky. “A lot of beautiful things are being made nearby,” is her opinion. That includes the titles in the Northern Crown line-up, where a Noorderkroon Award will be presented in seven categories on Sunday.

Before the film Fallen Leaves really kicked off, the four toasted in style: with a special Noordelijk Film Festival beer. ,,Tsjoch!”