The New York Baltic Film Festival Returns in November: In-Person and Virtually

19.10.2022. 18:08

The Fifth Annual New York Baltic Film Festival (NYBFF) presented by Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America returns on November 2-13, 2022 as a hybrid festival screening the best new and critically-acclaimed Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian films in-person in New York City November 2-6 and virtually November 4-13. This year, the festival will showcase 15 feature films – 10 narrative and 5 documentaries — with eight North American premieres, one U.S. premiere, and one New York premiere. Most of the filmmakers will be in New York to participate in Q&As after many of the premieres.

The festival will kick off on Wednesday, November 2 at Scandinavia House (58 Park Ave., NYC) with a screening of the animated feature My Love Affair With Marriage (Latvia/USA/Luxembourg) by Latvian-born and Brooklyn-based Signe Baumane. The film is a wild semi-autobiographical musical journey inside the mind of Zelda, exploring the notions of love, sex, and romance through the lens of neurochemistry. Baumane’s fiercely original and visually arresting work was recognized with the Jury Distinction for Feature Film at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival this year.

The festival’s program includes 5 more films from Latvia: LAME-OS (Tizlenes, Dir. Marta Elīna Martinsone, Latvia/Czech Republic, 2021), SISTERS (Māsas, Dir. Linda Olte, Latvia/Italy/Czech Republic, 2022), HOMO SOVIETICUS (Homo Sovieticus, Dir. Ivo Briedis. Latvia/Lithuania/Czech Republic, 2021), ROCKS IN MY POCKETS (Akmeņi manās kabatās, Dir. Signe Baumane. USA/Latvia, 2014), and MY FATHER THE SPY (Spiegs, kurš mans tēvs, Dir. Jaak Klimi & Gints Grūbe. Latvia/Germany/Czech Republic/Estonia, 2019). Latvian filmmakers have also participated in producing two other films: The Sleeping Beast (Latvia/Estonia) un Songs for a Fox (Latvia/Estonia/Lithuania).

The films embody this year's festival theme Past or Present, inspired by the intense emotional response felt in the Baltic countries following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Jūle Rozīte, the festival's Head of Programs, states: “When the war started, Eastern Europeans and many of us globally experienced the dissonance of seeing both past and present play out simultaneously. Suddenly, family traumas and collective memories were forced to the surface, as the inherited stories of occupation we have grown up hearing were playing out in real-time in Ukraine. Cinema from the Baltics can remind us of what was, act as a warning, elicit communal resistance and instill hope for a better tomorrow.”

The theme of Past or Present recurs throughout the festival’s program. It is especially embodied by the U.S. Premiere of Mariupolis 2 (Lithuania/Germany/France), a powerful documentary about Russia’s brutal siege of Mariupol in Ukraine this year by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravičius, who was tragically killed during filming. Mariupolis 2 was recognized with a Golden Eye Special Mention at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. We are also proud to present the film’s predecessor, Mariupolis (Ukraine/Lithuania/Germany/France), in which Kvedaravičius documented the lives of people during Russia’s attacks on Mariupol back in 2014.

The Opening Night Celebration on Wednesday, November 2 at Scandinavia House (58 Park Ave., NYC) will start with My Love Affair With Marriage screening in-person at 6:30 PM, followed by an Opening Reception open to VIP Passholders and special guests. My Love Affair With Marriage will have an encore screening later in the festival.

From November 2-6, festival in-person screenings and events will continue to take place at Scandinavia House in New York. The online version will once again be available to viewers all across the U.S. on Scandinavia House’s streaming platform from November 4-13.

For program announcements, you can subscribe to the festival newsletter at and Scandinavia House newsletter at For more immediate updates, follow NYBFF on Instagram and Facebook. Subscribe to the NYBFF YouTube Channel for festival trailers, filmmaker Q&As and other exclusive video content.

All passes and tickets can be purchased on the festival website:


Established in 2018, the New York Baltic Film Festival is presented and organized by Scandinavia House in collaboration with the Consulate General of Estonia, Consulate General of Lithuania, and Daris Delins, Honorary Consul for Latvia in Vermont and founder of the festival.

Financial support for the festival comes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, the Permanent Mission of Latvia to the U.N. in New York, the American Latvian Association, Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, the PBLA Culture Fund, the National Film Center of Latvia, the Estonian Film Institute, Consulate General of Lithuania in New York,  Lithuanian Film Center, and the Edhard Corporation with additional sponsorship by the Estonian American National Council,  Lithuanian Foundation, Consulate General of Estonia in New York, and Sondra Litvaitytė.


BURIAL (Kapinynas, Dir. Emilija Škarnulytė. Lithuania/Norway, 2022, Documentary, 60 mins. In Lithuanian and English with English subtitles) *New York Premiere

Burial gazes through the radioactive ruins that we’re creating from the eyes of a future archeologist. Dive into the haunted depths of inaccessible places and the time that is being buried there.

HOMO SOVIETICUS (Homo Sovieticus, Dir. Ivo Briedis. Latvia/Lithuania/Czechia, 2021, Documentary, 70 mins. In Latvian, English, Russian with English subtitles)

*North American Premiere

In a psychological portrait of the totalitarian mind through the eyes of the last Soviet generation and the lingering effects of occupation, director Ivo Briedis and writer Rita Ruduša examine themselves and their contemporaries from several countries that were once behind the Iron Curtain.

LAME-OS (Tizlenes, Dir. Marta Elīna Martinsone, Latvia/Czechia, 2021, Narrative, 101 mins. In Latvian with English subtitles) *North American Premiere

With the new millennium fast approaching, three high school girls on the brink of graduation decide to change their lives to become the most popular girls in school. Lame-os is a fun, colorful, nostalgic musical about friendship and Latvian high school life.


MARIUPOLIS (Mariupolis, Dir. Mantas Kvedaravičius. Ukraine/Lithuania/Germany/France, 2016, Documentary, 90 mins. In Russian with English subtitles) **Virtual screening only
​​A man repairs his fishing net and goes out to the bridge. Two trams run into each other – nobody is hurt and cables are fixed the same day. A small concert is given for factory workers and the violinist's sincere performance makes them cry. Bombs fall into the sea and no one notices. This is Mariupol; where everyday life is defined by the threat of violence in the background.

(Mariupolis 2, Dir. Mantas Kvedaravičius. Lithuania/Germany/France, 2022, Documentary, 112 mins. In Russian with English subtitles)
*U.S. Premiere **In-Person screening only
In 2022, Mantas Kvedaravičius went back to Ukraine, at the heart of the war, to be with the people he met and filmed in 2015. Following his death there, his producers and collaborators have put all their strength into continuing to disseminate his work, his vision, and the story of the people of Mariupol.

MY FATHER THE SPY (Spiegs, kurš mans tēvs, Dir. Jaak Klimi & Gints Grūbe. Latvia/Germany/Czechia/Estonia, 2019, Documentary, 83 mins. In Russian, English, Swedish and Latvian with English subtitles) **Virtual screening only
As a young Soviet student in 1978, Ieva could not have predicted that a holiday visit to her father, Imants Lešinskis, working in the Soviet mission at the United Nations in New York City, would irreversibly split her life in two.

(Mans laulību projekts, dir. Signe Baumane. Latvia/USA/Luxembourg, 2022, Narrative, 108 mins. In English, no subtitles)
*Opening Night Film **In-Person screenings only
In this animated coming-of-age musical, Zelda (and her brain) try to grapple with hormones, societal pressure, the Soviet regime and falling in and out of love.

PILGRIMS (Piligrimai, Dir. Laurynas Bareiša. Lithuania, 2021, Narrative, 92 mins. In Lithuanian with English subtitles)

Indre and Paulius travel to the small town where a gruesome crime was once committed and learn it is not as easy as they expected to revisit the past.

ROCKS IN MY POCKETS (Akmeņi manās kabatās, Dir. Signe Baumane. USA/Latvia, 2014, Narrative, 88 mins. In Latvian with English subtitles) **Virtual screening only
In Latvia in the 1920s, Anna falls in love with an adventurous entrepreneur 30 years her senior. But with marriage comes jealousy, and the entrepreneur hides Anna away in the forest where she bears him eight children. Years later, Signe, a young artist, asks her father how her grandmother died.

SANDRA GETS A JOB (Sandra saab tööd, Dir. Kaupo Kruusiauk. Estonia, 2021, Narrative, 96 mins. In Estonian with English subtitles) *North American Premiere

Suddenly without a job, Sandra, a Doctor of Physics, finds herself in increasingly baffling, comical, and hypocritical situations. Can she remain herself and find a job at the same time?

SISTERS (Māsas, Dir. Linda Olte, Latvia/Italy/Czechia, 2022, Narrative, 90 mins. In Latvian with English subtitles) *North American Premiere **In-Person screening only

Two sisters from a Latvian orphanage are about to be adopted by an American family. While Diana cannot wait, her older sister Anastasia holds out hope that their biological mother will finally take responsibility for them.

THE SLEEPING BEAST (Tagurpidi torn, Dir. Jaak Kilmi. Estonia/Latvia, 2022, Narrative, 101 mins. In Estonian with English subtitles) *North American Premiere

Joyful summer days turn sinister when a group of carefree young kids have a run-in with the janitor of the abandoned building where they play. The morality of right and wrong is put to the test. But everything is fine ... as long as you don’t tell anyone.

SONGS FOR A FOX (Dainos Lapei, Dir. Kristijonas Vildžiūnas, Lithuania/Latvia/Estonia, 2021, Narrative, 125 mins. In Lithuanian with English subtitles) *North American Premiere

After his lover's death, a rock singer studies the art of lucid dreaming and descends into the netherworld in hopes of finding her again. A surrealist tale from inside the mind’s eye, Songs For a Fox weaves together dreams with the lethargic realism of post-Soviet small-town life. 

TREE OF ETERNAL LOVE (Kiik, kirves ja Igavese Armastuse Puu, Dir. Meel Paliale. Estonia, 2021, Narrative, 82 mins. In Estonian with English subtitles) *North American Premiere
Haunted by a recent breakup, Kiik, a young car mechanic, sets out to chop down the tree on which he once naively etched the initials of his former girlfriend. Bringing his best friend along for the quirky, colorful, and unpredictable road trip, the two find that the journey to the tree is not as straight as they think.

u.Q. (Dir. Ivar Murd, Estonia, 2021, Documentary, 83 mins. In Estonian with English subtitles)

*North American Premiere

The story of international phenomenon Uku Kuut and his mother and creative collaborator, Maryn E. Coote (known as the Estonian jazz diva Marju Kuut) is a journey through different musical niches and sub-genres. Visually captivating, their highly original story evokes a Greek comedy captured on 8mm, VHS, and BETA tape.