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The program coordinators at Helsinki International Film Festival are working hard at the moment to offer yet another mind-blowing selection of the best contemporary film from around the world when the festival starts on September 19th.

And things are looking promising. Already now it’s clear that this year’s program will be smashing! We will show more than 300 films in total, about 160 feature length films and a wide selection of short films.

Some of this year’s themes for the festival include Russia, the Baltic countries, Africa and America – not to forget the all time favorite Asia. We will keep adding new films to our site as more and more titles are being confirmed, so stay tuned! We’ll start off with a sneak peak at three of the  films.

In the eery drama A HIJACKING, a Danish cargo ship gets hijacked close to the Somalian coast. The actors playing the main characters are well known at least to a Scandinavian audience from the immensely popular  political TV drama series Borgen, which depicts a female prime minister’s rise to power. In a Highjacking, Pilou Asbæk plays a chef at the hijacked ship while  Søren Malling plays the CEO of the ship company, who insists on handling the intense telephone negotiations with the hijackers himself.

The film was met with rave reviews both in Scandinavia and North America: Philadelphia Inquirer judged it “one of those perfect films that crop up every few years to prove that with true artistry, even the most exhausted genre can yield something new, rich, and strange.”

The critic at Time Out New York said the film “cuts out all the action heroics usually associated with hostage movies, replacing them with an underlying, nauseating sense of dread; it’s a nail-biter about being under the gun“.

SIGHTSEERS is a road movie by British director Ben Wheatley, where two lovers are touring the British countryside in a caravan van. Most people would probably be less thrilled if their companion went on a raging rampant, killing random people who rub them the wrong way. But Tina, played by Alice Lowe, doesn’t seem to mind. What results is a mixture of comedy and horror movie with more than a few absurd twists.

BASTARDS is an ice cold thriller about sex, money and violence by French director Claire Denis. The film got most votes when we asked our audience on Facebook which one of the movies shown at Lapland’s Midnight Sun Film Festival they would like to see at HIFF. This movie may not be suitable for the faint hearted, but aficionados of the indie rock back  Tindersticks will surely appreciate the band’s work on the soundtrack of the movie.