The main film program is ready!

The Tromsø International Film Festival is excited to announce the main film program for TIFF 2023.

Publisert 15.12.2022 — TIFF

The image is from Empire of Light by Sam Mendes (2022)

The Tromsø International Film Festival is excited to announce the main film program for TIFF 2023. The 33rd festival program is a diverse and exciting lineup from around the world, showcasing astonishing films from both contemporary and classic cinema. More than a hundred feature films, short films and documentaries have been launched. Welcome to a week of amazing film experiences January 16th - 22nd.

This year's festival is a tribute to film and cinema, and the fact that we are able to meet each other around film again.

- In these post-pandemic times I think many filmmakers have tried to create something of their own that people can gather around. This is colouring this year's program where we see a rise of queer films, climate activist films, and directors using films to deal with collective traumas. On the other hand, some films also just deal with entering into a good story in another world, in another place, says festival- and program director Lisa Hoen.

Take a look at the program here!


The EAST SIDE STORIES sidebar screens seven films from the border zones around Russia including; Latvia, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine. This very sidebar feels more important than ever, given the circumstances of the war in Ukraine. BUTTERFLY VISIONS is produced and filmed in Ukraine, portraying a female ex-soldier trying to cope with overwhelming traumas. Another title to call attention to is MINSK, an intense single-take depiction of the events that took place in Belarus in August 2020.

- It’s been important for us this year to get a broad representation of films from Russia’s neighbouring countries. Several of the films depict what it is like to live in the Russian sphere of influence. Latvia, Georgia, Belarus and particularly Ukraine is well represented.
We have also decided to not make a general ban on all Russian films, and look forward to presenting Captain Volkonogov Escaped to the audience. It’s directed by Natalya Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov who visited the festival with their previous film back in 2019. The film is a staunch take on the Stalin era, and in my opinion also highly relevant for the situation today, says Deputy program director Henning Rosenlund.

The HORIZONS sidebar is featuring 20 films from all over the world, covering a wide range of genres and styles. One of them is the intricate crime drama from director Park Chan-wook DECISION TO LEAVE. Chan-wook received the Best Director Award in Cannes for this visual masterpiece.

The OVERDRIVE sidebar contains four films that got something in common: they are a bit rougher, crazier, funnier – and in some cases - sicker that the average festival program. The talked about horror film PEARL by director Ti West featuring Mia Goth is both a spoof of and a homage to old Hollywood style.

TIFF has launched a new sidebar program, ARABICA, that explores and highlights the current situation in the Arab world through seven unique films made by a new generation of arab filmmakers.

Our largest and most popular sidebar FILMS FROM THE NORTH is a great mix of northern films questioning what it is like to be young in our region today. We present 43 films reflecting upon the policy of fisheries, war, climate change and peoples relationship to land.


It’s with pleasure TIFF today reveals a retrospective program BEAUTIFUL SHADOWS: PATRICIA HIGHSMITH. She is a filmmaker's favourite, with more than 20 novels being adapted into film. Highsmith's 1950 debut novel STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, was made into a movie already the following year by none less than Alfred Hitchcock. In this mini-portrait, we show a variety of film adaptions – from Alfred Hitchcock to Wim Wenders, in addition to the new documentary LOVING HIGHSMITH which delves into the author’s eventful life.

- Patricia Highsmith’s books have been made into great films so many times that it’s obviously no coincidence. She is still very modern. I think particularly in today’s society where we seem to be obsessed with being righteous and how we project ourselves, her often deeply deceiving characters are very fascinating, says Rosenlund.


The 33rd COMPETITION PROGRAM of TIFF includes 12 critically acclaimed films that are all having their Norwegian premiere at TIFF. JOYLAND is Saim Safiq's debut and coming-of-age tale that plays with color, music, gender stereotypes, and prejudices. This is an emotional and beautiful film about a marginalized group in Pakistan. CORSAGE is Marie Kreutzer's rebellious and tightlaced portrayal of an empress that is refusing to capitulate, waging a war of attrition that results in a glorious climax. EMPIRE OF LIGHT is a powerful story told by director Sam Mendes. Based on Mendes’ own memories, this is a love letter to film and cinema!


The festival will open with the world premiere of ELLOS EATNU – LET THE RIVER FLOW, a powerful and moving drama from the director Ole Giæver. From the perspective of a young Sami activist, the film tells the story of how the Sámi people have been treated in Norway, and how they have fought for their rights.

The CLOSING FILM of the festival is Spielbergs THE FABELMANS. Told with tenderness, empathy, warmth and liveliness, the film explores filmmaking as a way of coping with difficulties in life.

TIFF 2023 promises to be a must-attend event for film lovers from around the world. Tickets for the festival will go on sale on January 9th, 2023, and can be purchased through the TIFF website or by calling the TIFF box office at (+47) 77 60 40 00. Don't miss out on this incredible celebration of cinema in the beautiful city of Tromsø.

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