The 28th Midnight Sun Film Festival (June 12-16) is wrapping up soon. With 27 000 visitors to the festival, last year’s audience record is set to be broken. Films were screened in four venues around the clock with a total of over one hundred screenings of more than 80 different films being shown.
The main part of the program again consisted of the movies of the international top film makers who came to present their work at the festival. Among the guests were
Philip Kaufman from the United States, Marco Bellocchio from Italy, Jan Troell from Sweden, Cristian Mungiu from Romania, Claire Denis from France and Peter Strickland from Great Britain. The guests were also present at Morning Discussions led by Festival Director Peter von Bagh. These discussions are a traditional part of the festival and were once again extremely popular. Other guests at this year’s festival were actor Marino Masé from Italy, Finnish directors Anssi Mänttäri, Pekka Lehto, Mika Taanila, Simo Halinen and Mika Ronkainen, as well as actors Krista Kosonen, Janne Reinikainen and Tommi Korpela. Besides the multifaceted presence of filmmakers, the festival tradition also includes Master Classes that offer new horizons to classic films. This year’s lecturers included three great names of film literature: Olaf Möller from Germany, Jose Manuel Costa from Portugal and Gian Luca Farinelli from Italy.
Buster Keaton’s silent movie The Cameraman was screened with accompanying live music at the circus tent that has been a trademark of the festival since its beginning. This proved to be one of the most popular screenings at this year’s festival. Music for the event was provided by Oulu Symphony Orchestra led by American master conductor Timothy Brock. This was the largest orchestra ever to have played at the festival’s silent film screenings. On Friday night, the same assembly provided the music to a hugely popular screening of Alfred Hitchock’s silent classic Blackmail. Thursday night’s selection of silent shorts was accompanied by Neil Brand and Wednesday’s by Cleaning Women.
The festival’s most popular Finnish movie proved to be Pekka Lehto’s The Surrealist and His Naughty Hand – a visionary take on a legendary artist from Lapland. At the audience’s request, the film got a second screening at the Big Tent. The audience’s favourite re-run screening was of Pedro Almodóvar’s I’m So Excited.
Festival Director Peter von Bagh presented his personal documentary Remembrance. Other Finnish festival guests included directors Ville Suhonen (Tale of a Forest), Susanna Helke (American Vagabond) and Antti Jokinen (Purge), as well as actress Laura Birn (Purge). This year’s karaoke screenings were Hannes Häyrinen’s charming Finnish cult film Iskelmäketju (1959) and the camp classic Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.
Since 1988, the Midnight Sun Film Festival has awarded the Sodankylä Prize to a Finnish person who has contributed significantly to Finnish film culture. In 2013, this honour was given to veteran film distributor Jussi Kohonen.
For more information:
Eero Tammi / Press Secretary
The Big Tent silent film screenings of Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail as well as Keaton and Segdwick’s Cameraman will have live orchestration by the Oulu Symphony Orchestra led by probably the greatest conductor of film music in the world: Timothy Brock. Brock, who currently resides in Bologna, is especially famous for his expertise in the music of Chaplin’s films as well as for arranging and leading Chaplin music. The example of his work seen and heard at the Midnight Sun Film Festival is his unforgettable interpretation of The Gold Rush from a few years ago.
Blackmail was a borderline film – it started out as a silent film, but was also made into a sound picture. Both versions of the film – which are different in interesting ways - were shown simultaneously. Now we are about to experience a sensational performance which in its own way goes back to that borderline: the music created by Neil Brand turn the Blackmail experience into a musical feast that at its core has the musical tradition of Hitchcock films – starting from Bernard Herrmann but not forgetting the other greats, such as Franz Waxman and Dimitri Tiomkin. This is a magnificent synthesis that is also an example of the most original new film music – it is a great film musician’s main work until now.
Image: Santeri Happonen
Every year since 1988, the Midnight Sun Film Festival has awarded a Finnish person who has significantly contributed to Finnish film culture. This year the honour was given for the 26th time. The prize was presented by the festival’s artistic board.
The 2013 Sodankylä Prize honouree is Jussi Kohonen – the grand old man of Finnish film distribution and short film production. In Finland’s current climate with its lack of independent thinking and film policy, film distribution is an area whose independent, maverick significance often seems almost nonexistent. The Midnight Sun Film Festival wants to express gratitude to a person who during his decades-long career has been a magnificent contributor in all areas of film culture.
Jussi was responsible for the Suomi-Filmi company’s distribution work, which included both classics as well as the best of modern cinema. Kohonen’s ability to spot the best new movies was impeccable and it is thanks to him that Finnish audiences were introduced to the works of Godard, Truffaut and Pasolini. Jussi Kohonen’s work was driven by an unconditional love for cinema – the kind of love that these days seems completely absent.
You can reserve tickets in advance, starting on June 4 at 12pm. You can reserve tickets only for venue Lapinsuu screenings and silent film concerts screened at the Big Tent. Please notice that there’s a limited amount of tickets available for presale.
To reserve tickets in advance, please call +358 16 614 526, Mon-Fri between 12pm-4pm. Ticket pre-sale ends on Monday June 10. At the festival, you’ll need to purchase all reserved tickets at once, the latest an hour before the first reserved screening.
Festival preserves a right for any changes in the programme.
Aki Kaurismäki: Tasqueiro (from Centro Histórico)
Aki Kaurismäki’s latest directorial work Tasqueiro (Tavern Man), starring Ilkka Koivula, will receive its awaited Finnish premiere when Centro Histórico (Historic Centre), the episode film by four international top filmmakers, will be screened at the Midnight Sun Film Festival 12. -16.6.2013. The film’s other directors are the Portuguese Manoel de Oliveira, his fellow countryman Pedro Costa, and Victor Erice from Spain.
Along it, we will be treated to the 18-minute music film Bluesia Pieksämäen asemalla, filmed by Kaurismäki in 1988 but only completed towards the end of 2012, headlining Juice Leskinen & co. Peter von Bagh’s new documentary Muisteja, its subject the city of Oulu, will also be screened in Sodankylä, with its premiere e.g. in Helsinki in September.
Besides the Finnish gems announced earlier, the advance screening of The Surrealist and His Naughty Hand (Kalervo Palsa ja kuriton käsi) by Pekka Lehto and the world premiere of Anssi Mänttäri’s The Romance, the Festival audience will be able to attend the premieres of Silmäterä, Jan Forsström’s debut feature, and Ajomies, the “cinematic short story” by Jarkko T. Laine and J-P Passi. Lehto, Forsström and Mänttäri will also be present at the Festival.
This year’s Finnish filmmaker guests also include Simo Halinen, director of Open Up to Me, documentary directors Mika Ronkainen (Finnish Blood, Swedish Heart) and Ville Suhonen (Tale of a Forest), actors Krista Kosonen (Things We Do For Love) and Janne Reinikainen (The Surrealist and His Naughty Hand), and the champion of experimental cinema Mika Taanila with his short films.
Short films to be premiered are On Your Lips by Joonas Rutanen, Pocket Parking by Heikki Kujanpää, The Overcoat of Åke Lindman by Rax Rinnekangas, and Käsilaukku by Mikko Myllylahti. At least Rutanen and Kujanpää will be present in Sodankylä.
The festival will once again screen the best Finnish feature films of the year, and a crème de la crème selection of Finnish short films. Classics, too, will be put in the spotlight: Milka by Rauni Mollberg will be screened appropriately close to the recent fortieth anniversary of the author’s death, and Iskelmäketju by Hannes Häyrinen will ensure an exhilarating karaoke screening in the Midnight Sun Film Festival tradition.
Jan Troell: As White as in Snow
Jan Troell from Sweden and Peter Strickland from the U.K. expand and diversify the high-quality list of the 12.-16.6.2013 Midnight Sun Film Festival foreign guests. Main guests announced earlier include Philip Kaufman, director of The Right Stuff and The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Marco Bellocchio, the last representative of the culmination period of Italian cinema, the French virtuoso director Claire Denis, and the Rumanian Cannes winner Cristian Mungiu.
Jan Troell is the sole talented director of those emerging during the 1960s as Ingmar Bergman’s heirs in Swedish cinema who has retained his quality. Now 81, Troell previously visited Sodankylä in 1992. The Festival will screen the four major works he has made since: Hamsun, a portrait of the Norwegian Nobel Prize author with Nazi leanings, starring Max von Sydow; As White as in Snow, a portrait of Sweden’s first female pilot; Maria Larsson’s Everlasting Moment, the story of a Swedish working woman, Finnish by birth, distinguishing herself in photography, starring Maria Heiskanen, and The Last Sentence, a film about Torgny Segerstedt, a journalist who fought against Nazism in the 1930s.
The British Peter Strickland (born 1973) made his first feature film, Katalin Varga, a woman’s revenge story, in Hungarian and Rumanian in the Transylvanian mountains over the period of five years mainly with money from his inheritance. The result became a Silver Bear award receiving sensation at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival. His next film, Berberian Sound Studio, is something completely else: a stylish thriller about a British sound designer preparing sound effects for a 1970s Italian horror film. In connection with the film, the Festival will screen some of the most delicious cult samples of the Italo Horror of the period.
Philip Kaufman: The Right Stuff (1983)
THE BEST OF HOLLYWOOD MEETS EUROPE'S FINEST
The 28th edition of Midnight Sun Film Festival (12–16 June 2013) is once again proud to present a fabulous selection of the best films in the world on silver screens far north. Filmmaker guests confirmed to this year's festival include Philip Kaufman, the director of The Right Stuff and The Unbearable Lightness of Being; Marco Bellocchio, one of the greatest Italian masters of post-1960s cinema and the director of Fists in the Pocket; Claire Denis, one of the foremost filmmakers of New European cinema who started her career with Dušan Makavejev, Andrei Tarkovsky, Costa-Gavras, Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch; and the director of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and 2007 Golden Palm winner, the Romanian filmmaker of international renown Cristian Mungiu.
The already luxurious constellation of guests is completed by Jem Cohen, the American director of Chain and Museum Hours who is also famous for the music videos he has made for R.E.M. and Patti Smith, and Ahmet Boyacioglu, the general secretary of Festival On Wheels Film Festival, chairman of Ankara Cinema Association and the director of the utterly lovable bar flick Black and White.
This year's selection of silent films, geared to maximum authenticity with live music and radiant with the cinematic glow of decades long gone, includes Alfred Hitchcock's early masterpiece, the top-rate thriller Blackmail (1929), and the Buster Keaton tour-de-force The Cameraman (1928). Music to both films is performed by Oulu Symphony conducted by Timothy Brock.
But that is definitely not all from the silent film front! A programme called Silents with Sound, envisioned by our de facto house band Cleaning Women, is set to screen a selection of early comedies by Charles Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and others. Laurel and Hardy are also the stars of a special programme with new music composed by Neil Brand.
This year's Master Class lectures are given by the Portuguese master José Manuel Costa and the German expert on most things cinematic Olaf Möller, already familiar to many from our past editions.
Finnish filmmakers coming to present their latest films at the festival include Simo Halinen, the director of Open Up to Me, Mika Ronkainen, the director of Finnish Blood Swedish Heart, Krista Kosonen, the female lead of Things We Do For Love and Mika Taanila, our foremost maker of experimental short films.
More films and guests will be announced later. Midnight Sun Film Festival is programmed by festival director Peter von Bagh in collaboration with an artistic committee formed by Aki Kaurismäki, Mika Kaurismäki and Timo Malmi.
You can read full press release here.
The atmosphere of the Midnight Sun Film Festival is one of the most unique in the whole world: the most famous film directors of the world, young directors, the international audience and the inhabitants of Sodankylä meet under the midnight sun in the relaxed and informal "spirit of Sodankylä". This festival is meant for people who truly love the art of cinema, there are no formalities or fancy cocktail parties, one doesn't have to be afraid of getting lost in the jungle of bureaucracy.
Films are screened in four venues for 24 hours a day, and the actual time is easily forgotten: the sun shines as brightly at 4 a.m. as at 4 p.m.