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Helsinki International Film Festival ends today with Savoy theatre screenings

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Helsinki International Film Festival culminates with two highly anticipated film screenings in Savoy theatre, Mia Hansen-Løve’s THINGS TO COME and a new J. A. Bayona film A MONSTER CALLS. During the 11 days of the festival there were almost 500 screenings that included 180 feature films and ca 180 short films from all over the world.

This year has been a very challenging one due to exceptionally difficult situation with film theatres in Helsinki. Three main venues from the past years are closed this year: Bio Rex, Maxim and Kino Engel. Therefor festival screenings have spread around the capital and Kino Tapiola in Espoo. Despite the challenging situtation the festival screenings got about 57 000 viewers.

“It has been a pleasure to see our amazing crowd to have such wide interest to quality cinema from all over the world. In addition to that I feel humbled by the patience and stamina of the crowd who have to bear with the challenge of the wide spread venues that we have been forced to deal with this year”, the artistic director of the festival, Pekka Lanerva says.

HIFF had the honor of hosting dozens of filmmaker guests including the three-time Cannes winner, Cristian Mungiu, who attended the festival with his latest film GRADUATION. From France arrived Lucile Hadžihalilović with her powerful and highly anticipated second feature EVOLUTION. The Russian director Andrei Nekrasov awoke a vivid discussion with his politically charged documentary THE MAGNITSKY ACT – BEHIND THE SCENES.

Alongside the opening film ELLE the festival’s audience favourites included the Finnish film SAMURAI RAUNI, Cristian Mungiu’s GRADUATION, Daniel Radcliffe film SWISS ARMY MAN plus the highly entertaining Richard Linklater film EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!. Other crowd pleasers included the new films from the popular L&A directors like Park Chan-wook’s THE HANDMAIDEN, the new Todd Solondz film WIENER-DOG, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ENDLESS POETRY, Taika Waititi’s HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE and the indie pearl CERTAIN WOMEN by Kelly Reichardt. Also the music films MILES AHEAD and SING STREET, magical moments offered by THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS and THE BOY AND THE BEAST.

Other high points of the festival included the talked-about retrospective by Swedish talent Ninja Thyberg and John Michael McDonagh’s buddy comedy WAR ON EVERYONE that offered big laughs in sold out screenings.

Audience Award to Thomas Bidegain’s LES COWBOYS

The HIFF Audience Award was won by the directorial debut by Thomas Bidegain. Voting was organised by HIFF and the National Audiovisual Institute. Bidegain is the man behind several L&A show stoppers. He has written several award winning and highly appreciated films directed by Jacques Audiard including A Prophet, Rust and Bone and Dheepan. LES COWBOYS repurposes the narrative codes of the classic western to explore the complexities of a disrupted world. LES COWBOYS will be screened five times in Orion theatre in November: 12.11., 15.11., 20.11., 23.11. and 30.11.

Finnish Film Affair presented domestic films to international buyers

HIFF’s three-day industry sidebar Finnish Film Affair presented domestic films to international buyers and trade press. For the second time FFA awarded a film project showing international potential with the Best Pitch Award. The award was split between director Dome Karukoski with his project Tom of Finland and the follow-up for the Punk Syndrome by Jukka Kärkkäinen titled Post Punk Disorder. Also other works in progress presented in FFA are highly anticipated. Especially interesting projects include such titles as Euthanizer by Teemu Nikki, The Uknown Soldier by Aku Louhimies and Thick Lashes of Lauri Mäntyvaara by first time director Hannaleena Hauru.

HIFF tour brings festival pearls all around Finland

The HIFF tour brings festival pearls to over 20 places after the festival. Some of the HIFF films have been screened during the festival in Malmitalo. Further information will be released next week. Further information in Finnish Hiff.fi/kiertue.

The 30th Helsinki International Film Festival will be organised on September 14th –24th 2017. We’re collecting festival memories, please share them here.