Finland’s largest film festival, the Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy, is organized for the 25th time from September 20th until 30th, 2012. The year of celebration brings along a quality programme consisting of more than 180 feature films and 80 short films. An exceptionally big part of the programme comprises of films screened in Finland exclusively at HIFF.
The Opening Film of HIFF 2012 is the appraised BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. The visual masterpiece, which honours magic and forces of nature, has already brought its young director Benh Zeitlin the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, the Golden Camera Prize at Cannes and the FIPRESCI prize, granted by an international jury of film critics.
The HIFF Gala and Closing Film
The HIFF Gala Film is KILLER JOE, the new film by Academy Award winning director William Friedkin. KILLER JOE stars Matthew McConaughey as a creepy cop/contract killer and continues veteran director Friedkin’s (THE EXORCIST, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.) studies on lone wolves haunted by their inner demons. The thriller, with a topping of Southern Gothic and black humour, is based on the play by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts.
The festival’s Closing Film is RUST AND BONE by Jacques Audiard, well known for his tough prison film A PROPHET. Audiard now paints the screen with an intense melodrama which dances on the shadowy side of life. RUST AND BONE stars Marion Cotillard as a killer-whale trainer who gets involved in an unusual romance with a tough guy played by Matthias Schoenaerts. The film saw its world premiere in the Cannes Competition 2012 and has been at the top of critics’ lists in France for several months.
The Finnish Film Gala selection is Arto Halonen’s daring documentary WHEN HEROES LIE, which draws a wretched picture of the doping history of cross-country skiing and especially the scandalous 2001 World Ski Championships held in Lahti. Doping as a worldwide issue is discussed in a panel held at Tavastia Club in Helsinki on September 27th. Panel members include Member of Parliament and former Minister of Justice Tuija Brax, Minister of Culture and Sport Paavo Arhinmäki, Minister Lauri Tarasti and international doping expert Sandro Donati.
Patriotism and heroism is also contemplated in other domestic premieres. THE MARSHAL OF FINLAND, a film about the life of wartime military commander and president Gustaf Mannerheim, sees its international premiere as part of the HIFF Spotlight Selection on September 28th. The film is a production of The Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE. The Finnish Film Week, which screens this year’s domestic premieres, is once again organized as part of the festival.
Pre-screenings and Special Events
This year, the HIFF atmosphere can also be enjoyed before the actual event. The festival introduces an interesting part of its 25th programme in advance with pre-screenings of award-winning films focusing on city space, architecture and design. The pre-screenings are held at the World Design Capital Pavilion in Helsinki on five Sundays preceding the festival. On Saturday, August 18th, HIFF screens animation guru and festival favourite Hayao Miyazaki’s international breakthrough film PRINCESS MONONOKE at an Outdoor Film Picnic, organized together with the Helsinki Festival. During festival dates, HIFF honours its history by screening a series of the most beloved festival classics at Orion theatre in Helsinki. The Outdoor Film Picnic and the Pavilion screenings are free of charge.
Birthday celebrations wouldn’t be satisfactory without a true feast. The special screenings of films in the new Haute Cuisine series, organized together with Kino Engel and Restaurant Sunn, include dinners designed by the chefs of Restaurant Sunn to fit the theme of each film. Films in the series include Christian Vincent’s HAUTE CUISINE, Ken Loach’s whisky scented hit THE ANGELS’ SHARE and Spanish gastronomic drama 18 MEALS.
Along with aging and growing comes the necessity of thinking about change. Thus this year’s HIFF programme includes a fine selection of films dealing with age crises and different periods of life, such as Ignacio Ferreras’s acclaimed animation WRINKLES. Studio Ghibli expectedly also adds its own share of animation to the programme: Goro Miyazaki’s romantic FROM UP ON POPPY HILL sees its Finnish premiere at HIFF.
Berlin and Cannes favourites
The Emerging Europe series consists of new films from Eastern Europe. THE PARADE, Serbian director Srdjan Dragojevic’s comedy dealing with homophobia, won the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlinale and has been a huge success in Balkan countries. The Sea Between Us series includes films such as Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch’s HORSES OF GOD, which was screened in the Un Certain Regard series in Cannes, and Mohamed Diab’s awarded film CAIRO 678.
The HIFF trailer PASSIO is published on Friday, August 10th online at nyt.fi and in Finnkino theatres across Finland. The 2012 festival tabloid will be published on Friday, August 17th. The complete festival programme will be published on Friday, September 7th. The presale of festival passes and catalogues will begin on the same day. Single tickets will be available from Thursday, September 13th.