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Throughout its history HIFF has strived to find rising film talents before they are the talk of the town. This year continues the tradition, as the festival is visited by a number of  up and coming international filmmakers.

One of HIFF’s guests is Joshua Oppenheimer, who has directed one of the most talked-about documentaries of the year, THE ACT OF KILLING. Oppenheimer often mixes documentary and fictional techniques, which is also apparent in The Act of Killing, which follows former death squad members who try to explain their killing through a bizarre fictional film. The themes in the film are familiar to Oppenheimer, who is Senior Researcher on the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Genocide and Genre project and has published widely on these themes.

Another highly anticipated guest is director Tom Berninger, who has charmed festival audiences around the world with his first documentary MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS. The film, which opened the Tribeca Film Festival, shows Berninger following his older brother’s band The National on tour, trying to make a documentary about them. In the end, the film says perhaps more about finding one’s own place in the shadow of a successful family member.

Russian film director Yuri Bykov comes to the festival with no less than two movies: THE MAJOR (Maior) and TO LIVE (Zhit). The festival is also visited by director Srdan Golubović and screenwriter Srdjan Koljević, whose film CIRCLES studies the results of the war in former Yugoslavia, has won awards at the international film festivals in Sundance and Berlin.

Another guest at this year’s festival is Dag Johan Haugerud, whose feature debut I BELONG (Som du ser meg) is Norway’s nominee for the Nordic Council Film Prize. I Belong was awarded Norway’s most important film price for best director, best film and best female lead. HIFF also welcomes director Erik Skjoldbjærg and producer Christian Fredrik Martin, whose oil-drilling thriller PIONEER will premiere at Toronto International Film Festival.

Warwick Ross, whose wine documentary RED OBSESSION will be released in Finnish theatres in November, comes to Helsinki to take part in a special culinary screening of his film. The special screening culminates in a film dinner with a wine theme at Restaurant Sunn.

All international guests (will be updated):

Tom Berninger (director, Mistaken for Strangers)
Yuri Bykov (director, To Live and The Major)
Craig Charland (producer, Mistaken for Strangers)
Fredrik Edfeldt (director, Sanctuary)
Kieran Evans (director, Kelly + Victor)
Nejc Gazvoda (director, Dual)
Claudio Giovannesi (director, Alì Blue Eyes)
Srdan Golubovic (director, Circles)
Dag Johan Haugerud, (director, I Belong)
Srdjan Koljevic (screenwriter, Circles)
Kadri Kousaar (director, The Arbiter)
Havana Marking (director, Smash & Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers)
Christian Fredrik Martin (producer, Pioneer)
Joshua Oppenheimer (director, The Act of Killing)
Ales Pavlin (producer, Dual)
Warwick Ross (director, Red Obsession)
Erik Skjoldbjærg (director, Pioneer)
Marteinn Thorsson (director, XL)
Juhan Ulfsak (actor, Mushrooming and Concrete Night)
Inigo Westmeier (director, Dragon Girls)
Ramon Zürcher (director, The Strange Little Cat)

Finnish guests include:

Peter von Bagh (director, Remembrance)
Ulrika Bengts (director, The Disciple / Lärjungen)
Susanna Helke (director, American Vagabond)
Pirjo Honkasalo (director, Concrete Night)
Mats Långbacka (producer, Oppipoika / Lärjungen)
Aleksi Salmenperä (director, Alcan Highway)
Heikki “Hese” Tolonen (protagonist, Alcan Highway)

Photo from the film The Act of Killing