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This year HIFF’s Gala Selection will include two new galas to celebrate modern Estonian cinema and the 106-year-old Maxim Cinema. The complete festival programme is released 4 September.

Helsinki International Film Festival opens with the intelligent family drama LOUDER THAN BOMBS. Norwegian director Joachim Trier‘s first English language film comes to Helsinki straight from Cannes, where it got a warm welcome for its in-depth view on how losing a family member affects those who are left behind. War photographer Isabella (Isabelle Huppert) dies with a secret that is like a slowly detonating bomb for the rest of the family. Central roles are played by Gabriel Byrne and Jesse Eisenberg. The film, distributed by SF Film, hits Finnish theatres later this autumn.

The Finnish Film Gala selection is Joonas Berghäll‘s documentary film MOTHER’S WISH. After the director’s internationally acclaimed Steam of Life, it is women’s turn to tell their stories. The film features ten women coping with personal tragedy and motherhood. The film takes us around the world and even beyond Earth, as one of the mothers is the American astronaut Karen L. Nyberg. Nordisk Film releases Mother’s Wish in Finnish theatres on 16 October.

The Love & Anarchy Gala film is Jacques Audiard‘s Palme d’Or winner DHEEPAN. The film tells the story of a family escaping the Sri Lankan civil war and trying to survive in the jungle called Europe. Former tamil tiger Dheepan (played by the real life ex-guerrilla Jesuthasan Antonythasan) searches peace as a janitor in the suburbs of Paris. His work causes him to try and pacify the relations of the local gangs. Dheepan is released in Finnish theatres on 30 October by Cinema Mondo.

The festival closes with the highly anticipated YOUTH, the new film by Italian maestro Paolo Sorrentino. Veteran actor Michael Caine shines in the visually abundant film that has the same visual splendour as the Academy Award winning The Great Beauty, but takes place in a completely different environment. Two friends, composer Fred (Caine) and screenwriter Mick (Harvey Keitel) spend their vacation in a hotel at the Swiss Alps, contemplating on their lives and what might still be in store for them. Even when handling old age and life’s experiences, Sorrentino is at the same time both hilarious and melancholic. Youth is released in Finnish theatres by Finnkino in early 2016.

The new Estonia Gala celebrates the close relations of HIFF with the contemporary Estonian cinema. The gala selection is the Estonian war film 1944 that depicts the struggles of Estonians in World War II. Occupied by both the Red Army and the Nazis, Estonians were recruited into both armies and ended up shooting at each other in the trenches. The most expensive film ever made in modern Estonia, Elmo Nüganen‘s 1944 has been a big success in its homeland. The Estonian-Finnish co-production’s Finnish producer is MRP Matila Röhr Productions. The film hits Finnish theatres on 25 September and is distributed by Atlantic Film.

HIFF will celebrate the 106-year-old Maxim Cinema that was saved from being turned into a hotel by activism of a large group of film lovers. The culturally important achievement will be celebrated at Maxim with the premiere screening of TEMPLES OF DREAMS. Jouko Aaltonen‘s nostalgic but also hilarious documentary film tells the story of the Finnish cinemas, cinema exhibitors and audiences of the last 100 years.

New Helsinki cinemas join the festival

The last year has seen a proliferation of new independent cinemas and cinema concepts in Helsinki. The 28th HIFF includes three new theatres: Korjaamo Culture Factory, WHS Teatteri Union and Kino Sheryl. The newest among the lot is Korjaamo Culture Factory in Töölö. It will screen HIFF films in the second weekend of the festival 25–27 September in two cinemas that seat approximately 120 persons each. Korjaamo will be collecting ideas on the development of their cinema concept during the festival.