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The 33rd Love & Anarchy film festival was capped by a sold-out screening of the Australian indie hit BABYTEETH. Despite limited capacity, the biggest film festival in Finland gathered approximately 29 000 visitors to cinemas in the metropolitan area. HIFF and the National Audiovisual Institute’s audience competition winner was the Korean thriller BEASTS CLAWING AT STRAWS.

Finland’s biggest film festival Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy got an astounding 29 000 visitors to screenings and festival events. The number is around half of that of an average year, even though the capacity of the cinemas was limited to about 30 %

The festival’s online content also attracted a wide audience. The films and events screened online were watched by nearly 5 000 viewers altogether Especially popular was the masterclass held by HIFF and Finnish Film Affair’s Nordic Flair Award winner, the foley artist Heikki Kossi.

During the eleven festival days, around 140 feature films, as well as over 170 short films were shown in about 560 screenings, almost half of which were sold out.

HIFF films will be screened in coming days in the metropolitan area in the festival’s Love & Anarchy Afterglow screenings starting on Monday, around Finland during the Love & Anarchy Tour, in Yle’s channels and in Kino Regina.

U.S. Indies Were Festival Favourites

At the festival, the audience was particularly interested in American indie films. This year’s most popular Love & Anarchy films were Melina Matsoukas’ hard-hittingly topical QUEEN & SLIM, Eliza Hittman atmospheric take on abortion law NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS, Alma Har’el’s debut feature with an autobiographical screenplay by Shia LaBeouf, HONEY BOY, Trey Edward Shults’s touching American indie WAVES, the Korean thriller BEASTS CLAWING AT STRAWS, the fierce EMA by Chilean master Pablo Larraín and Joe Talbot’s debut feature THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO.

The hottest of the films that will be in distribution were Bong Joon-ho’s classic MEMORIES OF MURDER, Hamy Ramezan’s debut feature ANY DAY NOW and Benh Zeitlin’s new film WENDY.

Two Finnish documentaries that became festival hits were  directors Lotta Petronella’s SJÄLÖ – ISLAND OF SOULS and Minna Dufton’s BIG VS SMALL.

Korean Thriller Wins The Audience Competition

HIFF and the National Audiovisual Institute’s audience vote winner was the Korean thriller BEASTS CLAWING AT STRAWS, where a fired cleaner, a mistreated escort and a customs worker in debt get a less-than-legal chance at getting rich.

South Korean Kim Yong-hoon’s debut feature is a devilish thriller that balances between black comedy and Hitchcockian suspense. The winning film will be shown as Kino Regina’s film of the month in November.

The festival goes, the films remain!

Gems of the Love & Anarchy festival can still be seen after the fact. The Love & Anarchy Afterglow screenings start in cinemas in the metropolitan area on Monday 28 September. Taking place all over Finland, the Love & Anarchy Tour presents the nominees for the Nordic Film Council’s prize from Sweden (CHARTER), Norway (BEWARE OF CHILDREN), Denmark (UNCLE) and Iceland (ECHO), Poland’s Oscar nominee CORPUS CHRISTI, as well as School Kino short films. The HIFF films can be seen in cities inluding Helsinki, Kuopio, Mariehamn, Tampere, Turku, Vaasa and Vantaa.

Love & Anarchy films will be seen in Yle’s channels as well. At least ECHO, LADY TIME and SJÄLÖ – ISLAND OF SOULS will be seen on television during this year.

The 34th Love & Anarchy film festival will be held on 16–26/9/2021.

A warm thank you to all who participated, see you next year!