/ Press releases

The artistic director of Cannes Film Festival, Thierry Frémaux, is attending the festival with his film LUMIÈRE! Jonas Carpignano presents his film about the outcasts of Italian society.

Other guests include Naoko Ogigami, known for her film Kamome Diner, the leading actress of SAMI BLOOD Lene Cecilia Sparrok and documentarist Jon Nguyen who has worked closely with David Lynch for many years.

 

MAIN GUESTS

THIERRY FRÉMAUX

French Thierry Frémaux (b. 1960), the director of the Institut Lumière and a champion of film culture, is also known as the artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival. Frémaux will present a compilation of silent films called LUMIÈRE! after which the pioneer era of the Seventh Art will never look the same. Frémaux works globally: for example, the largest film festival in Latin America, Ventana Sur of Buenos Aires, was founded on his initiative.

Thierry Frémaux will be in Helsinki Sept 22–23 His interviews will take place on Sept 22. LUMIÈRE will be in cinemas starting Oct 6.

For interview requests, please contact: Mika Siltala, Cinema Mondo, mikas@cinemamondo.fi

 

JONAS CARPIGNANO

The Italian American Jonas Carpignano (b. 1984) made his breakthrough with his debut feature Mediterranea (HIFF 2015). In his new film A CIAMBRA the leading role is played by the charismatic Pio Amato, who was also in Mediterranea. A CIAMBRA, awarded in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, follows the life of Pio’s family in the Italian Romani community. Carpignano has revealed that the greatest challenge during the shoot was the jealousy encountered by the Amatos, with people intentionally sabotaging the shoot and equipment.

Jonas Carpignano is in Helsinki Sept 14–16.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

NAOKO OGIGAMI

The Japanese director-writer Naoko Ogigami (b. 1972) has made seven feature films, each one an international festival hit. The Finnish audience found her with Kamome Diner (2012), filmed in a Helsinki downtown restaurant. The restaurant is still a popular tourist site among Japanese visitors in Helsinki. HIFF will feature Ogigami’s latest film CLOSE-KNIT, which discusses transgender issues.

Naoko Ogigami is in Helsinki Sept 20–23.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

LENE CECILIA SPARROK

Sami actress Lene Cecilia Sparrok (b. 1997 in Norway) makes her debut in the lead role of SAMI BLOOD. The film that attracted an audience of nearly 200 000 in Sweden, is a coming-of-age story of a 14-year old Sami girl living in the racist society of the 1930s. Sparrok was awarded as the best actress at both Tokyo and Seattle International Film Festivals. Sparrok lives in Namsskogan, Norway, and works in reindeer-breeding. Her native tongue is South Sami, a language spoken only by approx. 500 people today.

Lene Cecilia Sparrok is in Helsinki Sept 14–17. Her interviews will take place on Sept 15. Sami Blood will be in theaters starting Sept 29.

For interview requests, please contact: Mika Siltala, Cinema Mondo, mikas@cinemamondo.fi

 

JON NGUYEN

Hawaiian director of DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE Jon Nguyen (b. 1970) is coming to Helsinki from Copenhagen, where he currently lives. The documentary premiered at the Venice Film Festival and has since been overwhelmingly praised by the critics. The film takes viewers on a rare journey into the life, art and creative process of the enigmatic David Lynch. Nguyen has long worked with Lynch: he has produced the documentary Lynch (2007) about the making of Inland Empire (2006) and co-produced David Lynch’s web-documentary Interview Project Germany (2011).

Jon Nguyen is in Helsinki Sept 14–17.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

NORDIC GUESTS

GUÐMUNDUR ARNAR GUÐMUNDSSON

Icelandic Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson’s (b. 1982) debut feature HEARTSTONE is nominated for the 2017 Nordic Council Film Prize. The film which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, is a partly autobiographical story about two pre-teens coming of age in a rugged Icelandic fishing village. Guðmundsson, residing in Denmark, is known for his award-winning short films, which have toured festivals all over the world.

Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson is in Helsinki Sept 19–22.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

CHRISTIAN TAFDRUP

Christian Tafdrup (b. 1978) is a Danish actor, playwright and film director, whose debut film, the surrealistic relationship mystery PARENTS has been nominated for the 2017 Nordic Council Film Prize. Tafdrup is best known for his role as Alex Hjort, the young and eager head-of-programming in the TV series The Fortress (Borgen). He debuted as a teenager in Pretty Boy (1993) and has since appeared in many Danish films (After the Wedding, 2006) and TV shows as well as making a career in theater.

Christian Tafdrup is in Helsinki Sept 19–21.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

SAMIRA ELAGOZ

In her documentary CRAIGSLIST ALLSTARS, Finnish-Egyptian filmmaker and performance artist Samira Elagoz (b. 1989) meets up with men via Craigslist to discuss sexuality. Among the men are a magician, an exhibitionist, a sadist video artist as well as a softcore porn filmmaker. The documentary is a collage of intimate, fragile and erotic first encounters, in which the filmmaker has not let herself go easy either.

Samira Elagoz is in Helsinki Sept 16–19.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

OLE GIÆVER

The Norwegian director Ole Giæver (b. 1977) arrives in Helsinki to present his third feature film FROM THE BALCONY, which premiered in the Panorama section of the Berlinale. Giæver’s previous film Out of Nature (HIFF 2015) portrayed a man’s wilderness trek, whereas in From the Balcony Giæver explores existential questions by filming his life, family and surroundings. The film blends spontaneous footage with home videos, animation and acted sequences.

Ole Giæver is in Helsinki Sept 16–18.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

ROJDA SEKERSÖZ

The Swedish Rojda Sekersöz’s (b. 1989) first feature BEYOND DREAMS won the audience award at the Göteborg International Film Festival. Beyond Dreams is seen through the eyes of a young suburban woman, as Mirja (Evin Ahmad), just released from prison, is torn between her sick mother (Outi Mäenpää) and the expectations set by society whilst chasing her own dreams.

Rojda Sekersöz is in Helsinki Sept 19–22.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

IVICA ZUBAK

Ivica Zubak (b. 1978), born in Croatia and immigrated to Sweden as a child, is a filmmaker whose latest drama comedy A HUSTLER’S DIARY is about a talented street-wise guy in the suburbs, who gets in trouble when his diary ends up in the wrong hands. Zubak is interested in the concept of wasting youth and talent, as this phenomenon can be found in every social class in the form of flunking school or being forced into war at a young age.

Ivica Zubak is in Helsinki Sept 15–18.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

ABBE HASSAN

Abbe Hassan (b. 1981) is a Swedish director and producer. He began his career as an assistant director and casting director in the film and advertising industry. In 2014, he co-founded with Ivica Zubak the production company Indian Summer Film, which also includes actors like Fares Fares. The company’s debut feature film, directed by Zubak and produced by Hassan, is A HUSTLER’S DIARY which takes place in a Stockholm suburb and depicts conflicts within the community.

Abbe Hassan is in Helsinki Sept 15–18.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

LARS FELDBALLE-PETERSEN

Danish documentarist Lars Feldballe-Petersen’s newest film THE UNFORGIVEN will have its world premiere at the Helsinki International Film Festival. The Finnish-Danish co-production follows the life after prison of a former prison guard, who tortured his victims in the Bosnian war. Feldballe-Petersen (Hvor går grænsen…, 2005) has worked with documentaries for over 25 years.

Lars Feldballe-Petersen is in Helsinki Sept 21–22.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

FRENCH GUESTS

GILLES BOURDOS

The French director Gilles Bourdos (b. 1963) brings his film ENDANGERED SPECIES (Espèces menacées) to HIFF directly from the Venice Film Festival. Based on the collection of short stories by Richard Bausch, the film depicts the alienation of parents and their children through the fates of three families. Bourdos’ previous feature Renoir premiered at Cannes’ Un certain regard section and was released in Finnish theaters the following year.

Gilles Bourdos is in Helsinki Sept 14–17.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

F.J. OSSANG

F.J. Ossang (b. 1956) is a French director, poet, musician and actor whose productions have frequently featured at the HIFF. Ossang’s poetic, romantic and explosive punk films (e.g.  Dharma Guns, HIFF 2010, Doctor Chance, HIFF 1998) get a new chapter with the cult filmmaker’s latest production, the black & white punk noir thriller 9 FINGERS (9 Doigts). Ossang is an old friend of HIFF – he attended the festival all the way back in 1991.

F.J. Ossang is in Helsinki Sept 18–21.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

JEAN-MICHEL ROUX

Jean-Michel Roux (b. 1964) is a French director and documentarist who has had all of his films screened at the HIFF. Roux visited the festival for the first time in 1998 with his debut film Les mille merveilles de l’univers. Having made documents about Iceland, Roux explores the Finnish soul and mentality in his latest documentary ANGEL OF THE NORTH, inspired by Hugo Simberg’s painting The Wounded Angel. The film will have its world premiere at the HIFF.

Jean-Michel Roux is in Helsinki throughout September

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

BALTIC GUESTS

RAINER SARNET

Black Death, spirits and werewolves inhabit Estonian Rainer Sarnet’s (born 1969) film NOVEMBER, based on Andrus Kivirähk’s novel. The film was awarded for best cinematography in a narrative film at the Tribeca Film Festival. In addition to directing films, theatre and advertisements, Sarnet has worked as a critic and copywriter. HIFF has previously screened Sarnet’s modern re-telling of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot (HIFF 2011).

Rainer Sarnet is in Helsinki Sept 23–24.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

JAAK KILMI

Jaak Kilmi (b. 1973) is an Estonian director whose films depict the Soviet era through mischievous humour. His best known film Disco and Atomic War (HIFF 2009) portrayed Soviet Estonian children growing up under the magical influence of Finnish television. The same TV programmes lure notorious rascals of his latest film THE DISSIDENTS to flee the Soviet Union, trying to make it to the West. Kilmi has stated that HIFF was the film school of the Estonian directors of his generation. “We found the festival and fell in love with it”, Kilmi said in a 2012 interview with Yle.

Jaak Kilmi is in Helsinki Sept 14–17.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

TERJE TOOMISTU

Terje Toomistu (b. 1985) is an Estonian researcher and filmmaker whose documentary SOVIET HIPPIES is a story of the 1970s’ Soviet hippie movement inspired by the American hippies. Co-directed with Estonian artist KIWA, she made her debut with Wariazone (2011) about Indonesian trans folk. Toomistu has studied in Estonia, France, Russia, Indonesia and in the United States.

Terje Toomistu is in Helsinki Sept 17–20.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

KRISTIAN TASKA

Kristian Taska (b. 1973) is an Estonian producer who has worked on big Estonian and Finnish productions, such as 1944 (HIFF 2015) and Purge (2012). This year’s HIFF festival sees two films that he has worked on. THE DISSIDENTS (dir. Jaak Kilmi) is a comedy about Estonian rascals trying to make their way to Sweden via Finland. He is also the co-producer of IKITIE (dir. AJ Annila), a tragic story of Finns, who emigrated from America to the Soviet Union in the 1930s.

Kristian Taska is in Helsinki Sept 14–16.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

GUESTS FROM EUROPE AND BEYOND

AISLING WALSH

Irish Aisling Walsh (b. 1958) has made an impressive career as a director of both films and television productions. Her latest film is MAUDIE, based on the life of Canadian folklore artist Maud Lewis, starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. Walsh’s films and television productions (e.g. Song for a Raggy Boy, The Daisy Chain) have won over 25 international awards.

Aisling Walsh is in Helsinki Sept 14–17.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

SUSAN JOHNSON

American Susan Johnson (b. 1970) arrives to HIFF with her debut feature CARRIE PILBY. Based on the best-selling novel by Caren Lissner, the comedy depicts Carrie, a 19-year-old Harvard graduate struggling to make sense of the world. Johnson has made a long career as a music video director. In addition, she is an award-winning producer (Mean Creek, 2004).

Susan Johnson is in Helsinki Sept 14–18.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

EMMA FRANZ

In her documentary BILL FRISELL, A PORTRAIT Australian filmmaker Emma Franz transfers jazz guitarist Bill Frisell’s personality and music on the silver screen. Frisell is one of the most distinguished jazz musicians today. Franz herself is a touring musician, jazz singer and composer. Franz’s debut documentary Intangible Asset Number 82 (2008) brought her many awards.

Emma Franz is in Helsinki Sept 14–24.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

RAFAEL KAPELINSKI

Rafael Kapelinski (b. 1970) is a director and writer of Polish origin, who formerly worked as a banker and now lives and teaches film in London. HIFF screens Kapelinski’s feature debut BUTTERFLY KISSES, a dark film about sexual taboos, which won the Crystal Bear for the best film in the Generation section of Berlinale. Kapelinski’s previous three short films have gained him more than 25 awards at international film festivals (e.g. Cannes Cinéfondation 2009).

Rafael Kapelinski is in Helsinki Sept 15–18.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

REZO GIGINEISHVILI

Rezo Gigineishvili (b. 1982) is a Georgian director who has worked both in Georgia and Russia. Gigineishvili studied at the VGIK film school in Moscow and worked as an assistant director for Fedor Bodarchuk’s hit film The 9th Company (2005). Gigineishvili’s debut film Heat (2007) was a box office success in Russia. HIFF screens his latest feature HOSTAGES (2017. The film is a thriller based on real events that took place in the early 1980s, when seven young Georgians attempted to flee the Soviet Union by hijacking an Aeroflot plane.

Rezo Gigineishvili is in Helsinki Sept 17–20.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

ALI SOOZANDEH

Ali Soozandeh (b. 1970), an animator born in Iran and residing in Germany since 1995, brings to Helsinki his first feature film TEHRAN TABOO (2017) which depicts Iranian youth struggling with the taboos concerning sex, drugs and corruption in the restrictive society of Iran. The animation premiered in the International Critics’ Week section in Cannes and was the winner of the FIPRESCI award at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

Ali Soozandeh is in Helsinki Sept 15–18.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

JUSTIN EDGAR

THE MARKER (2017) is a new turn in the career of the British director-writer-producer Justin Edgar (b. 1971), known for more comedic films (e.g. Special People, 2007). His new film is a dark redemption story of a man released from prison, who goes looking for the daughter of the woman he murdered. Born with a hearing defect, Edgar, with his production company 104 Films, aims to create opportunities for disabled people in the film industry.

Justin Edgar is in Helsinki Sept 19–22.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

ANDRÁS MUHI

ON BODY AND SOUL, the winner of this year’s Golden Bear at Berlinale, is produced by András Muhi, one of the most active producers in Hungary. Since 2000, his production company Inform Studio has produced 25 feature fictions, 80 documentaries, 15 animations and 100 short films. Before his career in film, he worked as a lawyer for 20 years.

Andras Muhi is in Helsinki Sept 14–17.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

VOLIA CHAJKOUSKAYA

Producer Volia Chajkouskaya (b. 1987) comes to Helsinki with her production THE ROAD MOVIE. The film is an uncensored found-footage documentary of the craziness of Russian traffic seen through the dash cam lense. Chajkouskaya is particularly keen on Nordic films: she is the founder and Program Director of the Northern Lights Nordic-Baltic Film Festival in Belarus.

Volia Chajkouskaya is in Helsinki Sept 20–24.9.

Interview Requests: Janne Sundqvist, HIFF publicist, janne@hiff.fi, Tel: +358 50 5464 396

 

L&A SHORTS – GUESTS

ALEXANDRA ALEGREN (20–22.9.) is a Swedish actress and producer (e.g. Maniacs, HIFF 2016). She acts the leading role in HITGIRL, screened in the Nordic Excellence 3 section.

ISABELLA CARBONELL (20–22.9.) is a Swedish director and writer (e.g. Maniacs, HIFF 2016). Her film Boys (HIFF 2015) was awarded the Grand Jury Award at AFI Fest. Carbonell is the director of HITGIRL, shown in the Nordic Excellence 3 section.

BRITT RAES (21–24.9.) is a Belgian animation director whose short film CATHERINE, about a crazy cat lady, has toured widely at film festivals, taking home 12 awards. The film will screen in the Animated Europe section.

JOANNA RYTEL (22–24.9.) is a Swedish artist, columnist and director whose films explore taboos. Her film Moms on Fire (HIFF 2016) has been awarded at several film festivals. L&A Shorts will screen Rytel’s latest short film STAY UPS in the Animated Europe section.