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The 7th edition of Season Film Festival will take over Helsinki’s Bio Rex, Maxim and Kinopalatsi from March 28th to 31st, 2019. Focusing on questions of identity, gender and diversity, the festival presents cinematic highlights coming to cinemas later this year along with a bunch of festival faves from across the world.

Season Film Festival is arranged by the Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy association.

A brief history of the festival

“Are you sure you are a woman? You look like an artichoke.” – La Strada (dir. Federico Fellini, 1954)

Season Film Festival stems from the Woman or Artichoke film festival created in 2001. The idea of an event with an emphasis on female filmmakers came from Kirsi Raitaranta, an employee of the City of Helsinki Cultural Centre at the time, and from Laura Mänki. At first, it was arranged by the City of Helsinki Cultural Centre until HIFF took over after 2007. At the same time, it was re-named Artisokka – Helsinki Woman Film Festival.

“First went the woman, and then the artichoke followed suit”, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) put it in a 2013 news item when the re-branded Artisokka became Season Film Festival. “The spirit of times changed, and several directors wanted to tell about women’s position in society as part of a wider story”, is how Pekka Lanerva, the artistic director of HIFF, describes what happened. There was a desire to diversify the event’s programme by highlighting arthouse cinema on a bigger scale in the spring season too. One of its aims is to contribute to a more widespread distribution of arthouse films in the late spring and summer period. Hence the word “Season” that refers to the spring season of Love & Anarchy, the main event of HIFF. The change of the name has also brought the Love & Anarchy connection more to the fore.

The 2013 and 2014 editions of Season Film Festival included Fashion Film Festival which explored the wide variety of relations between fashion and film and celebrated their shared history. It was organised in cooperation with the Lasipalatsi Film and Media Centre. Fashion Film Festival’s legacy can nowadays be seen in the Love & Anarchy programme.

Lynne Ramsay, Andrea Arnold, Agnès Varda, Sofia Coppola, Susanne Bier, Mira Nair, and Kelly Reichardt are some of the sources of inspiration for Season Film Festival. Over the years, festival guests have included the great French filmmaker François Ozon (Frantz), Gabriela Pichler (Eat Sleep Die), a rising star of Swedish cinema, and the Oscar-nominated master of animation Tomm Moore (Song of the Sea).

Season Film Festival has hosted the Finnish premiere screenings of The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, 2014), Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2015), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2015), Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2016), Tangerine (Sean Baker, 2016), Your Name (Makoto Shinkai, 2017), American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2017), I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2017), and Hobbyhorse Revolution (Selma Vilhunen, 2017) among others.

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