The 32nd Midnight Sun Film Festival Announces First International Guests

Carlos Saura, one of the great directors of Spanish cinema and the visionary behind Raising Ravens and Carmen, leads the group of distinguished international guests of the 32nd Midnight Sun Film Festival (June 14th-18th 2017). Saura, who Charles Chaplin once described as a “poet”, has been one of Spain’s leading directors for over half a century.

Other international guests coming to Sodankylä this summer are Bertrand Bonello, the director of Nocturama and a household name in contemporary French cinema; Denmark trilogy director Per Fly (Monica Z) who heads to Lapland with his actress wife Charlotte Fich; and Aleksandr Mindadze (The Servant), who started his career as the court screenwriter of the Soviet great Vadim Abdrashitov, and has since become one of Russia’s most singular directors.

The guest line-up of the 32nd Midnight Sun Film Festival also include Gabe Klinger (Porto), who won the Best Documentary Award at the 70th Venice Film Festival and Kai Wessel (Fog in August), a household name in both German TV and cinema.

The rest of our international guests as well as our full programme will be published later this spring.


CARLOS SAURA (b. 1932)

Spanish director, screenwriter, film teacher, writer and photographer Carlos Saura shot his first 16 mm films already in the 1950s. His first feature Los Golfos (1962) created controversy and received praise for its portrayal of juvenile delinquency. It didn’t take long for Saura to become known as one of the most skilful narrators of the times of Franco and the political and moral censorship of the dictator’s era.

La Caza (1966) won him the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 16th Berlin International Film Festival and meant for him an international breakthrough. Saura made nine films altogether with Geraldine Chaplin, including the beloved childhood portrayal Raising Ravens (1976) and Elisa, vida mía (1977), the family drama examining an intensive father-daughter relationship, both which will be screened at Sodankylä. The festival programme also includes Blood Wedding (1981), Lorca’s play turned into dance interpretation Blood Wedding; dream-like and seductive Carmen (1983); and graceful, emotional dance and documentary film Flamenco (1995).

One of the masters of Spanish cinema is expected to bring a hefty suitcase full of stories to the north; it’s worth mentioning that Saura was a friend of Luis Buñuel and that Charles Chaplin himself once called Saura “a poet” after seeing one of his films.


Bonello is one of the most important and exciting directors of contemporary French film. His latest film Nocturama (2016) is a hypnotic example of “pure cinema” in the setting of armed struggle and terrorism in present-day French society. Bonello’s graps inspiration from his background as a musician and composer and ofter explores sexuality. This is oozing from his repertoire, starting from The Pornographer (2001), the portrait of a porno director (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and the winner of the FIPRESCI Prize in Cannes. Prime examples of Bonello’s elegant filmmaking are House of Tolerance (2011), the atmospheric look at the final days of an early 20th century brothel; and his most stylish film Saint Laurent (2014), just as sensual as the most elegant clothes and intoxicating perfumes of the fashion guru himself.

PER FLY (b. 1960)

Per Fly won the second annual Nordic Council Film Prize – right after Aki Kaurismäki – with his silently powerful Manslaughter in 2005. The film concludes the Denmark Trilogy, a bottom-to-top autopsy of Danish society (also including: The Bench, 2000, and The Inheritance, 2003).

Waltz for Monica (2013), the realistic dramatization of the life of a popular Swedish jazz singer, cleared the table at the Swedish Guldbagge awards and will also be seen at the Midnight Sun Film Festival. Fly’s wife CHARLOTTE FICH, the leading actress of Manslaughter, is also coming to Sodankylä; she is known from several TV series such as Mobile Unit and Black Widows.


Mindadze was known as a distinguished screenwriter and the right hand of the Soviet great Vadim Abdrashitov, a Midnight Sun Film Festival guest of 1989. In later decades, Mindadze has developed into one of the most respected and recognized directors of contemporary Russia. Soar (2007) shows us the aftermath of a deadly plane crash and skulduggery of the authorities; Innocent Saturday (2011) is a long-awaited Russian take of the Czhernobyl disaster and Dear Hans, Lovely Pjotr (2015) deals with another sensitive subject, the wartime friendship between a German and a Russian.

GABE KLINGER (b. 1982)

Gabe Klinger, a Chicago native, won the Award for Best Documentary on Cinema at Venice Film Festival with his debut piece Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater. Klinger’s first feature Porto (2016) is a sensual triangle drama filmed in Portugal starring the late Anton Yelchin, who died at the age of 27. Klinger has worked as a film critic, programmer and teacher and in Sodankylä, he’ll host a Master Class on 1960s Brazilian cinema novo movement.

KAI WESSEL (b. 1961)

Hamburg-born Kai Wessel has been known for thirty years primarily as a director of TV films and series. In Sodankylä, we are proud to introduce his latest feature Fog in August (2016), winner of multiple awards in Germany, Austria and Italy. The first film to address the Nazis’ euthanasia programme tells the authentic life story of a 14-year old boy committed to a mental hospital.