Finnish film maker guests attending the 34th Midnight Sun Film Festival include the Cannes director J-P Valkeapää, actor Hannu-Pekka Björkman; director-screenwriter Miia Tervo; director of the documentary film Mystinen metsätyömies, Mikko Mattila; film-maker who guides us in Tolkien’s footsteps, Dome Karukoski; director of praised documentary film Gods of Molenbeek, Reetta Huhtanen and director of a peculiar family drama Gone, Arttu Haglund. Actress Eeva Litmanen and the most internationally renowned Finnish documentarist Pirjo Honkasalo are the special guests of the festival.
J-P Valkepää’s long-awaited novelty Dogs Don’t Wear Pants got enthusiastic reception last week at distinguished Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Pekka Strang plays a grieving husband, who seeks comfort from BDSM-dominatrix’s (Krista Kosonen) strangling. Dark toned drama comedy gets its Finnish premiere at the Midnight Sun Film Festival.
Actor Hannu-Pekka Björkman won his third Finnish film award Jussi earlier this year from The Human Part. He also starred in Miia Tervo’s arctic comedy hit Aurora as Aurora’s alcoholic father and as a maniac cruise manager in hit tv series M/S Romantic.
Festival success with her documentary films already up her sleeve, Miia Tervo’s first feature fiction is an arctic – and romantic – drama-comedy. Critically and publicly acclaimed Aurora is lively and distinctive story about a young nail technician Aurora (Mimosa Willamo), who helps an asylum seeker and his child to find a fresh beginning to their lives in Finnish Lapland.
In her first feature documentary, Gods of Molenbeek, Reetta Huhtanen sheds light on current themes through the friendship of two young boys from different cultural backgrounds. The film has been widely praised, also in international festivals. Another internationally acclaimed documentary feature, Tonislav Hristov’s The Magic Life of V, is also included in the Midnight Sun Film Festival’s Finnish lineup.
Mikko Mattila’s documentary, Mystinen metsätyömies, tells the story of beloved Finnish singer-songwriter Pekka Myllykoski from cult band Freud Marx Engels & Jung. The film’s Finnish premiere is celebrated with a tribute concert. Another domestic premiere is Arttu Haglund’s unusual story about yearning for freedom, Gone. Shot in different locations around the world, the film is a great example of a Finnish indie production.
One of the founders of the Midnight Sun Film Festival, Anssi Mänttäri, introduces his new film, Yön pimeinä tunteina, in which “Mänttäri meets Agatha Christie”. One of the leading roles is played by chanter of festival’s popular karaoke screenings, Iida Simes.
Rauli Badding Somerjoki’s divine songs are sung in this summer’s karaoke screening over the soundtrack of Markku Pölönen’s film Badding. As a counterbalance to Finnish evergreens, the other karaoke screening is the modern classic of romantic musicals, Moulin Rouge. Once again the karaoke screening’s have a strikingly energetic chanter Olavi Uusivirta, who’s joined by the beautiful-voiced singer and actress Maria Ylipää and the brilliant chanter duo Iida Simes and Aino Torttila.
Director of recent Tolkien biopic, Dome Karukoski, leads us to Tolkien’s footsteps. By means of animated The Lord of the Rings (1978), audience sails to the deep end with Karukoski trying to make head or tail of Tolkien.
Best known as a TV-comedienne par excellence, Eeva Litmanen introduces her films Dolly and Her Lover, Trench Road and Kiss Me in the Rain to the festival audience. Internationally one of the most renowned film-makers of Finland, Pirjo Honkasalo, has selected Carte Blanche of her own film favourites. On top of that, director-screenwriter’s internationally most distinguished documentary The 3 Rooms of Melancholia and praised fiction film Concrete Night, are screened at the festival.
As usual, Midnight Sun Film Festival shows the most interesting feature films of the past run, including Selma Vilhunen’s drama Stupid Young Heart, Lapland-themed French co-production Ailo – the Amazing Odyssey of a Newborn Reindeer, multiple Jussi-award winner Vacuum and Anna Eriksson’s experimental debut work M.
In addition to feature films, festival has picked fresh, exceptionally distinguished short films in its selection. Teemu Nikki’s All Inclusive comes straight from Cannes to Sodankylä and Jarno Lindemark’s From Matti with Love, which is starred by Rain Tolk and audience favourite from M/S Romantic, Petteri Pennilä, premiere in the festival.
Saturday morning’s traditional matinée spot of a Finnish classic is dedicated to Midnight Sun Film Festival’s honorary guest of 2008, late Lasse Pöysti (1927-2019), who stars at a young age in film Suomisen Olli yllättää.
Midnight Sun Film Festival’s programme schedule is announced on Friday May 31st on the festival’s website. Advance booking of tickets begins on Monday June 3rd and the festival kicks off on Wednesday June 12th.