Oscar and Berlinale Winners Among The Guest Line-Up of Midnight Sun Film Festival 2016

Czech Jiří Menzel, Scotsman Bill Forsyth, Spanish Fernando Trueba, French Mia Hansen-Løve, Icelander Dagur Kari and Italian Gianfranco Rosi are part of the 31st Midnight Sun Film Festival international guest line-up that includes Academy Award and Berlinale winners.


JIŘÍ MENZEL (b. 1938) became the best known director of the Czechoslovak New Wave alongside Milos Forman with his feature-film debut Closely Watched Trains (1966), winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 40th Academy Awards in 1968. Menzel continued to adapt works by Czech novelist Bohumil Hrabal with Larks on a String (1969), which was banned by Czechoslovakia’s communist government but won the Golden Bear two decades later at the 1990 Berlin International Film Festival; an exuberant brewery town love triangle depiction Cutting It Short (1980); and I Served the King of England (2006), a picaresque story about an ambitious but simple waiter in a deluxe Prague hotel. Among Menzel films also screened in MSFF 2016 is Capricious Summer (1968), Menzel’s periodic comedy film of an unfortunate summer in a small Czech village.

BILL FORSYTH (b. 1946) is truly a pioneer of Scottish film, and often compared to another Glaswegian, Alexander Mackendrick, the master of English Ealing Comedies. Forsyth’s international breakthrough was the gender role challenging teenage tale Gregory’s Girl (1980), also ranked #30 in British Film Institute’s list of the Top 100 British films. Local Hero (1982), starring Burt Lancaster, is a gentle, quirky comedy dealing with environmental issues. Forsyth struggled three years to finish his first American film, but in the end, Housekeeping (1987) became a masterful comedy about conformity, madness and family tragedies. Forsyth’s next Hollywood pieces, John Sayles-written small-time criminal comedy Breaking In (1989) and reincarnation tale Being Human (1994) are interesting as well, not least because of lead roles by Burt Reynolds and Robin Williams.

FERNANDO TRUEBA (b. 1955) became world famous for his sensual, Academy Award -winning comedy drama Belle Epoque, not to forget his delightful acceptance speech (“I would like to believe in God in order to thank him, but I just believe in Billy Wilder, so… thank you, Mr. Wilder”). However, Trueba began his career already in the mid-1970s as one of the most central figures in contemporary Spanish cinema – as a critic, the founder of Casablanca film magazine and a director. Prime examples of Trueba’s versatility are six Grammy awards as music producer as well as many fine music documentary films such as Calle 54 (2000), dedicated to Latin jazz, and Chico & Rita (2010), a 40s-set animation romance film sweetened by Cuban jazz. Among other Trueba films screened in Sodankylä are The Artist and the Model (2012), starring the charming duo of Jean Rochefort and Claudia Cardinale, and The Girl of Your Dreams (1998), a witty portrayal of the era of fascism starring Penélope Cruz. Trueba will be accompanied in Sodankylä by his wife/producer CRISTINA HUETE and his son, director JONÁS TRUEBA.

JONÁS TRUEBA (b. 1981), son of Fernando Trueba, has a distinct directorial touch of his own and has already been awarded at festivals of Málaga, Nantes and Toulouse. His road movie The Romantic Exiles (2015) has been described as “delightfully ironic Rohmer-infused feature”. The Wishful Thinkers (2013), a black and white homage in the style of the French New Wave, is also screened in Sodankylä.


French film director and screenwriter MIA HANSEN-LØVE (b. 1981) was recently awarded with the Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear for Best Director for Things to Come, premiered in MSFF 2016. Brilliant Isabelle Huppert stars as a philosophy teacher experiencing major setbacks in her family life and work. Hansen-Løve has also worked as an actress (starting her career at 18 under the direction of her future spouse Olivier Assayas) and as a critic for famed Cahiers du Cinema magazine. Hansen-Løve’s direction works are usually based on hers or her fellowmen’s personal experiences. Some fine examples are The Father of my Children (2009) about a film director struggling with suicidal despair, Goodbye First Love (2011), an examination of the meaning of first love, and Eden (2014), a story of a DJ in 90’s house music scene.

Within last ten years, CHARLES GILLIBERT (b. 1977) has risen to the ranks of most prominent French film producers. He has produced France’s recent Oscar nominee Mustang as well as works by some of the top directors in the world such as Abbas Kiarostami, Xavier Dolan and Abdellatic Kechiche – not to forget Hansen-Løve and Assayas. Another Gillibert productions, Assayas’s Personal Shopper, is also included in this year’s Cannes competition.

Icelander DAGUR KÁRI (b. 1973) won the Nordic Council Film Prize last year with his thrilling loser portrayal Virgin Mountain (2015). Kári, educated as both film director and a musician, works as the head of director’s programme at the National Film School of Denmark. His breakthrough film Nói Albinói (2003) as well as a “Jarmuschian”, Copenhagen-filmed drama comedy about marginalized young adults, Dark Horse (2008), will be screened from this master of melancholical, Kaurismäki-esque humour and minimalized expression.

Italian GIANFRANCO ROSI (b. 1964) won the Golden Bear of Berlin Film Festival this February with his documentary film Fire at Sea (2016), which wields the most burning topic of our times: European refugee question. “It is urgent, imaginative and necessary filmmaking”, praised Meryl Streep, chair of the Berlin jury. Another Rosi film screened in MSFF 2016 is the first documentary film ever awarded with the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival: Sacro GRA (2013) a depiction of life along the Grande Raccordo Anulare, the ring-road highway that circles Rome.

Englishman DAVID FARR (b. 1969) comes to Sodankylä as the writer-producer of a stylish psychological thriller The Ones Below (2015), starring Finnish Laura Birn. Previously, Farr has worked as scriptwriter of action thriller Hanna (2011), which was partially shot in Finland. Farr has also adapted applauded John le Carré series The Night Manager for television.

Actress MALIN BUSKA (b. 1984) from Swedish Lapland arrives to Sodankylä as the leading actress of Mika Kaurismäki’s The Girl King (2015). In 2011, Buska was awarded with “Rising Star”-award of Stockholm International Film Festival for her performance in Björn Runge’s Happy End. Buska stars as the second female lead in Jussi Hiltunen’s upcoming debut film Armoton maa, which will be shot in Lapland.