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Nordic Shorts: New Short Films from Finland in NY

Nordic Shorts will screen in NY on thursday, October 18, 6:30 pm at Scandinavia House

2007—For years, Nordic short films have been presented at major film festivals around the world, regularly winning top international prizes. This fall Scandinavia House (58 Park Avenue between 37th & 38th Streets) presents the Nordic Shorts series, a wide-ranging survey spanning many styles and genres that introduces some of the finest new shorts by the next generation of Nordic filmmakers. The series begins with seven short films by Finnish directors on Thursday, October 18, at 6:30 pm, and continues with films by Swedish directors on Thursday, November 15 at 6:30 pm, and shorts from Denmark and Norway in the spring of 2008 (dates TBA).

The program of Finnish films on October 18 includes Anu Pennanen’s Friendship (Sõprus- Дружба), a fascinating look at how two initially hostile groups of Russian and Estonian teenagers in rapidly-developing Tallinn, Estonia come to know each other against a backdrop of historically-charged public spaces. Alli Haapasalo’s comedy Ilona (The Girl Who Had No Problems) explores the identity crisis of a young woman as she prepares to graduate from high school. Other highlights include Sami Korjus’s black comedy Harvest Time (Elonkorjuu) about a farm wife fed up with her lazy husband; Mika Hotakainen’s Visitor (Ensimmäinen Eskelinen), a darkly humorous portrayal of a father and son in rural northern Finland; and the animated story of an air hostess on a plane full of nasty passengers in The Irresistible Smile (Ilo irti) by the award-winning animator Ami Lindholm.

Followed by a reception.

Press tickets & information: Joan Jastrebski, joan@amscan.org or (212) 847-9717

Special thanks to the Finnish Film Foundation, Sanna Kultanen, and the Finnish Film Foundation.
Films are in Finnish with English subtitles unless otherwise noted and are screened on video and 35mm.
The program is approximately two hours long.

Ilona (The Girl Who Had No Problems)
Directed by Alli Haapasalo (2003)

Ilona (The Girl Who Had No Problems) is a comedy about Ilona (Elena Leeve), who faces the first identity crisis of her life during the last week of high school. Ilona’s crisis is brought on by her only problem: the fact that she has no problems. If you’ve lived to be 18 without ever facing real difficulties, surely you have to be a superficial person with no ability to understand life! Inevitably, when you leave school and start your adult life, you have become the person you will be for the rest of your life! Ilona realizes that the last chance to influence her future is now. Ilona has won awards at the Etiuda International Film Festival (Poland, 2004) and the Nordic Glory Film Festival (Finland, 2003). 30 min. The director will be present at the screening.

Friendship (Sõprus- Дружба)
Directed by Anu Pennanen (2006)

Friendship reflects on the recent rapid development of the cityscape of Tallinn, Estonia from the perspective of teenagers who live there. Two groups of teenagers, Estonian and Russian-speaking, are separated by language and history but begin to get curious about each other. Their interactions are framed against the backdrop of historically-charged public sites and new gathering places such as a recently-opened shopping center. Their daily experiences float casually in these public spaces, despite the dominant nature of the environment. The film is based on workshops, texts, and discussions with the nine teenagers featured in the film. In Estonian and Russian with English subtitles. 30 min.

Harvest Time (Elonkorjuu)
Directed by Sami Korjus (2006)

A black comedy about a nostalgic countryside milieu, where justice is dispensed according to an unspoken agreement within the community. For so long, the farm wife Anja Huovinen (Kaija Pakarinen) has put up with her lazy husband’s drinking habits and idle talk. Gritting her teeth, she has swallowed all the crap and focused on her work instead. But there is a limit to everything. When the man turns a deaf ear to her opinions, she… Harvest Time was awarded the Special Prize at the Tampere Film Festival (Finland, 2007). 15 min.

The Irresistible Smile (Ilo irti)
Directed by Ami Lindholm (2006)

The Irresistible Smile is an animated film about an airplane full of nasty passengers. Can the air hostess solve everyone's problems and still keep smiling? Director Ami Lindholm’s films have won awards at the Nordic and Baltic Animation Festival (Estonia, 2006), IFF Artfilm (Slovakia, 2007), Film Festival Zlin (Czech Republic, 2007), the Tampere Film Festival (Finland, 2007), the Nordic Glory Festival (Finland, 2006), the Animatricks Festival (Finland, 2006), and the Animex International Festival of Animation and Computer Games (UK, 2007). 6.5 min.

Life Worth Living (Pieniä iloja)
Directed by Eirik Svensson and Jyrki Väisänen (2006)

An episodic tragicomedy about a pen holder, bathing, polythene wrap, and other things that make life worth living. The film was awarded Honorary Mention at the Grinstad Short Film Festival (Norway, 2007). 11 min.

Rondo
Directed by Marja Mikkonen (2006)

Rondo is an experimental short film about change. The film attempts to describe the state of mind of a person in between events, experiencing change. The actions of the performers reveals very little of their personality, and the plot is rather a reference to the basic epic plot structure than a narrative, with the music of the film playing an important role. 8 min.

Visitor (Ensimmäinen Eskelinen)
Directed by Mika Hotakainen (2006)

Visitor is a drama comedy, influenced by dark humor, about the relationship between father and son. Joona (Samuli Punkka) arrives at his childhood home in Lapland from Helsinki to visit his father, Antto (Raimo Grönberg). He lives alone in a house ruined by corrosion on the steep banks of a river in Lapland. The scraggy meeting between father and son takes a bizarre twist as a young woman (Emilia Ikäheimo) arrives at Antto´s hut. Since the men have insuperable problems when it comes to solving things by talking, many misunderstandings can stay unsorted. 15 min.


Film Tickets: $8 ($6 ASF members & students)
ASF members only may make film reservations by calling (212) 847-9746.


Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America
58 Park Avenue (between 37th and 38th Streets)
New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 879-9779
Web site: www.scandinaviahouse.org
Email: info@amscan.org.


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