Thursday, 4 September 2014

TIFF14: How About a Quick Trip to Finland?

For the past several years, I have been focused on Nordic films at TIFF, a passion I developed thanks to Sprockets (now TIFF Kids) founder, and TIFF programmer, Jane Schoettle), and continues with programming by Steve Gravestock. The calibre of films from this region continues to impress me and I am beginning to establish a relationship with a few directors. Here are a couple of Finnish entries that you might want to check out. Complete details at The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 4 - 14.

I first interviewed Finnish director, Dome Karukoski, in 2010 with his TIFF entry, the comedic, Lapland Odyssey, and then last year with Heart of a Lion, a drama with unexpected touches of humour about a skinhead who falls in love with a white Finnish women with a bi-racial child. This year I am looking forward to seeing The Grump, and continuing my conversation with Dome about his filmmaking.

When I first interviewed another Finn, Jalmari Helander in 2010, he had just finished Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, and was looking forward to heading back home to see his brand new baby daughter; he had no idea what his next project would be "who the fuck knows". This year, he has a film screening in the Midnight Madness program and I am so happy for him! With Big Game, he is directing the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Felicity Huffman, James Broadbent, and Victor Garber!

The VANGUARD selections at TIFF are described as "provocative, sexy...possibly dangerous. This is what's next." The still (left) for They Have Escaped definitely fits that description; however, I am curious to see what director JP Valkeapää has in store for us with this drama about two young social outcasts trying to negotiate society norms. One positive note for the film is the attachment of Aleksi Bardy, the producer of Karukoski's highly successful, Heart of a Lion.

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