Guest of Honour Ulrich Tukur
Honorary Award, "Golden Ox"
Film Nation in Focus 2021: Finland
Film fest main location, Filmpalast Capitol
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Finland was Country in Focus at 30th FILMKUNSTFEST Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

Opening night with Mika Kaurismäki's latest movie "Gracious Night"

Current feature films, documentaries and short films from this year's guest country Finland will be presented during the festival from August 31st - September 5th, 2021

The latest feature film by Finnish director Mika Kaurismäki, "Gracious Night", opened the 30th FILMKUNSTFEST Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania as the German premiere on the 31st of August in the state capital Schwerin and thus set the starting point for an extensive programme from guest country 2021, Finland.

Mika Kaurismäkipresented the feature film to the local audience at the festival cinema Filmpalast Capitol personally. Finland's Ambassador to Germany, Anne Sipiläinen, and the Minister President of Mecklenburg- Western Pommerania, Manuela Schwesig and German actor Ulrich Tukur ("Amen!") with his “Rhythmus Boys” were also guests of the opning ceremony.

In "Gracious Night" (original title: "Yö Armahtaa"), Mika Kaurismäki tells the story of three people who, in search of conviviality during the lockdown, find themselves in a pub in the Finnish capital Helsinki. Not only because of the conversations, but also because of other unexpected guests, the evening becomes longer than expected. Once again, Mika Kaurismäki proves his aptitude for current topics and atmosphere with "Gracious Night".

Mika and his brother Aki Kaurismäki have virtually embodied contemporary Finnish film since the 1980s. “Gracious Night" was filmed in the pub that the brothers run in Helsinki: the “Corona Bar”! The film distributer Arsenal will release the film in Germany on the 16th of December.

With a series of unusual short and feature films, Mika Kaurismäki gained a reputation as a versatile auteur of world cinema. Such films are the thriller "Helsinki-Napoli - All Night Long" from 1988 or the road movie "Honey Baby" from 2004, but above all with numerous music documentaries, some of which he shot in his adopted country Brazil (such as "Brasileirinho", 2005).

Other current Finnish feature films in the programme of the 30th FILMKUNSTFEST MV are the generational portrait “Games people play" by director Jenni Toivoniemi. Topic is the reunion of eight childhood friends that is thrown off balance and rivalries, tensions and old scores come to the fore.

Furthermore, the tragicomedy "Forrest Giant" by director Ville Jankeri will be screened during the festival. It is about the upwardly mobile Pasi, who has started a hopeful career in an international timber company and is to make dismissals in the factory in his home village. The drama "The Last Ones" by Estonian director Veiko Öunpuu casts a critical spotlight on the life of the Finnish Lapland minority in the villages of the tundra. On the radar is also the conflict-ridden relationship between reindeer herders and mine workers under harsh working conditions.

The Finnish-Swedish creator of the world-famous cartoon characters, the Mummins, who still enjoy great popularity today, is featured in director Zaida Bergroth’s film. The captivating artist drama "Tove" tells the story of the unusual life of children's book illustrator Tove Jansson (1914-2001). (German distributer: Salzgeber)

The documentary "Nature Symphony" by the award-winning nature filmmaker Marko Röhr focuses entirely on impressive images of the fascinating Finnish flora and fauna and is presented as an open-air screening in the courtyard of Schwerin Castle. The nature film, accompanied by symphonic music, will be introduced by the director himself and by Ilias Missyris, the director of the Vaasa Wildlife Festival, which takes place in Schwerin's Finnish twin city Vaasa.

For the first time in Germany, two English-subtitled episodes of the highly acclaimed Finnish television series "Peacemaker" by director Aj Annila ("The Eternal Road") are presented. The thriller, which is set against the backdrop of the Kurdish conflict in the web of global politics and the arms trade, is fast-paced and exciting and proves impressively that TV series can be produced in Finland at a high international level. The film was also shot in Southwest Finland, Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania’s partner region, and representatives of the local Film Commission are expected in Schwerin.

The director of the renowned international short film festival in Tampere, Finland, Jukka-Pekka Laakso, has put together a special short film programme for the FILMKUNSTFEST MV with six very different contributions, which completes the cross-section of filmmaking from this year's guest country.

Numerous filmmakers from Finland are expected to attend the screenings.

The artistic director of the FILMKUNSTFEST MV, Volker Kufahl, emphasises: "Finnish cinema is vital, diverse and lives from its strong stories. In selecting current productions, it was important to us to emphasise the cultural connections between our guest country and Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania, which are based on city and regional partnerships, among other things."