Full festival programme is out!

Tampere Film Festival brings film lovers together for the 53rd time. From 8 to 12 March, there are film screenings in Cine Atlas in Koskikeskus and Arthouse Cinema Niagara in Kehräsaari, in addition to which there are numerous events both for the general public as well as film and media professionals.

Short films are at the heart of the festival, and like previous years, hundreds of short films are screened in the National, International and Generation XYZ competitions, as well as the Special Programme screenings. The most prominent Special Programme themes of 2023 include Queerscenes, shining a light on queer history, Free Zone, exploring the use of public space, and Maghreb & France, with four screenings of recent short films from France as well as the Maghreb countries Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Through these films, the audience gets an insight into the history and present day of France’s former colonies and their relationship with France and the French language. We are invited to take a look beyond the newspaper headlines and to get to know the reality of the Maghreb countries as well as the life of people with North African heritage living in France.

Well-known Finnish actor Elina Knihtilä’s career is celebrated in a retrospective screening and on Thursday, 9 March at 16.00 in a Masterclass discussion, in which Knihtilä is interviewed by actor Seidi Haarla. In addition, the Elina Knihtilä: Carte blanche screening features a selection of Knihtilä’s favourite short films. 

Azar Saiyar, who won the AVEK Award in 2022, and works with moving images, will also have her own retrospective screening. Saiyar’s works could be characterised as essay-like studies, where memories and archives come together as transitory layers. The screening is realised in cooperation with AV-arkki.

Queer History from the Archives to the Big Screen

The Queerscenes Special Programme brings gender and sexual minorities to the forefront through various archival films and short films by marginalised filmmakers. Two of the Queerscenes screenings are compiled by the Swedish queer archive SAQMI (The Swedish Archive for Queer Moving Images): Queer Moving History, which deals with the political struggles and the history of the Swedish Pride movement from 1979 to the present day, and See Us – Dark Matter, which gives space to the “dark matter” of queer Sweden by bringing lesser-known, anti-mainstream filmmakers to the big screen. Complementing the SAQMI screenings, an open panel discussion Making Queer Heritage takes place on Friday, 10 March at 16.00 concentrating on the power implemented on and the marginalisation of the LGBTQ+ community’s cultural heritage from both outside and within the community. The discussion is in English and moderated by Sam Message, the curator of the screenings.

Queerscenes screenings Q-Files 1–2 take a look at Finnish queer history. Tampere Film Festival Executive Director, Riina Mikkonen, says the screenings came about out of an interest in researching how the audiovisual history of sexual and gender minorities has been recorded in Finland: “The idea is to also bring to the forefront material that has not necessarily been thought of as queer history. Queer has historically been on the margins, and its recording has been almost non-existent. These topics may have been consciously forgotten or considered taboo. The objective is to shine a light on people and phenomena that have been overlooked, and remind us that minorities also have a valuable history.”

Charles Bryant and Alla Nazimova‘s decadent cult film Salomé (USA, 1922) is also a part of the Queerscenes Special Programme, screened at Cine Atlas on Friday, March 10 at 21.30. The intensely atmospheric silent film, adapted from Oscar Wilde’s play, is live-accompanied by Draama-Helmi, known for her experimental rap music, and guitarist Tommi Kakko.

Who Does the City Belong to?

Last year’s urban space theme is continued in the three Free Zone screenings. This year, the focus is especially on the ownership of urban space, studied through street art, skateboard culture, criticism of capitalism and civic activism, among other things. There are three short film screenings, of which Free Zone 1 consists of short documentaries, while screenings 2 and 3 feature skateboarding films related to the topic. A feminist perspective on urban space is provided by Dora García‘s documentary If I Could Wish for Something (2021), set in Mexico City, where large-scale demonstrations against street violence make space for equality in public space and discussion.

The themes of the Free Zone screenings are discussed further in the Free Zone? public discussion on Thursday, March 9 at 20:00, with film directors Jacob Elliott Harris and Ines Särkkä, sustainable urban development lecturer Salla Jokela, urban sociology professor Duncan McDuie-Ra and professional skateboarder and cameraman Samu Karvonen. The discussion, organised by Tampere Film Festival and the University of Tampere, is in English and moderated by researcher Mikko Kyrönviita.

Old and New from Ukraine, Celebration Screenings and Gems from the Archives

Dzіga Vertov‘s avant-garde classic Man with a Movie Camera (Ukraine, 1929), filmed in Ukraine, is screened at Tampere Cathedral on Friday, 10 March at 19:00. The free screening is organised in cooperation with Tampere Lutheran Parishes, and the silent film is live-accompanied by organist Esa Toivola. More recent Ukrainian films are seen on the big screen at AV-arkki’s screening Ukraine Experimental, consisting of experimental and documentary short films by Ukrainian female artists from 2018–2020. The screening takes the audience on a powerful journey into the themes of sexuality, physicality, war and violence, and due to its material, no under 18s are admitted.

Both Wacky Tie Films and the Finnish Animation Guild are celebrating their anniversaries this year. Tampere-based production company Wacky Tie Films celebrated its ten year anniversary at the end of last year, and Tampere Film Festival has the honour of presenting all their under-fifteen-minute short films in the special screening 10 Years of Wacky Tie Films. The two Finnish Animation Guild 25 Years screenings play tribute to Finnish short animation films.

Once again, the programme also includes a unique selection of gems from the archives. Rake Special is dedicated to Lauri Viita, Olavi Virta, Hannu Salama and Katariina Lillqvist, some of Pispala’s prominent figures, as well as Arvo Ahlroos and Peter von Bagh, who filmed Pispala. The Finnish Film Archive 1: Cumulus screening, curated by KAVI (National Audiovisual Institute), showcases episodes from a music program produced by the band Cumulus in 1973–1974, whose legendary film crew included band members Hector and Anki Lindqvist and cinematographers Pirjo Honkasalo and Esa Vuorinen. Finnish Film Archive 2: Kari Uusitalo 90 Years celebrates the 90th birthday of film commissioner and loyal Tampere Film Festival guest, who still attends the festival every year.

 Screenings for Children and Adolescents

Tampere Film Festival’s programme is mainly for people over 16 years of age, but the programme also includes specially curated screenings for children and adolescents. For children, there are the Minikino screenings, which are free of charge, their unifying themes being joy and wonder. Minikino 1 on Saturday is suitable for children over 4 years of age, and Minikino 2 on Sunday is suitable for elementary school children who can read. The themes of the Moodkino screenings are friendship and working together. Moodkino 1 is for middle school students and Moodkino 2 for secondary school students over 15 years of age.

See all screenings: https://tamperefilmfestival.fi/en/festival-2023/screenings/ 

Events: https://tamperefilmfestival.fi/en/festival-2023/events/ 

Industry Programme: https://tamperefilmfestival.fi/en/industry-programme/

Serial cards and tickets for individual screenings are on sale in Lippupiste (online and sales points). The competition screenings are also available on the Festhome TV platform 8–19 March. For more information on tickets, please see: https://tamperefilmfestival.fi/en/festival-2023/tickets/

Photo: Jeffrey Mayeda