Laura Hyppönen is a Finnish filmmaker based in London. Her short film Quadraturin is selected into the National & International Competitions.
Hyppönen decided to become a filmmaker at age fifteen. The films she watched in childhood also inspired her to get into the film industry.
–I took part in a video workshop at fine art school when I was fifteen and became excited about making videos because it was collaborative teamwork. The combined multidisciplinary nature of film also fascinated me; the fact that visual art, sound, performing arts and literature come together in the art of filmmaking, and perhaps also philosophy, psychology, history and politics. I also acted when I was younger and I was a member of the Helsinki Kellariteatteri (Kellari Theater); these interests supported each other. Perhaps most importantly the films that I saw in childhood left a strong impression on me – especially films by Fellini and Almodovar. They inspired me with their magic and carnivalistic atmosphere.
Nowadays based in London, Hyppönen was brought up in Finland studied in Denmark before relocating to the UK.
-I was 19 when I moved from Finland to Denmark to study at the European Film College. After that I continued my studies in England and ended up working in the film industry in London. After gathering experience from the industry and I established my own production company in London nine years ago.
Quadraturin tells the story of Sutulin who lives in a tiny cramped room in a communal Soviet apartment. A mysterious stranger offers him a sample of Quadraturin, a miracle product that promises to enlarge interior spaces.
–Quadraturin is an adaptation of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s short story which was written in 1926. Krzhizhanovsky was a Ukrainian-Polish author who moved to Moscow in the 1920’s, and died there in 1950. His literary works are still mostly unknown, by both Russian and international audiences because during the Soviet Union, his texts were far from the line of the official cultural policy. His works were found again from the archives after the fall of the Soviet Union, and finally a collection of his short stories translated into English for the first time in 2006. I found Krzhizhanovsky’s Quadraturin, in a collection of Soviet short stories. The visual concept, cinematic rhythm, black humour and strong characters jumped from the pages straight into my cinematic imagination.
Hyppönen and her team wanted to be faithful to the context of the original story, but they also took some artistic liberties. They decided to adapt the story in film noir style, setting it in a non-descript past.
-When deciding on the best way to adapt Quadraturin into a film, my team and I felt it was important to be faithful to the context of the original story, and that is why we set the film in the Soviet Union. The lack of living space is of course a universal topic, but the story can also be seen as a metaphor for the hopes of the Soviet Revolution, and its nightmarish consequences for ordinary people. Ignoring this context, for example by modernising the text, would have removed this subtext from the film. We did, however, take some artistic liberties with our adaptation, and employed a black and white film noir aesthetic, locating the film firmly in the past, but not necessarily in a specific decade. A noir aesthetic felt like an organic stylistic choice for the dark story, and one that excited me a lot, since I’m a huge fan of the film noir canon.
Ideas come to me from many different sources and connect through some subconscious process into little film embryos. Uncomfortable experiences from my own life are particularly likely to find their way into the scriptwriting process, but ideas also come from my dreams, from political structures out in the world, from small surprising events of everyday life, and from music.
Hyppönen just finished her 47-minutes long experimental film Do Not Feed the Pigeons. It is a dystopian fantasy, inspired among others by George Orwell’s 1984. It is set in contemporary London and the Karelian countryside in Finland.
She is currently working on two feature film scripts: a psychological thriller set in Finland, with some supernatural elements, and a neo-noir crime thriller set in London.
National Competition 11: Thu 8.3. 16:00 Plevna 5 | Sat 10.3. 18:00 Plevna 2
International Competition 8: Fri 9.3. 21:00 Plevna 5 | Sat 10.3. 11:00 Plevna 2