Three days behind and a lot has been seen and done. Still there is a whole weekend ahead for experiencing Tampere Film Festival!
This is my first year as a volunteer staff member at TFF. During earlier years I have sat several times in the audience and also made stories about TFF as a journalist. I got to know the hecticness of festival work while working as a festival publicist at Savonlinna Opera Festival, so I knew what to expect volunteering at Tampere Film Festival communications team. Even so I have wondered many times during this week, how many people and how many things to do there are to make this kind of festival happen!
I volunteered at Tampere Film Festival for many reasons. I wanted to have a new experience and get a new point of view about the festival. I wanted to see as many short films as possible. I wanted to have something concrete to do and meet new people. At the moment I am doing my PhD studies at the University of Tampere. I am very thrilled about my research topic that is journalistic sound, but sometimes it is good to do something totally different. For that purpose TFF works perfectly!
My assignments so far has been e.g. proofreading, encouraging guest to pose for photos at the opening party and taking part to opening of Toisenlaisia tarinoita screening. Now my job is to write to you how I have felt about the festival so far.
Unfortunately this week has been very busy one so I haven’t seen so much short films I planned to. Luckily my Friday was open for short films so I went to see Finland-Swedish 2, Walls 3 and European Film Awards 2. The two first ones have second screenings on Saturday so I will write few words to recommend you to go and see them.
The best thing about TFF for the audience is the versatility. In the same screening you can see fact and fiction, dramatic films about serious matters and films with crazy humour. Every year I have seen films that have been something totally different than I have seen before.
The screening Finland-Swedish 2 gave me lot to think about. Anna-Sofia Nylund’s Queen of Splinters and Antonia Ringblom’s Tiger told tragic true stories and made me feel a bit helpless. In the same screening Andreas Westerberg’s Is it too much to ask? and Niklas Lingren’s It is about language were just hilarious.
I was especially enchanted by Westerberg’s film Is it too much to ask? because I am interested in sound design of films. After the screening Westerberg told that the film is all about the sound and rhythm. In this film the soundtrack was made first!
As a volunteer at TFF I have got to know that there are many film makers present at the festival. I can imagine that this is a great opportunity for many of them to meet colleagues around the world. It feels quite unique to sit in the audience knowing there are makers of these very films present in the same screening. In many screenings there is Q & A for audience to ask questions and hear filmmakers telling about their films. That is a great experience which you can only get by seeing films at the festival!
Walls 3 was rough. Well, what else can you expect if all the films are about refugees? Still I was quite surprised how deeply many of these films affected me, having read and seen so many articles and news clips about refugees. Especially the documentaries Before our eyes by Frans Huhta and The European Dream: Serbia by Jaime Alekos set me on the spot as a viewer where I had not been before. I think I heard sniffling in the audience during these films. I don’t think everyone of them had a flu. At least I didn’t have.
The most memorable experience so far for me has been Samir Syriani’s fiction film Contact which had a world premiere at TFF on Friday. The movie is about a sniper living near border line shooting every refugee who is trying to cross the border. The sniper finds a tape from the pocket of one of his victims and starts to listen the tape. In the film there in no other voices than the woman speaking on tape. The pace of the narration is slow so the eye catches all the details. Contact is a very beautiful and even elegant film about a terrible matter.
Syriani told he got the idea when in a certain discussion he heard a friend say that there should be snipers shooting every refugee trying to cross the border. Syriani explained there has been a circle of violence between the Lebanese and the Syrians for a long time. For many Lebanese is it difficult to welcome Syrians if in the past their families have encountered violence from Syrians. As a Lebanese filmmaker Syriani wants to bring this up so the solution would be search and found.
Films of the screening Walls 3 and Syriani’s words after the screening made me think how Europe centered at least my thoughts have been about refugees. That is the point of view we are usually given by the media in Finland. As Syriani said, in Europe receiving refugees is well organized compared to Lebanon where it is a total chaos. According to Syriani there are 2 million Syrian refugees in small country of Lebanon with people of 4 million.
Before the screening of Walls 3 Festival Director Jukka-Pekka Laakso pointed out that Samir Syriani had a wish to visit other parts of Finland after TFF but Finnish authorities didn’t give permission. Syriani has to leave Finland immediately after the festival. Speaking of the walls…