Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tampere Film Festival 2013

I knew Tampere as one of the Ryanair destinations in Finland and that's it; that was about two months ago. Then, I somehow realised (how could I've missed it) that my sister lives nearby and that Tampere holds an annual film event, a noticeable one: Tampere Film Festival together with Clermont-Ferrand and one or two others, is one of the biggest short film festivals in Europe.

Off I went, to find myself in a place where zero temperatures equal "bikini weather" and where the wind blows sometimes so much, it makes you rush inside. Good that my plans involved mainly hiding in cinemas like Plevna, Tullikamari or Niagara and partying at Klubi.

Frozen lakes are a lovely place for Finnish kids to play apparently, much as the moving image and the printed word are my own toys. I already knew that I wanted to concentrate to three particular sections of the festival, presenting Asia through either short film selections or documentaries. The fact itself that a Nordic country loves the faraway and the exotic, as I thought, was intriguing. After a friendly chat with Juhani Alanen, I realised that the feelings and adventurous mind of the film programming team can do miracles. With the help of a special fund from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this "super market of short films" as he describes it, presents one faraway country every year for more than twenty years now. This year it was Phillippines, while in the past Tampere Film Festival showcased short films from Nepal, Brazil, Indonesia and elsewhere.

Juhani emphasises that he likes films to tell a new story about the country, a story not related to the one we already have been sold from media -he actually wants to know the story from natives, the people that live and breath in the country. He's not that interested in quality and production values, as in the surface, but in the substance of the film itself. Which is the right approach, I think. Most of my time at the Festival was spent discovering new cultures -the sections Focus on the Phillippines, China Experience and Doc:Asia gave me a lot of food for thought. I didn't leave out the national and international competition, where I discovered little gems as well -I will write about some in detail later.

My reading companion in this trip was, surprisingly enough, Don DeLillo's L'uomo che cade, yes, as you hear it, in the Italian translation. Absolutely cinematical.

* A longer article on my Tampere Film Festival experience is available in Greek on DocTV.

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