Maija Blåfield’s The Fantastic (2020) received the Best of Fest and the Best Documentary Awards at Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, UK. The Best of Fest Award is the main award of the festival and includes £1,000 in prize money. Aesthetica SFF was held online from November 3 – 8, with the online content being available until November 30.
Previously, The Fantastic has been awarded with the Main Prize of the National and the Youth Juries at Tampere Film Festival, as well as with the Best Documentary Short Award at DOKer and Makedox documentary film festivals in Russia and Macedonia.
The Fantastic is a film about encountering the unknown and the relationship between imagination and reality. The film is built on interviews with exiled North Koreans, who describe what they imagined the outside world to be like, based on their experiences of watching smuggled western fiction films. Alternating documentary footage and visual effects, the film raises the question of how reality is defined and what we wish to believe in. The Fantastic reverses the set-up where westerners are peeping in on the everyday life of the closed-off state. In this film, it is the North Koreans who direct their curiosity at the outside world and imagine what life in Western countries is like.
Maija Blåfield is an artist and an experimental documentary filmmaker from Helsinki, Finland. Her works often combine documentary and fiction in some way, exploring the fantastic side of our everyday life and digging up the stories from its events. She was granted the State Prize for the Media Arts in 2014 and in 2017, she was a nominee for Ars Fennica award for contemporary art. Her works have been screened in international and national festivals, television, art museums and exhibitions.
The Fantastic is distributed in collaboration between AV-arkki – The Centre for Finnish Media Art and Raina Film Festival Distribution.
Aesthetica Short Film Festival, 3 – 30 November 2020, York, UK
More information: ASFF