Maija Blåfield’s The Fantastic in competition screenings in Italy and Iran

Maija Blåfield’s The Fantastic (2020) was selected for competition programmes of Laceno d’Oro International Film Festival, held from December 1–8 2021 in Avellino, Italy, and online, and Iran DocFest CinemaVerite, held from December 9–16 2021 in the Documentary and Experimental Film Centre, Tehran.

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 internatonal and national festivals, television, art museums and exhibitions.

Laceno d’Oro International Film Festival, December 1–8 2021 in Avellino, Italy & online

Iran DocFest CinemaVerite, December 9–16 2021, Tehran