Four Finnish short films in the international competition of ISFF Oberhausen

Anssi Kasitonni’s Sakke (2018), Johanna Lecklin’s Not Just a Matter of Passion (2018), Azar Saiyar’s Monument of Distance (2018), and Pilvi Takala’s The Stroker (2019) were selected for the international competition of the 65th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, held from May 1–6. Oberhausen Short Film Festival is one of the oldest short film festivals in the world. This year, the festival received over 7000 submissions from 127 countries.

Anssi Kasitonni’s latest short film Sakke introduces his new innovation, the first rc-snowboarder in the world. Sakke is going to make a film about himself with his friend.

Anssi Kasitonni is a skateboarder and an award-winning artist from Sahalahti, Finland. He has worked in music, drawing and sculpture, but to many of his fans, the most beloved of his works are the short films he makes at his own farm. The films deal with age-old questions related to morality, love, death, generation gaps, sexuality and, of course, submarines. The ideas are epic, the films decidedly homespun. His movies create their own world that tells us something essential about ours. Kasitonni won the esteemed Ars Fennica Award in 2011.

Anssi Kasitonni: Sakke (2018)

Anssi Kasitonni: Sakke (2018)

Johanna Lecklin’s Not Just a Matter of Passion (2018, in featured image) comprises two parallel narratives. One shows two young girls discussing the Finnish Civil War as they play a board game based on the 1918 conflict between the Reds and the Whites. In the other, a researcher is listening to an archive interview and viewing photographs taken at the time of the Civil War. Her work focuses on the fates of women and children on the red side of the conflict, the division that split Finnish society in two and the process by which each side attempted to dehumanise the other. The events are set in the present day, with some scenes shot on location in Mänttä-Vilppula, a site of the Civil War front line.

Johanna Lecklin graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2003 and studied in London at the Slade School of Fine Art, in UCL. Lecklin works with video and photography. Her video work is based on documentary, narrativity and performativity. Lecklin’s works have been presented in numerous exhibitions in Finland and abroad, including the City States exhibition at Liverpool Biennial (2010) and It’s a Setup at Contemporary Art Museum Kiasma in Helsinki (2010).

In Azar Saiyar’s Monument of Distance, Googoosh, a popular and loved iranian-azerbaijani singer, performs a version of the song Ayrılıq – Separation. The performance is from 1970s television show and it has been copied several times from one videotape to another. Ayrılıq could be a love song but it is told that composer Ali Salimi (who had migrated from Soviet Azerbaijan to Iran and left behind his home and loved ones) wanted to make music about his sense of longing.

Azar Saiyar is a Helsinki-based filmmaker and visual artist. She often uses archive materials and plays with images and words of collective memory to look towards ways of looking, remembering and storytelling. Her films have been screened at international film and media art festivals, galleries, exhibitions, museums and broadcast on television.

Azar Saiyar: Monument of Distance (2018)

Azar Saiyar: Monument of Distance (2018)

The Stroker is based on Pilvi Takala’s two week-long intervention at Second Home, a trendy East London coworking space for young entrepreneurs and startups. During the intervention Takala posed as a wellness consultant named Nina Nieminen, the founder of cutting-edge company Personnel Touch who were allegedly employed by Second Home to provide touching services in the workplace.

Pilvi Takala lives and works between Berlin and Helsinki. Her video works are based on performative interventions in which she researches specific communities in order to process social structures and question the normative rules and truths of our behaviour in different contexts. Her works show that it is often possible to learn about the implicit rules of a social situation only by its disruption. Her work has been shown in MoMA PS1 and New Museum, Kiasma, Palais de Tokyo, Kunsthalle Basel, Manifesta 11, Witte de With, and the 9th Istanbul Biennial. Takala won the Dutch Prix de Rome in 2011 and the Emdash Award and Finnish State Prize for Visual Arts in 2013.

Pilvi Takala: The Stroker (2019)

Pilvi Takala: The Stroker (2019)

This year, Salla Tykkä is one of the jurors of the international competition.

The 65th ISFF Oberhausen marks also the second edition of Conditional Cinema, a special programme curated by Mika Taanila. This year’s programme includes the Finnish-German artist collective Speech Karaoke Action Group who invite audiences to participate in a real-time collage of speeches about cinema and to choose – and perform – their favourite “film speech” from avast pool, just like a favourite song in a traditional karaoke event.

AV-arkki’s programme coordinator Tytti Rantanen will present AV-arkki’s distributor screening and attend the meetings of DINAMO – Distribution Network of Artists’ Moving Image Organizations.

The 65th ISFF Oberhausen, May 1–6 2019, Germany

More information: ISFF Oberhausen