Maija Blåfield’s The Fantastic (2020) was awarded with the first prize (ex aequo with Suneil Sanzgiri’s Letter from Your Far-Off Country, 2020) at Videoex Experimental Film & Video Festival, held in Zürich from October 1–10 2021. “Both films employ experimental, innovative and unexpected formal techniques with remarkable conceptual and political rigour”, lauded the jury in their statement.
The Fantastic is installed in the auxiliary programme of the exhibition “Stronger than Memory and Weaker than Dewdrops”, curated by Kevin Muhlen. The exhibition is open until January 30 2022 in Casino Luxembourg. The next festival screenings take place at Antimatter Media Art Festival, held in Victoria, Canada, from October 14–24 2021, and at Lanzarote International Film Festival, held from October 18–23 2021.
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 a 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.
Videoex Experimental Film & Video Festival, October 1–10 2021, Zürich, Switzerland
“Stronger than Memory and Weaker than Dewdrops“, September 25 2021 – January 30 2022, Casino Luxembourg
Antimatter Media Art Festival, October 14–24 2021, Victoria, Canada
Lanzarote International Film Festival, October 18–23 2021, Canary Islands