This year’s festival brings together celluloid stories from all corners of the world with home-grown scandals.
Arto Halonen’s new documentary When Heroes Lie promises to shock with revelations about the doping scandal of Finland’s cross country skiing team.
Another much touted premiere at the festival is Yle’s Mannerheim film shot in Kenya. Both films have already caused a great stir in the home press.
Festival director Pekka Lanerva welcomes the discussion and reactions caused by such movies. According to Lanerva, such provocative film is precisely what HIFF has tried to promote in Finland during its 25 years.
The festival, which was started as a small alternative event by the culture association Image, has been Finland’s largest annual film event since 1993. In the last years, it has boasted audiences in excess of 50,000.
The festival has hosted a number of luminaries, from Hong Kong action director John Woo to ethereal Icelandic band Sigur Rós, who in 2007 supported a film about the group with a live performance.
Biggest program to date
This year’s Love & Anarchy brings more films to Helsinki’s silver screens than ever before. There are also new events for industry professionals, including the Finnish Film Market.
In contrast to previous years, HIFF 2012 is not focusing on particular world regions in its film programme. The 25 anniversary edition instead offers a multifaceted, varied view on the world.
“We have films from over 50 countries. As such, we want to make the festival as frustrating as possible for cinema fans. In choosing to go and see a certain movie, one is aware of missing another essential film at the same time,” Lanerva jokes.
The Helsinki International Film Festival runs until 30 September.