Hello from snowy, snowy Finland. It has been lightly snowing now for almost two days straight and it is truly a winter wonderland here. Hard as hell to get around and, unfortunately, audience attendance for screenings took a bit of a dip yesterday because of it, but the weekend promises to be full of fun things to do and see and the weather will be a bit warmer.
Personally, my afternoon today will be spent in one of the oldest saunas in the city, followed by a "big, noisy dinner" hosted by our dear friends at Mouka Filmi Oy at Ravintola Martta's, run by the Pesunkestävä martta, a Finnish home economics organization founded in 1899 (wow!) to promote the quality and standard of life in the home. Their ethos: to enhance the use of nutritious food, take care of the home and garden kitchens, and help families manage their household budgets. And after that healthy, eco-friendly meal, everyone will move to Café Moskva to drink vodka. Also tonight, the American Ambassador to Finland, Bruce Oreck and his wife, Cody, will host a small party at a local restaurant. At 9:00 p.m., Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher will have their national premiere of October Country (débuting their new 35mm answer print) at the Maxim theater.
Also on tap tomorrow, we go international: DocPoint Tallinn in Estonia starts today and goes through Sunday. In Helsinki, films start at 1:00 p.m., including Nicolas Philibert's Louvre City at the Maxim 1, Frederick Wiseman's La Danse--The Paris Ballet Opera at the Maxim 2, Lucy Gaffy's Century Witness and Vadim Jendreyko's The Woman With the 5 Elephants, Michael Madsen's Into Eternity, and Renzo Martens' Episode 3--Enjoy Poverty all at the Kiasma, José Padilha's Garapa at the BioRex, another repeat performance of Miesten Vuoro (Steam of Life), the opening night film, at 7:00 p.m. at the Bristol (don't miss it!), Nicolas Philibert's classic To Be and To Have at the Maxim 1, more selections from Robert Flaherty at the Orion, and Peter Liechti's challenging The Sound of Insects: Record of a Mummy at 9:30 p.m. at the Bristol. All of the visiting American filmmakers and I are taking a trip to Tallinn, a two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride across the sea, to be hosted there by the festival staff and Kimberly Reed will be screening Prodigal Sons at 6:00 p.m. at the KUMU, Art Museum of Estonia. Field trip!
Sunday, the last day of the fest, brings many great films to catch and Philibert's Master Class from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Media Centre Lume (and who wouldn't want to look at that smile for six hours?). Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith's The Most Dangerous Man in America plays at the BioRex (and plays in Tallinn this day, as well), October Country has its second screening at 1:00 p.m. at the Maxim 1, Mehran Tamadon's Bassidji plays at the Ateneum, Visa Kolso-Kanttila's new film, Miehen Kuva, plays at the Bristol, Mads Brügger's brilliant Red Chapel plays at the BioRex and Lixin Fan's Last Train Home (which I'm very excited to see) plays at the BioRex, as well, at 9:00 p.m.
Due to a full schedule of events and hosting duties, reviews and other blogging delights will be a bit delayed until early next week, I'm pretty sure. Check the DocPoint web site for times and theaters and more news from Helsinki and Tallinn.
Mid-week, next week, I depart for the festival in Göteburg, Sweden to (very proudly) represent Nicole Opper's international début of Off and Running (opening TONIGHT IN NEW YORK CITY at the IFC Center). The filmmaker and her subject, and lots of other special guests, will be there for afternoon and evening screenings this weekend. You can read my newly-posted conversation with Nicole on Hammer to Nail here. Yes, I've been a busy girl. More news from Helsinki soon.