Heikki Pölönen, text and photo
Miia Sillanpää, translation
Festival Director Jukka-Pekka Laakso (left) and his predecessor Pertti Paltila do not believe in forced change.
The basic idea and structure of Tampere Film Festival have remained similar since the early days of the festival into the 21st century. Bringing together Eastern and Western cultures is a recurring theme of the festival. Jukka-Pekka Laakso, Festival Director for the sixth year running, notes that this is a conscious policy.
– We always try to offer alternatives to the West. Then again, the festival also promotes cultural export since foreign festival visitors attend screenings of Finnish films, tells Laakso.
Pertti Paltila, who ran the festival for 29 years and is still involved in the cultural circles of Tampere, also believes that the basic idea is still visible.
– The film festival has always offered talented young filmmakers the chance to get their films to the big screen. Every year we have put together topically themed showcases of new short films.
The first international short film festival was organized in Tampere in 1970. According to Paltila, films' themes are not as explicitly political as they were in the 70's and 80's. Today's films deal more with individuals rather than social issues. In any case, political themes are not a self-evident part of the festival, because films are chosen primarily on the basis of their quality.
Tampere Film Festival has profiled itself as a festival for film professionals. Therefore, the programme is also chosen with them in mind. With this uncompromising attitude, the organisers try to meet the needs of audiences interested in short films.
– We focus on films that don't usually receive attention and that are difficult to market. We want to offer audiences films that they can't see elsewhere, says Laakso.
Nobody is then trying to organize a festival for the masses. The small spaces alone limit the possibilities to increase the number of visitors. A wider programme has already attracted criticism.
But isn't the film festival still in a way forced to renew itself?
– Obviously we don't want to get stuck in a rut, so every year we strive to operate more fluently – but film always comes first, of course, Laakso responds.
Why we exist (FN 7.3.2007)
Updated 14 March 2008 14:08