Härö sees statists as stars
Text: Riina Perttula
Translation: Hanna Tarvainen
"According to a popular Finnish song, every person is worth a song. Now it is the statists' turn to open their garderobes," director Klaus Härö says.
Härö's documentary film The Extra is an unique opportunity to see something totally different than a portrait of a director ar an actor. The star in Härö's film is statist Cristoffer Slotte.
Director Härö's eyes shine with ethusiasm, when he talks about the documentary film and its main character.
"The Extra is entertaining. Cristoffer is a very interesting person and the movie only shows a fraction of his skills. He is the soulmate of every film-lover."
The Extra is made for all people who love films and see films as the greatest form of art.
"Without film fanatics there would be no films, and without statists there would not be films either."
The 31-years old director Härö is best known for his film Elina - As If I Didn't Exist. The Finnish-Swedish co-production has recently won several awards around the world.
In the Swedish Guldbaggen Awards Härö received the esteemed Ingmar Bergman Award and in the Berlin International Film Festival the film Elina - As If I Didn't Exist took the top honour, the Crystal Bear Prize, for the best children's and youth film.
Härö is especially grateful that children and young people around the world have been interested in Elina - As If I Didn't Exist, although, according to the director himself, the subject of the film is not really seen as very "sexy" one in the eyes of media.
The story of the film is universal, although the film is set in the area on the Swedish side of the border between Finland and Sweden. For example, in Uruguay Elina - As If I Didn't Exist was awarded by a selection board that consisted mostly of street children.
Although film award galas have filled Härö's schedule during the past year, his life in his birth city Porvoo, among his family and relatives, is quite stable.
"My life is not trendy, I do not go to the restaurants Helsinki's. I live a real life," tells the happy father of a six-months old daughter.
Härö says he is still learning fatherhood. He does not yet know whether being a father has changed him as a person or as a film director.
Success has been a pleasant surprise to Härö, but it has not affected his work. The Extra was already being made when Elina - As If I Didn't Exist was succeeding around the world.
"I think that in a couple of years I can truly tell what the success of Elina - As If I Didn't Exist has meant to me."
To Härö, Elina - As If I Didn't Exist was a dream come true. He had wanted to make his own feature film since he was ten years old.
The positive feedback that Elina - As If I Didn't Exist has received, has also convinced Härö that he is in the right field, in the future he will also be doing what he has dreamed of since he was a teenager - making films.
Härö's profession as a film director has taught him a lot. The impatient director has had to learn how to be patient, and he has also needed to brush up on group working skills.
Although the media's interest in the young director has increased enormously during the past year, Härö does not see it as strange.
On the contrary, it is understandable that the student of the University of Art and Design has not appeared a lot in newspapers.
"The publicity has not happened overnight. I have had time to digest things."
Klaus Härö has studied directing fiction at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. He has learned making documentary films by actually making them.
"My first documentary film was a custom-made film. I was not sure if I could make documentary films. I really felt liberated when the work was finished."
The aims of documentary films and fiction films do not differ from each other. They both have the same purpose of telling a story. Only the ways of making the films are different. The director tells that when making a fiction film you can wait about for the perfect sunset that may not necessarily ever appear. "When I am making a documentary film, I do not wait about anything, but eventually, something really nice will be found."
The Extra in its first competition
The Extra, directed by Härö, was screened on TV on Christmas Day. After that it has been screened at DocPoint, the Helsinki Documentary Film Festival.
The Finnish Competition of the Tampere Film Festival is the first competition The Extra participates. Härö himself says that he still feels as if he was a novice in making documentary films.
Härö thinks rationally of participating in film competitions. The publicity brought by different competitions is important for a director.
"Films are a one-sided form of communication. Festivals are good places to interact with the general public. I feel privileged to be competing with Finland's best documentary film makers. The best documentary films in the world are made in Finland.
The Extra will be screened in the Finnish Competition at 12.00 on Thursday.
The Extra shows only one side of Christoffer Slotte(FN 2004 / wednesday)
Festival News, Wednesday 3 March 2004