24th Helsinki International Film Festival includes 120 features and 80 shorts; selected titles will be screened free online

A showcase for local audiences for 23 years, now with 120 features and 80 shorts unspooling on 12 screens, Finland’s Love & Anarchy - The Helsinki International Film Festival, launched its ten-day programme yesterday (Sept 15).

”’Today ’international’ would be too big a word, but we have started to develop the Finnish focus in the festival which is organised by the Finnish film industry,” said festival producer Sara Norberg. ”This year we are presenting 19 local productions, including six which have just been finished, all to be introduced by the directors. Selected titles will be screened for free online.”

”Finnish producers are already using Love & Anarchy as a launching platform, and several local features have started an international life here. Last year, for instance, we introduced Dome Karukoski’s Lapland Odyssey (Napapiirin sankarit) as our Finnish gala and Jalmari Helander’s Rare Exports as our surprise film, and they both toured festivals worldwide.”

The gala premiere of Joona Tena’s Body of Water (Syvälle salattu) spearheads the package of new films, with Aleksi Mäkelä’s Home Sweet Home (Kotirauha), Peter Lindholm’s Where Once We Walked (Missä kuljimme kerran)), Elias Koskimies’s Dirty Bomb (Likainen pommi), Rax Kinnekangas’ A Journey to Eden (Matka Edeniin) and Mia Halne’s Forever Yours (Ikuisesti sinun).

Opened by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito), festival director Pekka Lanerva has chosen Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation (Jodaeiye Nadr az Simin) – the Berlinale winner – for the closure. Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, which named him Best Director at Cannes, will be on show at the Love & Anarchy Gala.

After focusing on Japanese and Hong Kong product, the festival, which last year reached 56,000 admissions, now covers the world in sections French Cuts, Orizzonti Italiana, Bollywood and Beyond – even Watch Me, I’m Irish. Balkanize! is a new series of six films from the Balkans, including Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once upon a Time in Anatolia,

Besides presenting Norwegian director Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters (Hodejegerne) and Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s Play in the Spotlight section, 16 Scandinavian frequent festival travellers play as part of Nordic Exports, including Danish director Eva Mulvad’s The Good Life (Det gode liv), Icelandic director Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Volcano and Norwegian director Joachim Trier’s Oslo, August 31st.