While I was in Finland, I was generously invited to travel to Vasa on the west coast of Finland, in the predominantly Swedish speaking part, to give a talk about my work. It wasn't just any old talk, it was a luscious vegetarian brunch in an old soap factory! On arriving in Vasa, I was struck by the immense natural beauty of the place - Britt, who was hosting me, told me that the birds had only just returned after the long hard winter, and what a joy it was to hear them sing again! That place is just perfect for making films, and I imagine with those long summer daylight hours, you could make an entire feature-length film in a short amount of time.
Filmverkstaden is an analogue film and sound art organisation, founded by Britt Koostra and her partner Arvid van der Rijt, who are both artists and who live in a gorgeous house in the countryside by a river that keeps overflowing its bounds and that their son Heikki loves to gondola across! They showed me such amazing hospitality, they're beautiful people, I hope years don't elapse before we see each other again!
As well as hosting screenings and artist talks, Filmverkstaden organise filmmaking workshops including workshops on Super 8 and 16mm, analogue photography workshops, and sound art workshops. During my visit, I met an artist called Patrik Qvist, who kindly gave me a copy of his book on shacks - a beautiful, poetic piece of work with a collection of honest, touching, beautiful writings and drawings and paintings of shacks he has imagined and also physically made. A very interesting artist.
The brunch took place in Patrik's appartment, with all manner of delicious foods prepared by Britt and Arvid, and great coffee from Patrik. Oh and a pretty amazing raspberry cake was there too! Britt and Arvid's family were also there - Heikki (9), Pirkko (6) and Bogi (2). The event was open, and I met some really great people, all who were interested in filmmaking and who were such a receptive, brilliant audience to have - I couldn't have wished for better! We discussed all kinds of things, and I showed two of my films, and some of my pinhole Polaroid photographs I'd been working on at Arteles during my residency. I also passed around the black and white Super 8 films I'd processed in coffee for people to take a look at. After the talk, we also watched a few of the Super 8 reels from the recent Filmverkstaden Super 8 workshop Britt had run, playing them on an 'agfa family' projector.
Ah, what a wonderful experience! I went back to Arteles by bus afterwards, glowing with pleasure and feeling all inspired and happy. Thanks so much, Britt, Arvid, Heikki, Pirkko, Bogi, Patrik, and all who attended the talk!
I was even paid well for my time, which was an added bonus to an already great day.
I took a Polaroid of the brunch that conveys it really well, but I haven't scanned my Polaroids in yet so it'll have to come a little later, but in the meantime here are a few photos!
And here's a link to Filmverkstaden!