FILMS IN KARELIAN LANGUAGE

Our film projects are a non-profit, educational series of ethnographic art films made for educational purposes. Our intention is to make an ensemble of three films. The film series consists of the first films ever made in the Karelian language.

Karelia had established itself as its own language at least 1,300 years ago, but it still has no legal status in Finland. Today there are approximately 10,000 Karelian native speakers in Finland, and in and around 20,000 who understand and speak it in some way. In Russia, there are less than 100,000 Karelians and about 50,000 of them speak the Karelian language. We aim to arouse a wider interest in Karelian culture, and to contribute to the revival of Karelian language skills, as well as to the discussion on the current state and status of the Karelian language.

Our films depict the sacred and important rites of passage which hold high significance in the Karelian culture and traditions. They also document and exhibit the ancient tradition of crying and reciting lamentations, which were of great importance when any transitional rituals took place. Veneh, completed in 2016, is an ethnographic description depicting the Karelian lament wedding tradition, held at the brides home. Viewers follow her last day at her family home, before the groom collects her to bring her away to his family. Lindu was started in the spring of 2021, describes the ritualism associated with death. The spoken language in the films is Livvi-Karelian, and both films are subtitled in Finnish and English.

Like Veneh, Lindu (and the third film to be made later) will be touring at various festivals and events in Finland and elsewhere in Europe. Film screenings will include discussion, where the audience has the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the Karelian language and culture, and hear about the processes and completion of the film projects. After the event tour, each film will be made available on our Vimeo channel for all to see. For us it is important that our films are available to be seen at an international level, for Karelians living abroad, for those with Karelian roots, and to bring this wonderful culture to the world to see and enjoy.

The screenwriter and director of the film trilogy is dance artist Jyrki Haapala. The films have been shot by visual artist Tero Puha. The music is composed by folk musician and composer Saija Teirikangas. Scriptwriting assistants and production managers are, Robert Tobin and Minna Karttunen.