FILMS IN KARELIAN LANGUAGE
Our film project is a film trilogy of ethnographic art films, which consists of the first films in history made in the Karelian language. Each film in the trilogy is its own independent creation and can stand alone without the other films. The common theme of the films is that of transition. The duration of each film is about half an hour long.
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 almost 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, completed at the end of 2021, describes Karelian mythology and ritualism related to death. The film follows the journey of a dead man's soul to his home, where he is guided by a soul bird. Ilmu, which will premiere in 2023, tells about the birth and related Karelian and Kalevalian mythology and ritualism. The language used in the films is Karelian, especially the Olonets Karelian dialect. The films are subtitled in both in Finnish and English.
Veneh and Lindu have toured actively at festivals and events all over Finland and also in France and Japan. Veneh has also been shown on the Rossija 1 TV -channel in the Republic of Karelia before the war in Ukraine. Veneh won the best Finnish short film award at the Scandinavian International Film Festival 2017. After the completion of the third film Ilmu, the films will start a new active tour both in Finland and abroad as a trilogy. Film screenings are accompanied by discussion sessions where the audience has the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the Karelian language and culture, and to hear about the completion of the film project. After the event tour, each film will be made available to everyone on this site. Since it is a non-profit art film project, it is important that the films are accessible to as many people as possible internationally.
The producer, screenwriter and director of the film trilogy is dance artist Jyrki Haapala. Musician Robert Tobin acts as assistant director, co-writer and second producer. Folklore background and assistant producer is folk singer and producer Minna Karttunen. The films are filmed by visual artist Tero Puha. The music for the films are composed by folk musician and composer Saija Teirikangas.