White Sky

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Unfiction is a series of documentary films that turn truth into something other than fact, using poetry and imagination, rather than transparency and objectivity. These filmmakers question the very notion of authenticity, and disobey the typical documentary filmmaking practices; instead they stage their own realities on location, employing techniques such as reenactment, personal voice-overs and special effects.

White Sky refers to the cloud of white dust that arrives to the Russian town of Monchegorsk every morning from the local nickle mine, obscuring the sky. Focusing on the day-to-day lives of a family who live and work in the town, White Sky presents a view of human relationships and adaptability rather than of ecological disaster. The film combines long takes of the town's scorched earth interspersed with intimate scenes of the family's domestic life, many of which were re-enacted for the film.

The screening will be followed by a talk by filmmaker and film theorist Susanna Helke.

Emily Berçir Zimmerman

Susanna Helke (b.1967) is an award winning documentary filmmaker, university lecturer and film theorist based in Helsinki, Finland and San Francisco. Her films, co-directed with Virpi Suutari, play with the borders of documentary and fiction, observational and reenacted documentary.

Her films explore the transcendence found in everyday moments in the lives of ordinary people - a family living in the desolate wasteland of Northern Russian, young and idle men up to no good in a remote region of Finland or Somali refugee children building a hut and arguing with their Finnish friends about Allah, Jesus and the resurrection of a mouse in the backyard forest of the apartment building in the outskirts of Helsinki.

Her films have been featured in various international documentary film festivals and have received several awards, including the nomination for the European Film Academy Arte award for Best Documentary, the Best Scandinavian Documentary Award the Best Documentary Film award in the Finnish Academy Awards. Several European festivals have held retrospectives of her work.

Susanna received her doctorate from the University of Art and Design, Helsinki and her dissertation on cinematic approaches intertwining documentary and fictional methods was published as a book with a title Nanookin jälki (A Trace of Nanook) by University of Art and Design Helsinki Publishing 2006. She is currently affiliated with the UC Santa Cruz Film Program as a visiting filmmaker and scholar.

White Sky
October 8, 2009, 7:30PM
Return to Unfiction

Direction, script, editing: Susanna Helke and Virpi Suutari Cinematography: Tuomo Virtanen
Sound: Olli Huhtanen Music: Sanna Salmenkallio Producer: Lasse Saarinen, Kinotar Ltd.