Seventh Edition of Loikka Festival Screened About 60 Dance Films

The Loikka dance film festival 2014 ended last Sunday on 6 April in Helsinki. The event started as a small dance film festival in Finland and then it grew through the years to emerge as an interesting medium-sized festival that created its own niche in the Finnish film and dance scene.

Loikka film festival. A chair fit for an angel 02, Director Raymond St-Jean.

A chair fit for an angel 02, Director Raymond St-Jean. Courtesy of Loikka.

The seventh edition of the festival featured diversified genres, techniques and styles of many cinematic dance works. Short and feature-length films, documentaries and 3D dance films were also shown in the festival.

Thomas Freundlich: “A lot of films had a world premiere in this festival”

Thomas Freundlich, co-artistic director of the festival, managed this year’s festival and the one before with his colleague Valtteri Raekallio. Thomas said to FINNBAY that the number of participating films was growing up from year to year and the quality of showings were still getting ahead.

“‘We have tried to be very opened about what is meant by a ‘dance film’. Documentaries are an important part of the program as well. This year we have several, there is a documentary by the Canadian filmmaker Raymond St-Jean  “A Chair Fit for an Angel” about the Shakers religious community in the U.S., which also features the work by Tero Saarinen, a well-known Finnish dancer and choreographer at a large end of the production section”.

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Freundlich remarks that the event received high interest from the international audience. Also some viewers were thrilled to have the European premier of some films during the festival. ”The Canadian premier was a big success where it won two awards: Best Canadian and Best French-Canadian production”, said Freundlich.

One of the documentaries that were featured was a Swedish one called “Ballerina”. The documentary is a poetic film where a life story is documented through dance scenes and narration but it’s also a choreography.

Another piece was made by a Finnish director Hiski Hämäläinen. His documentary centers around thirty years history of Finnish break dancing.

Around 38% increase in the number of the audience this year:

This year the festival increased the number of its audience by 38% compared to the previous year.

FINNBAY asked the co-artistic director whether there had been new changes in the program of this year, he said the number of open call films for the festival had been growing. This year, the festival received almost 200 films from all over the world.

Thomas Freundlich

Thomas Freundlich

The Loikka festival 2014 did not feature a radical departure compared to the earlier years. “We didn’t feel the need to make big changes,” said the co-artistic director.

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One of the new features adapted this year included screening 3D short films and 4K cinema. 4K is a technical term for projecting a much better quality image than others. This also allows see what this image quality can do to a dance film.

Two awards during the festival:

This year, the festival had two awards. The Loikka Audience Award; the public choses one favourite from the films. And the  Loikka Team Production Prize, which is a non-financial production grant to support the creation of a new dance film during 2014. This was actually decided to give to “Gravity” by Filip Piskorzynski and Natalia Dufraisse.

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Freundlich said: ”Since we are faced with budget constrain, however the crew will composed of the festival team, and people who make up the Loikka festival. In addition to high quality cameras and other equipment that will be offered to the winner. That would help the winner to create a new dance film”.

Who is:  Thomas Freundlich?:

He is a choreographer and a dancer. Couple of years ago he started moving into the field of dance film. With his long term friend and collaborator, Valtteri Raekallio. Both making some dance films. During the last years he was interested to be director of films and to learn more about the language of cinema and to make movies.

About Hamza Amarouche

Hamza is a senior journalist at FINNBAY. He specializes on events, cultural and social matters happening in Helsinki, Finland.

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