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Smashing Pumpkins coming to Finland

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There goes the family

{mosimage}Last summer the directors of programming at the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) needed a soap opera to fill the hours of the summer afternoons. They chose a Spanish series featuring a loud speaking and eccentric, yet traditional, family. Surprisingly, Los Serrano (Serranon perhe) became so popular that in autumn, YLE needed to rebroadcast the series from episode 1 and to reschedule it to the more convenient weekend afternoons.

 

In Spain, the first season of Los Serrano was first produced and broadcast in 2003. Soon it become one of the most successful Spanish TV series ever. The second season, the one currently broadcasted in Finland, reached an average audience of seven million viewers and an audience share of 38% in evening prime time.

The series follows the successful and original formula that Spanish TV series developed in the mid 1990s. This formula goes beyond the tradition one-hour episode. They are usually 75 minutes long allowing much room for commercials and covering the main programming slot in the evenings. The theme is not exactly drama or comedy, but a balance between both that differentiates the Spanish series from the American productions. The popularity of these series is based on its portrayal of middle class characters and families. The viewers can feel very close to the situations and stories told in the plot.


Médico de Familia
(Perhelääkäri) was the first big hit of this genre and it was the first Spanish series to be broadcast in Finland. Daniel Écija, the producer of Médico de Familia, is also the man behind Los Serrano. This time there are no doctors, but school teachers and tavern owners involved. The Serrano family is formed by Diego Serrano, owner of a typical Spanish tavern with his grumpy brother. Diego is married to a school teacher called Lucía Gómez. Together they formed a big family with three sons and two daughters from a previous marriage. To make a long story short, the series is about  the common problems and not so common adventures of the family and their friends and relatives at home, school and at the tavern. As it should be, there's love: flirting, humor and also some touching moments. 

The popularity of the series in Finland is quite surprising. It seems too Spanish for a Finn. First of all, the language is complicated. Characters are very expressive, they speak loud and they curse a lot. A team of eight translators is in charge of writing the subtitles for YLE. They have a lot of work. It takes one week for a translator to translate one episode. The heavy use of slang does not make the job easy. Every episode is a window to the less glamorous, but friendly, Spanish way of living.

The leading role of Diego Serrano is played by popular actor Antonio Resines. Born in 1954, he has a long experience in cinema and television, especially in comedy parts. But the series has also been a tool for promoting new talents. When the series started young actor Fran Perea, who plays the old brother Marcos Serrano, became an idol for teenagers. Also his musical career was built around the main theme of the series that he sang. For some time he topped the charts, but at the moment he is more focused on his career as an actor and has participated in several feature films, including Antonio Banderas' El camino de los ingleses (2006). In any case, every other episode there is an opportunity for Perea showing him playing a song with his acoustic guitar.

In Spain, the last episode of the sixth season of Los Serrano was shown. The series has reached more than 120 episodes and in January there will be a new season. There have been many and surprising changes in the plot, but Finnish audience still needs to wait what happens to this peculiar family. Meanwhile, to avoid unpleasant spoilers we recommend not to google Los Serrano.


Los Serrano – Serranon perhe

Weekends at 14.45 YLE

Fran Perea is visiting Helsinki this week. He will be signing autographs at the Anttila Megastore in Kamppi: 27.11 at 18:00

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Happy Birthday, Suomi!

{mosimage}It's Finland's birthday! Today the country celebrates its declaration of independence from the Russian empire. It has not been an easy way down the road since 1917. One civil war, a war against the Soviet Union during World War II and a severe economical crisis at the beginning of the nineties before joining European Union have been the major obstacles in 90 years of sovereignty of the Republic of Finland. The recently released DVD Itsenäinen Suomi describes the most important events along this long road.

Nowadays Finland is a healthy country that enjoys an established welfare state system, ranks at the top of technology development and also at the top of the lists about education among youngsters. But how did it all begin? That's what Itsenäinen Suomi (Independent Finland) tells. By the way, don't be scare if you don't speak a word of Finnish, the dvd has English subtitles to reach a wider audience.

The documentary begins with a birth. At the same time as the parliament declares the independence of Finland, a baby is born in a house in the woods of Finland. She's Aino and her life, the life of an average working class Finn in the 20th century, will be told while history is being made for Finland.

Aino tells about the Civil War, about Paavo Nurmi and the mighty Finnish long distance runners who won so many medals at the Olympics, the "Lotta" nurses during the Second World War, the reconstruction of the country, the alcohol prohibition, the beggining of the electronics industry, the relations with the Soviet Union and the leftish opinions of the students in the sixties.

But this is not Forrest Gump. No fiction here. The film is based on archival footage. For a foreigner it will be very thrilling to see the White Army march through the streets of Helsinki or to see President Kekkonen  establishing good relations with the Soviet Union or the old cable factory in Ruoholahti or lots of rubber boots being made by Nokia. All the typical Finnish symbols can be seen.

Itsenäinen Suomi
was written by Antti Tuuri. It as a light tale, though. There are no deep political analyses or historical findings. But it is a nice introduction to the recent history of Finland. In spite of not being marketed for foreigners and tourist, this documentary would be appealing to those who cannot easily find images about Finland and its story. For Finns, it might not bring anything new, just a recognition of well known images and story from History class.

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More money to film production than producers demanded

The rest of the extra funds for the film industry will go to, among other things, the digitalization of small countryside cinemas and films for children.

In the previous proposal there was no extra money allocated to support domestically produced films, despite earlier suggestions by Wallin.

The over 10 million euros extra to directly benefit cultural, youth work and sports activities were freed up from the National Lottery profits. In the earlier proposal much of that money was reserved to partly cover rental expenses, paying off loans of cultural bodies and renovations (including the renovation of the National Theatre).

Funds to cover those real estate expenses will now have to be found elsewhere.

The Parliament will likely vote on the proposal on Friday.

Related:

Finnish film producers in protest: no new films

Film producers end the strike

 

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Finnish festivals more popular in 2007

The festival drawing the largest amount of visitors this year was the Maritime Festival in Kotka. An estimated 300,000 people visited the Tall Ship Races and other events in the port town 130 km east of Helsinki.

The festival with the biggest number of paying visitors (almost 65,000) was the Helsinki Festival. With 264,376 visitors in total, it was the second biggest Finnish festival overall in 2007.

TOP 10 BIGGEST FESTIVALS* – OVERALL

 1. Kotka Maritime Festival – 300 000 visitors
 2. Helsinki Festival – 264 376
 3. Pori Jazz – 153 000
 4. Kaustinen Folk Music Festival – 121 000
 5. Tampere Theatre Festival – 76 000
 6. World Village Festival, Helsinki – 70 000
 7. Puistoblues, Järvenpää – 70 000
 8. Savonlinna Opera Festival – 68 753
 9. Provinssirock, Seinäjoki – 55 000
10. Imatra Big Band Festival – 52 000

*) Includes only festivals that are members of Finland Festivals
(Source: Finland Festivals)

TOP 10 FESTIVALS* – PAYING VISITORS

 1. Helsinki Festival – 64 845 paying visitors
 2. Savonlinna Opera Festival – 58 555
 3. Pori Jazz – 58 000
 4. Kaustinen Folk Music Festival – 41 000
 5. Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival – 32 436
 6. Orivesi Summer Festivals – 26 741
 7. Art Centre Salmela, Mäntyharju – 26 000
 8. Tampere Theatre Festival – 26 000
 9. Provinssirock, Seinäjoki – 21 500
10. Kotka Maritime Festival – 20 000

*) Includes only festivals that are members of Finland Festivals
(Source: Finland Festivals)

The statistics given above are only based on the amounts of visitors of member festivals of Finland Festivals. Big events like the Tango Festival in Seinäjoki (104,390 visitors in 2007), the Raumanmeri Midsummer Festival (about 90,000) and Ruisrock in Turku (65,000) are not included.

Finland Festivals

Tango Festival, Seinäjoki

Raumanmeri Midsummer Festival

Ruisrock

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Obie Trice gig cancelled


Obie Trice
– Official website
Obie Trice
– MySpace

RL Entertainment

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Turku officially European Capital of Culture 2011

Finnish Minister of Culture Stefan Wallin finds the decision a great honour for the City of Turku, for Finland and for Europe. “Turku is Finland’s oldest city, and a place from which culture originated and remains to this day. This is a great day for us all. It feels wonderful to be from Finland and, even more specifically, from Turku”, Wallin commented in Brussels.

Every year cities in two EU countries get the honour to carry the title of European Capital of Culture for one year, based on a system of rotation. This year’s European Capitals are the cities of Luxembourg and Sibiu (Romania).

Cultural capitals have been chosen since 1980. The cities are given the chance to showcase their cultural diversity and development and promote their cultural activities internationally.

The cities of Turku and Tallinn are planning close co-operation.

Celebration
On Tuesday (20.11) the City of Turku is organizing a big Turku On Fire celebration on the Aura River banks to thank the thousands of people who took part in the bidding process. From 6 p.m. there will be a big fire show with dozens of performers at the Theatre Bridge next to the Turku City Theatre.

The organizers are kindly asking the audience to gather on the western side of the river close to Pharmacy Museum and the Student Theatre.

Turku 2011

Tallinn 2011

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Bringing theatre people together

{mosimage}Theatre lovers do not often have many opportunities to enjoy good plays in other languages than Finnish. The 4th International Baltic Circle Theatre Festival will bring temporarily a solution to the problem.

Finnish and foreign audiences have an excellent opportunity to discover artists from different places in Europe in the International Baltic Circle Theatre Festival, since one of the goals of the festival is to build a bridge for theatre lovers, companies and actors all over Europe.

 The quality of the plays featured this year is really high. Latvian director Alvis Hermanis, who won the European Theatre Prize this year, will show his play Ice, an extraordinary tale focused on a sect that hunts for “living hearts”, a stage adaptation of the Russian author Vladimir Sorokin. Meanwhile, Belarusian group Free Theatre, that is also a European Theatre Prize winner, will perform three plays, one being a world premiere. The three performances are subtitled in English. Lithuania is also represented in the festival with the Theatre Laboratory Atviras Ratas, visiting with its play Open Circle, aimed at being an open forum for the young actors.

Not only Baltic groups come to the festival, but also many others with a great presence of Scandinavian ones. The Swedish Teater Terrier will perform its brand new performance Dallas, and the Norwegian Verk Produksjoner will bring on stage a work from the most famous Norwegian dramatist, Finn Iunker. All these plays are in English.

The Slovenian director Janez Janša will bring some polemic to the festival with his interactive movie DemoKino, dealing with topics like abortion, cloning, etc. The audience can vote in favour or against each topic and decide how the movie continues. This is a totally innovative concept, a “choose your own adventure” book idea  turned into a film.

Apart from plays, the festival offers much more for those interested in the world of theatre. Jeff Johnson, an American theater scholar, will give an international theatre seminar where the present situation of theatre in Baltic countries and Finland will be discussed.

Performances

Ice
Jaunais
Rīgas Teātris (Latvia)
Directed by European Theatre Prize
winner Alvis Hermanis.

18-19.11 – 7 pm

Being Harold
Pinter

Free theater (Belarus)

The play is based on the text of Nobel prized author Harold
Pinter. The plot lines are held together by one central theme: the
problem of violence in its many diverse forms.

18.11 – 5 pm

Legends of
Childhood

Free Theater (Belarus)

The play is based on the personal stories of the
actors.
16.11 – 8 pm, world premiere



Generation
Jeans

Free Theater (Belarus)

A monologue about jeans, rock music and freedom.

17.11 – 7 pm

Ifigeneia
Verk Produksjoner (Norway)
Norwegian
dramatist Finn Lunker ponders the reasons for war in his adaptation
of Euripides’ classic.

17.11 – 7 pm
18.11
– 3 pm


Solesombra

Teatr
Akhe & Theatre Satire on Vasilyevsky Island (Russia)
A tender
and bitter story about the universal loneliness, the ideal of
happiness – and the impossibility of it.

21.11 – 7 pm


Open Circle

Atviras
Ratas (Lithuania)
The goal of the Open Circle’s young
Lithuanian actors is to talk straight theatre language abiding by the
rules of theatre.
21.11 – 7 pm
22.11 – 4 pm

Best of Dallas
Teater Terrier
(Sweden)
The greatest cliffhanger in television history will be
solved: Who Shot J.R.?

23-24.11 7 pm

I Do Not Speak of
Love Here

Teatr Cinema (Poland)
A visually formal and physical
study of loneliness.

16.11 – 6 pm

17.11 – 5 pm

Films

Demokino
Aksioma
/ Janez Janša (Slovenia)
DemoKino makes the audience interact giving answers to the questions of life.

21-23.11 – 7
pm
24.11 – 3 pm

Kinoteatr.doc (Russia)
Kinoteatr.doc presents five movies from its repertoire.

21-22.11 – 7 pm

Baltic Circle 2007: 16-24.11 IN HELSINKI
For more information and full schedule with the list of venues: 
www.Q-teatteri.fi/baltic_circle

www.q-teatteri.fi/baltic_circle/eng/index.html

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Shortlist for this year’s Finlandia Prize announced

Nominated for the Finlandia prize 2007 are:

Kohti [‘Towards’] by Juha Itkonen

Det har varit kallt i Madrid [‘It’s been cold in Madrid’] by Agneta Ara

Romeo ja Julia
[‘Romeo and Juliet‘] by Jari Järvelä

Lakanasiivet [‘(The) Bed sheet wings’] by Sirpa Kähkönen

Sakset [‘(The) Scissors’] by Laura Lindstedt

Toiset Kengät [‘The other shoes’] by Hannu Väisänen

Literature researcher Laura Lindstedt is the debutant on the short list. Hannu Väisänen is a well-known Finnish artist. Swedish-speaking Agneta Ara is a Finnish novelist and poet who earlier won the Runeberg Prize for literature. Sirpa Kähkönen is a novelist and translator who has written both books for children and young adults and historical novels.

Well-known Finnish writers Jari Järvela and Juha Itkonen have both been nominated for the Finlandia Prize before. Itkonen is also on the short list for the 2007 Finlandia Junior award (literature for children and young adults) for his book
Taikuri Into Kiemura.

The 3-person selection committee read a total of 94 works. The final receiver of the Finlandia Prize for fiction is this year chosen by cultural editor Kaisu Mikkola. The winner, who will also get a 26,000-euro award sum, will be announced on the 4th of  December.


Related:
Nominations for Finlandia Junior award announced

Finlandia Prize – Wikipedia

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Danish dancer next Artistic Director at National Ballet

The Board of Directors of the Finnish National Opera Foundation decided on the appointment on Wednesday (14.11), after it had proposed him for the job two weeks earlier. Also the personnel groups of the Finnish National Opera agreed unanimously with the nomination.

As Artistic Director, Greve will be responsible for the artistic planning and development of the classical ballet and modern dance programme of the FNB. He will also be in charge of the content and artistic policy of the Ballet.

The term of the current Artistic Director, Dinna Bjørn, ends at the end of July, 2008.

Related:
Danish dancer nominated for director post at National Ballet


Kenneth Greve in Etudes (Royal Danish Ballet)
– DR1/YouTube

Interview with Kenneth Greve – Ballet-Dance Magazine (May, 2006)

Finnish National Ballet (at the Finnish National Opera)
Press release about the nomination of Greve – Finnish National Opera (31.10.2007)

Danish Royal Ballet

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Moving pictures experience


Every year, when it’s dark and cold,
the Avanto festival presents the most innovative tendencies in music
and visual arts. This year’s edition focus on films under the title
of International Free Cinema. The festival is held this weekend in
several venues around Helsinki.

{mosimage}

Like dancing to the rhythm of
free jazz, the moving pictures shown at the Avanto festival question
traditional ways of making and watching films. The festival has
invited two pioneers of experimental filmmaking: the Canadian artist
Michael Snow and the Austrian artist Peter Kubelka. Both will be in
Helsinki and present a retrospective of their essential works.

Last
year the festival paid tribute to the local experimental filmmaking.
This year’s programme turns to the neighboring countries and brings
some rarities of Swedish and Russian experimental cinema. Curated by
researcher John Sundholm, the series Närä ögat
features a wide selection of Swedish experimental films from the
1950s and 1960s. On the other hand, the series Stekliannoe pole shows
the most vanguardist filmmaking currently done in Russia, in a
programme curated by filmmaker Masha Godovannaya.

Avanto has
also room for more widely known films. The festival offers a unique
opportunity in Finland to watch Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, a
visual tour-de-force about the French football star, directed by
Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno.

The festival also
premieres Esko Lönnberg’s documentary Saturnus Reality, a film that portraits the Finnish band Circle, and the recording
sessions of the album Miljard, where the group has coined the new
genre of NWOFHM (The New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal) that can mean
“mean fragile atonal piano improvisation or catatonic one-note
walls of sound”.

The music side of the festival is
offered in co-operation with the Äänen Lumo and the
Potlatch clubs. The first was founded in 1995 to promote
electroacoustic and experimental music and sound art in Finland.
Within this framework, Avanto will feature the comeback gig of the
synthesiser pop band Organ, one of the pioneers of Finnish electronic
music, and from Japan, the noise band Pain Jerk. The atmospheric
bonfire organ music of the Swedish trio Tape will counterbalance the
noise experience.

The Potlatch club brings two British
and two Finnish acts to the stage that base their music on
improvisation to achieve different goals. Eddie Prévost and
Alan Wilkinson take free jazz as the starting point of their journey
while Volcano the Bear take their arsenal of instruments to create
“ritual out of absurd humour and free association”. Collective
Avarus and female band Kuupuu represent the new Finnish underground.

The Potlatch club will bring two British and two Finnish acts to
the stage. The four acts all base their music on improvisation, but
the results are wildly divergent. Eddie Prévost and
Alan Wilkinson take free jazz as the starting point for a
journey into the core of heat. With their arsenal of instruments,
Volcano the Bear creates a ritual out of absurd humour and
free association. The Finnish collective Avarus confounds the
audience with its concoction of spontaneous and energetic
improvisation, while Kuupuu investigates rich textures of tone
and timbre, representing the female power of the new Finnish
underground.


Avanto Festival

16-18.11.2007
Full programme:
www.avantofestival.com

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Second stadium concert Iron Maiden

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Bon Jovi tickets on sale next Thursday

The last time Jon Bon Jovi and the rest of the group played in Finland was in 2000, in Turku and Helsinki.

The band’s greatest hits album Cross Road from 1994 is the third best selling foreign album in Finland, with over 125,000 copies sold.

Bon Jovi – official website
Bon Jovi – MySpace

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Nominations for Finlandia Junior award announced

Nominated for the 2007 Finlandia Junior prize are:

> Tatun ja Patun Suomi (‘Tatu and Patu’s Finland‘) by Aino Havukainen & Sami Toivonen

> Taikuri Into Kiemura by Jukka Itkonen

> Filmi poikki (‘Film broken‘) by Hanna Marjut Marttila

> Herttuan hovissa – Elämää 1550-luvun Turussa (‘In the Duke’s Court – Life in the Turku of the 1550s‘) by Paula Moilanen & Kirsi Haapamäki

> Emilian päiväkirja – Supermarsu lentää Intiaan (‘Emily’s diary – Super Guinea Pig flies to India‘) by Paula Noronen

> Orava ja pääskynen (‘The squirrel and the swallow‘) by Maria Vuorio

The receiver of the prize, which comes with an award sum of 26,000 euros, will this year be chosen by Inkeri Näätsaari, the Director of the Turku City Library. The winner will be announced on November the 29th.

The Finlandia Junior award is one of three prestigious prizes awarded annually by the Finnish Book Foundation, the others being the Finlandia Award (Best novel, since 1984) and the Tieto-Finlandia (Best non-fiction book, since 1989).

The first ever book to win the Finlandia Junior was Gondwanan lapset (‘Children of Gondwana‘) by Iranian-born Finnish writer, documentary maker, director-producer and publisher Alexis Kouros, in 1997. Last year, the prize was awarded to Timo Parvela for his book Keinulauta (‘The seesaw‘).


Finlandia Prize
– Wikipedia

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Shooting in Tuusula