Film festival success in the heart of Lapland

Panel discussion at the annual Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä, Lapland.

The 29th Midnight Sun Film Festival held in Sodankylä, Lapland, wrapped up Sunday. 25,000 visitors flocked to see films in the northern cult festival.


The Midnight Sun Film Festival this year had sold-out screenings that included a set of early short films by Charles Chaplin, Victor Sjöström’s The Outlaw and His Wife and John Landis’ Blues Brothers as a karaoke version.

Films are shown in four venues for 24 hours a day, and the actual time is easily forgotten as the sun shines as brightly at 4 a.m. as it does at 4 p.m. All in all, the festival screenings attracted more than 25 000 visitors, YLE reports.

The Midnight Sun Film Festival was founded in 1986 by Finnish filmmakers the Kaurismäki brothers, and the Municipality of Sodankylä. The village of Sodankylä is located in the heart of Finnish Lapland, some 120 kilometers above the Arctic Circle, where the sun doesn’t set at all in the summertime. The nature of Lapland and the nightless night provide the Midnight Sun Film Festival a setting few other festivals can compete. The municipality of Sodankylä has 8800 inhabitants.

The festival has every year since it was founded been able to boast some of the world’s top filmmakers.  Jim Jarmusch, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Miloš Forman and Francis Ford Coppola are just a few of them.  

This year Olivier Assayas from France led the  cast of festival guests which also included Paweł Pawlikowski, Alice Rohrwacher, Veiko Õunpuu, Samantha Fuller, Katell Quillévéré and Hélier Cisterne.

In addition to screenings of award-winning world cinema in Finland, the festival usually hosts several premieres of Finnish films. This year’s premieres included Anssi Mänttäri’s Will the Blues Ever Sleep? and Juha Wuolijoe’s Zarra’s Law, the festival’s web site reads.