FinnFest USA 2013 Film Screenings

Take in some of the latest films that tell compelling stories about our community past and present. Many films are presented by their makers, offering a unique opportunity to connect, reflect, and discuss.


1913 Massacre. A Film Inspired by a Woody Guthrie Song.

Louis V. Galdieri and Ken Ross, Producers/Directors
Dreamland Films
Brooklyn, New York
1913 Massacre follows singer/songwriter Arlo Guthrie to the town of Calumet, a once-thriving mining town on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula still haunted by the tragic events that inspired Woody Guthrie's ballad, “1913 Massacre.” The film captures the last living witnesses of the 1913 tragedy, reconstructs Calumet's past from individual memories, family legends and songs, and traces the legacy of the Italian Hall disaster to the present day. Out of work, out of money, out of luck, the town still struggles to come to terms with this painful episode from its past.

Andrea Hansen: Strings Across the Sky

Pirkko Karvonen, Director
Boyle, Alberta, Canada
This 38-minute documentary introduces us to Andrea Hansen, a child prodigy born to Finnish parents in Ontario, Canada. She had her first performance at the age of four. By the age of eight, Hansen debuted in Toronto Massey Hall and for fifteen years she and her sister Florence played the violin as part of a nightclub act. In 1967, she and her sister took their final bows and Andrea returned to her classical roots joining Montreal Symphony and a decade later the Toronto Symphony. In 1988 Andrea co-founded Strings Across the Sky destined to improve a passion for learning through the art of fiddling. What began as a revival of traditional fiddling, has over twenty years become a life skills learning program for students everywhere.

The Final Testament/Viimeinen Testamentti

Raimo Salo, Producer
During Finland’s wars of 1939–1944, 240,000 women volunteered on the home front and the warfront as members of the Lotta Svärd. The organization was disbanded in November 1944 and since then, these women have been silent about their experiences. Now well into their 90s, 20,000 Lottas still live today. Musician/producer Raimo Salo interviewed nearly 80 Lottas across the country, who opened their hearts and told of how they “helped the boys.” Lottas served under dangerous and difficult conditions in hospitals, mess halls, air-traffic control and more, also bearing witness to their male counterparts’ deaths in combat. This film is a long-overdue testament to the courageous and indispensable service these women provided.

Journey into the Finnish Forest

Albert and Pirkko Karvonen, directors
Not long ago, Finland's forest was believed to be a realm of sorcery and spells. Today, it is still an enchanted place, full of hidden beauty- and wild surprises. Wildlife filmmaker Albert Karvonen travels to Finland to explore the forest heritage of his ancestors. He dreams of filming the spring rituals of flamboyant Black Grouse and fabulous Capercaillie. Once there, he cannot resist venturing deeper into the woods in search of brown bears, wolverines and other creatures of the boreal wilderness.

The Most Fertile Source: Alan Lomax Goes North

James P. Leary and Guha Shankar
University of Wisconsin-Madison/American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
In 1938 folklorist Alan Lomax lugged a silent movie camera and a stock of color film into Michigan, along with a bulky microphone, a heavy disk cutting machine, and a stock of blank disks. Until recently his film footage and the related recordings have been buried in the collections of the Library of Congress. Newly restored and digitized, and matched with recorded sound, this historic documentary film includes Lomax’s encounters with lumberjacks, Serbs and Croatians in Detroit and the Copper County, French Canadians in Baraga, and especially Finns, including the lay preacher and kantele player Pekka Aho, button accordionist and folk healer Aapo Juhani, the hymn-singing Fredricksons, miner John Hyvonen, fiddler Charles Korvenpaa and a group of dancers from the Ironwood area, and more.

Solveig: The Life and Artwork of Solveig Arneng Johnson

Kiersten Dunbar Chace, Director
Monde World Films
Minneapolis, Minnesota
This beautiful documentary/love story illuminates the life of Sámi American painter Solveig Arneng Johnson, whose body of artwork captures her love of Norway, family and natural surroundings. Born in 1925 in the Arctic town of Kirkenes, Norway, Solveig reflects on life during the throes of World War II, her indigenous Sámi identity, art studies, immigrating to America (Duluth, Minnesota), and the love of her life, Rudy Johnson. Directed by award winning Minneapolis filmmaker Kiersten Dunbar Chace of Monde World Films