Monday, May 25, 2009

Iso kiitos Suomi! Tänan Teid Eesti!

(Photo: At a luncheon with the Mayor of Haapsalu, Estonia (Ingrid Danilov) and Sten, the organizer of the Haapsalu Õudus- ja Fantaasiafilmide Festival)

It's been several weeks since my return from my tour of the Baltics but wow, indeed it was a month I would never forget.

My month of April was busy beyond belief and as I approached my final week in Finland, I was exhausted after over 40 bus rides, 7 train rides (including 2 Pendolino), various trams, subways, cars, and fast boat cruise ships.

The world debut of the program kicked off at the Night Visions festival in Helsinki and I gotta say their fest is incredible. There, I had two screenings with the 2nd one which was at 4am on a Saturday, had sold out! From there it went on to Jyväskylä, Lahti, and Tampere. After that, it was off on a cruise ship to Estonia to the Haapsalu Õudus- ja Fantaasiafilmide Festival, after spending the night in Tallinn, I was on a minibus with my pals from Night Visions and director of the horror film "Splintered" Simeon Halligan to Haapsalu, Estonia.

While some of the tour had me feeling like a ping pong ball, bouncing from town to town, it ended on a great note. The final stop of my program had me enjoying a nice Baltic Breakfast, a tour of Haapsalu by a great tour guide and Silja (the Guest Manager) showing us Haapsalu's gorgeous castle. There was a ceremonial luncheon with the Mayor of the town who embraced the festival (and they presented us with gifts including mud from the town - Haapsalu is a spa town). Before my final screening, I swam in a heated pool from inside the spa we stayed at, outside to see the orange red glow of the sun setting into the Golf of Finland. After doing sauna with my Night Visions crew, it was off to do the final screening. Afterwards, sign a couple DVD's and hang out in a Haapsalu club where lots of very nice Estonians came up to talk with me. The day ended with some Eesti booze, and Simeon and myself fighting over some stolen pepperoni from a fridge at the spa. Good times!

On top of it, my booker in central Finland had me speaking at a Polytechnic giving my first lecture to Cultural Managment students. My discussion focused on being proactive in saving our visual history, the unpredictable nature of popular culture, and breaking down the success of the "Hunka Junk" series for Finland. Afterwards a student presented me with gifts from the school. I was elated by the whole event and look forward to doing more.

Again, there's some BIG THANKS for the many "terveet kadet" that made this last tour such a huge success. First off, NIGHT VISIONS in Helsinki (Mikko & Crew) for bringing me over to be part of their amazing film offerings. Also: Keski-Suomen elokuvakeskus, Kino Iiris ja poikka(z) Janne ja Markus, Pirkanmaan Elokuvakeskus (Juha ja Juha-Pekka), Humak, and all my friends there that helped out either feedin me, letting me stay with them, or helping me get somewhere!

In Estonia: Big thanks to Haapsalu Õudus- ja Fantaasiafilmide Festival including Sten, Silja, Ingrid, Hotel Spa Fra Mare, Dynamit energy drink (which I miss back here in Canada), Naistemaailm, Trash Can Dance, and just all the nice people I met.

Hope to see everyone soon!

(Photo: Night Visions (Helsinki, Finland)
page from film program)


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