The Midnight Sun Film Festival in Lapland


Started 29 years ago by legendary Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki, the Midnight Sun Film Festival (MSFF) is still very attached to its roots and traditions. As a matter of fact, you can still see Kaurismaki wandering around, drinking beers with his friends and watching films. And just as for everything else, you still get this very authentic feeling during your time at the festival. Just one quick example that really struck us, all the movie posters are done by hand by a team of volunteer and the only technology allowed is the copier to make enough posters to cover the site and its surroundings.




As you’ve guessed MSFF is all about movies. All kinds of movies! During our three days at the festival we had a chance to attend a hilarious giant karaoke screening of the Blues Brothers, a Swedish silent movie from the 30’s with a live band and the beautiful movie of Alice Rorhwacher, The Wonders, which got the Grand Prix du jury at the latest Cannes Festival. And one of the amazing things of MSSF is that a lot of the directors are here to present their movies and answer question like Rorhwacher did at the end of the screening we attended. So did French movie director Olivier Assayas after the screening of his latest movie The Cloud of Sils Maria, which we loved.





And you could see them all hanging out at the different venues of the festival, having drinks and chatting with other attendees whenever the opportunity arose. For us, that was one of the biggest strengths of MSFF. There’s such a beautiful harmony and vibe among everyone. We could easily meet people, discuss the movies or have a drink in one of the bar of Sodankyla, the city hosting the festival. There’s a very nice community feeling and we loved how everyone always end up at the “beach” after the last call to enjoy the midnight sun on the nearby river. You might even witness some daring people finishing the night in the water! We’ll definitely join them next time.





As mentionned earlier, the festival is entirely run by volunteers and so it’s been like that for the past 29 years. All those people are passionate about the festival and cinema in general, and they’re really are the soul of MSFF. It’s the assurance the authentic and friendly vibe that we appreciate. If you’d like more details about this, we suggest reading our “behind the scenes” report on Hejorama.

And if the festival isn’t a good reason enough to get to Lapland, we’d also like to highlight the fantastic nature of the area. We had the chance to go on a hike in the Luosto area that was fantastic. We visited an Amethyst mine after a 5k bike ride on the cross skiing trails and fed reindeers in a farm. We also had delicious meals in local restaurant and tried some typical Lappish food including some exquisite salmon soup and beef stew. And while we didn’t do it, we heard the region is perfect for fishing on the lakes. We won’t miss it next year when we go back to the festival!