Page updated 7.3.2014

A film by TUAS Arts Academy student won the award for Best of Festival in Canada

A short fiction film called Maria, scripted and directed by TUAS Arts Academy film student Iina Hänninen, won the awards for Best of Festival and Best Drama 10–30 Minutes at the international Picture This… Film Festival held in Calgary, Canada.

The festival and the 2014 Gala Awards Evening were held on 10–12 February. At the Picture This... Film Festival, student and indie productions compete in the same series with professional productions, and that is why the success of the film Maria at the festival is considered to be remarkable. The Canadian jury praised the film’s strong story and beautiful visual world.

The Picture This... Film Festival, started in 2001, is both a competitive and exhibition festival featuring films that are about disability and/or films on any subject that were produced, directed and/or written by people with disabilities. One of the main purposes of the festival is to promote a greater understanding of disability around the world.  Films are entered into one of five genres: animation, documentary, drama, education or performance. Films may also be placed in sub-categories according to the length of the film. This year, the sponsor of the gala is Shaw TV, which also televised the gala.

The film Maria

The 15-minute-long short fiction film Maria was premiered in February 2013. The film, which was part of film students’ third year’s compulsory studies, is co-produced by both film and media production students of TUAS Arts Academy. For Ms Hänninen, Maria is both her first script and first direction.

The film is about a woman called Maria, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. The film describes a moment of terror from Maria’s past which Maria is now reliving: the afternoon when her son Nikolas disappeared in the woods and was never found. The film aims to show one version of how reality may be perceived by a person suffering from Alzheimer's disease. In addition, the film is a statement about the bad situation of family caregivers in Finland: People are often placed in expensive institutional care even though, by adding the number of family caregivers, huge savings and better quality of life for patients could be achieved.

Earlier, Maria has been screened, for instance, at Helsinki Short Film Festival and in Scotland and Texas. The film is starred by Jenny Rostain, who has studied acting in New York. Other actors/actresses of the film include Janina Berman and Bror Österlund, who both have enjoyed long careers in theatre, and ten-year-old Arne Linna, who despite his young age has acted, for instance, in the play Kirsikkapuisto (The Cherry Orchard) at Turku City Theatre. Other small parts in the film are played by Stella Storberg, who has appeared as a guest star in Salatut elämät, and Indie Film Director Niko Kostet.

Films by TUAS Arts Academy students are often realised with the help of volunteers and supported by local companies.

About Picture This… Film Festival

The website of the Picture This… Film Festival available at: http://ptff.typepad.com/ptff_main/