We encouraged our grant recipients to highlight the important work that they do, and a pleasingly large number of grant recipients decided to organise an open day at their place of work.
The Foundation Day’s main event was a mini film festival held at the National Museum of Finland. Over the course of the afternoon six films that had received support from Finnish foundations were shown. Though the films represented the foundations’ different fields, they all dealt with Finnishness and changes in Finnish society.
In addition to the more traditional types of films, festivalgoers also got to experience contemporary art, as the planetarium film called Kilpisjärvellä, directed by Axel Straschnoy, a media artist and film director who was born in Buenos Aires and lives in Finland, was shown in its own tent under Akseli Gallén-Kallela’s frescoes. There was an air of excitement, wonder and delight as viewers crawled into the dark and warm tent to watch the northern lights shining away exactly as they do when seen from the ground.
One of the films was True Finn — Tosi suomalainen, made for the 2014 IHME Project by Israeli artist Yael Bartana. The film deals with topical themes of Finnishness and national identity. The documentary raises the question, who is or who are true Finns? Writer and activist Maryan Abdulkarim and actor and MP Jani Toivola provided their comments on the documentary film. Abdulkarim reminded us that power structures are always the underlying factor in racism. Toivola said that he would like to see people with different levels of Finnish language skills to be given a public voice, instead of just those who speak flawless Finnish. During the afternoon, documentary filmmaker and professor Susanna Helke also provided her views on the reality of documentary films.