About a FarmHiljainen tila
FINLAND / 2005 / Finnish / Color / Video / 54 min
Director, Script, Narrator: Mervi Junkkonen
Photography: Mervi Junkkonen, Vesa Taipaleenmäki
Editing: Tuuli Kuittinen
Sound: Esa Nissi
Music: Girilal Baars
Producers: Kimmo Paananen, Mika Ronkainen
Production Company: Klaffi Tuotannot Oy
Source: Finnish Film Foundation (Marja Pallassalo)
The director’s parents, who run a farm in a small Finnish town, decide to sell off the cattle and close the farm. After her father’s injury, even the harvesting had to be done by others. Her mother is left with no recourse except to worry when her younger sister falls ill just before graduating from high school. Both the director and her younger sister choose life in the city over inheriting the farm. As the director portrays the life of a family swept away by modernity, she introduces 8mm footage recorded by her father to form a single work narrating one family’s story. This self-documentary is the feature-length debut of a much anticipated Finnish director.
[Director’s Statement] After joining the EU, small-scale farming in Finland just isn’t profitable anymore. I am a farmer’s daughter and I wanted to make a film about the struggle of farmers. Many of them in my home village are fighting for their existence. Then suddenly, the subject became very personal: my parents told me that they were going to close down our farm, and with mixed feelings, I started to film the process. I concentrated on the feelings and events after the cows were taken away. The year-and-a-half was not easy for any of us, and many unexpected things happened. But in the end, they brought our family back together. For that reason, I am very happy that I made the film. However, personal films are always a challenge, and one has to think twice before starting one.
Born 1975 in Oulunsalo, Finland, Mervi Junkkonen studied documentary direction and editing at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. She has edited many short films, done production work for TV, and has edited and filmed three documentary films. Her film Barbeiros (2001) won the FIPRESCI Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2002, Best Documentary and Cinematography Prize at the 2002 International Student Film Festival of Santiago (Chile), and the Gold Hugo for Best Student Film at the 2003 Chicago International Film Festival. Works include Saana (2003) and About a Farm (2005), winner of the Risto Jarva Prize at the 2005 Tampere International Short Film Festival (Finland). Mervi currently lives in Uppsala, Sweden.