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Directed by: Teppo Airaksinen
Cast: Elina Patrakka, Iida-Maria Heinonen, Elina Keinonen
Synopsis: Winter, 1939 Finland. A 10-year-old girl is sent to fetch milk for her baby brother. There are hazards more dangerous than thin ice.
Teppo! You're back! Your short film The Stick was a 2020 Manhattan Short Film Festival Bronze Medal Winner! Now you have returned with another brilliant short film called The Blanket! How does it feel to be back in front of Manhattan Short fans?
It feels great to be back! I got a lot of fantastic feedback when The Stick was here so I'm really looking forward to this year's program. I'm very happy that such a big audience is going to be able to see The Blanket as well.
Let's set the stage for those of us who didn't pay attention in world history class. It is winter, 1939 in Finland. Russia has invaded. The event is known as The Winter War. There are obvious parallels to events occurring now in Ukraine that have greatly changed Finland's traditional neutral stance. Why did you decide to make this film? Do you think history repeats itself?
The Blanket is based on a true story. The story happened to our screenwriter's grandmother during the World War II and we all thought that this story needed to be told. We made it before the tragic events in Ukraine happened but I think this point of view about war and its casualties is always a very current topic.
Back to The Blanket. Elina Patrakka was the young star of The Stick and now here she is again in The Blanket! How did that happen?
Elina is such a great actress and talent! I've been working with her for the last 5 years in multiple projects and she always keeps surprising me how good she is. Everything is so easy for her when she acts and that makes it a joy to watch.
The look of The Blanket is visually stunning. Tell us about the cinematography and how you achieved it? Do any other directors inspire you? And how difficult is it to shoot a film in winter?
We really wanted to achieve this look where it all looks like it was shot in 1940's. Like we just found the footage from a basement and edited that to a final film. And my approach with this kind of period piece film has always been very clear: I want the audience to forget they are watching a period piece film. So shooting on 16mm film really helps with that vision. It does not look too polished and I love that. Thankfully, it wasn't that cold when we were filming so we had no problems with the film camera. I remember watching Come and See by Elem Klimov just before we started filming and that film became my biggest influence for The Blanket.
What have you learned about filmmaking since you made The Stick?
I have learned so many things as a filmmaker after The Stick. I think the biggest thing is trust yourself and the audience.