Interview by Ari Newman
One year ago, I wrote a blog post for the Ae Film Festival titled On Eeva Siivonen and Strange Places. Siivonen created one of my favorite short films from last year, titled "Strange Places and How to Survive," so I was honored to interview her and learn more about her philosophies as a filmmaker. 12 months later, Eeva Siivonen is back in the festival with a 22 minute film titled "Atlas." As we, the curators, divvied up who would interview which artists, I insisted on speaking to Eeva again.
All images courtesy of the artist.
Why did you decide to submit to Ae Film Fest again? How do you see your films fitting into the festival’s mission?
In my filmmaking process I try to foster qualities like sensitivity and openness. I try to capture those qualities in both the form and content of my work. I´m interested in creating connections between things and try not to create limits for myself or for the form that a film can take. I see film being unique as a medium because of its ability to be inclusive, malleable and fluid in the way it can address observations, experiences and experiment with its own form. I think those goals are well in line with the festival`s mission and I wanted to submit work again to both support and participate in the festival that values this kind of approach to filmmaking.
What is a quote/piece of advice/work of art/person that inspires you and keeps you motivated to keep creating?
I tend to get overwhelmed and restless at times. Learning patience and trust in the process of making, and also confidence in my own vision, is something I have to teach myself. I love poet Rainer Maria Rilke´s advice: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
(from the book Letters to a Young Poet)
I really liked that how you described the “poetic” as “inherently political,” and that your work is “a form of resistance.” Could you expand on this idea and describe a time where you feel like your work made a difference, even if only in a small way?
This goes back to my first answer. I think sensitivity, openness and the attempt to be inclusive and fluid in the ways I observe and think about my environment - and our shared experiences as people - all can create space for more empathy, complexity and freedom. The presence of those qualities - or the lack of them - both have social and political consequences. I worry about the lack of those qualities in the society around me and I try to make work that functions as an opposite force to that.
What do you want your relationship to be with the local arts/film community?
I´ve been a bit of a nomad for the last few years and one of my aspirations for the future is to set my roots somewhere. I would like to support and be a part of a creative community of some kind. I´m in a transitional period in that way. The last few years have been more about seeking out different local communities/artists that have similar interests and where an interesting dialogue can happen and Ae film festival is something I´ve been lucky enough to find.
Other than film, what else are you passionate about?
I´m an avid reader, traveller and people watcher. I love to go for long runs (a slight rain is best) and I can´t resist the company of dogs and cats. I want to learn how to play an instrument and hope to own a sailboat someday.
Check out Eeva Siivonen's film Atlas during the opening night of the 3rd Ae Film festival on Wednesday, July 27. More info here.
Previous film fest posts from Altered Esthetics blog: