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Return of the White-tailed Eagle

Sat 19.8. at 12.30 | Kulttuurikellari

Jouni Hiltunen | Finland | 2023 | 48 min | Finnish | Subtitles: - | Classification: S

Fifty years ago the white-tailed eagle was a rare sight. This piqued environmentalists’ interest but the fate of the species seemed hopeless. A working committee to save the eagle was founded and it strives to this day.


The documentary Merikotkan paluu (Return of the white-tailed eagle), which gets its Finnish premiere at SINFF, tells the tale of the past and the present of the white-tailed eagle. The second protagonist of the film is the human - the animal that can be blamed for the eagles’ distress but also credited for its rescue.


Together with bird ringers, the camera takes the viewer on a journey to the archipelago and high up to the crowns of pinewoods. Up there the baby eagles grow up in big nests of sticks.


The data gained from ringed birds is irreplaceable, when the now thriving species faces new challenges some day in the future.


Jouni Hiltunen is a photographer and nature photographer from Kuusankoski, Finland. He began his career as a documentarist in the beginning of the 90’s. At the end of the decade he turned his mind to Russia and Siberia, where Taivaallinen tehtävä, Blatnoi Mir, a documentary about prisoners serving life sentences, and BAM, a movie about construction workers on the Baikal-Amur Mainline, were born. Since then he has made several nature documentaries, including Tuntematon selkömeri (2012), Matka merelle (2017) and Kurjenpojan pitkä matka (2021). Currently he is working on a nature film to be finished in 2025 about the national bird of Finland, the whooper swan.

Text | Anna Tuominen

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