Pekka Heikkinen | Finland | 2021 | 53 min | Finnish | Classification U
Juha Taskinen is Finland's best-known photographer of the endangered Saimaa ringed seal and has done his life's work protecting this beautiful home species of Lake Saimaa.
Although the amount of Saimaa ringed seals has risen from one hundred individuals to more than four hundred seals, there are still many .. in the way of protection. When Juha Taskinen lifts a dead seal from the water - drowned in the fish nets - sadness and frustration are palpable.
The ”seal man” has been heavily involved in advocacy work in his hometown and beyond. However, years of protection wars have exhausted the protector of the Saimaa ringed seal, and after forty years, Taskinen decides to say goodbye to the seals and become a fisherman. As fishing gear, the man has catfish and snares designed to be safe to the seal.
Juha Taskinen, who lives on his family's farm in the village of Haukiniemi, knows the rocky shores of Lake Saimaa like his own pockets. He’s looking for a successor for his work and gives his camera to his neighbor's son, Oskari Saunisto.
Taskinen teaches his apprentices the secrets of the ringed seals and introduces his successors to the old seals and hairy pups of the spring. This warm-hearted film is flavoured with the unique Savonian humor and a deep burn to protect nature.
Opening speech will be given by Culture Coordinator Taru Tähti from the Southern Savonia Regional Association. After the documentary, a discussion will take place with the participation of Juha Taskinen, Oskari Saunisto and Kaarina Tiainen from the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. Discussion will be hosted by Jari Ilmonen from Metsähallitus. Unfortunately director Pekka Heikkinen can't attend the discussion due to illness. After the screening, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation will demonstrate the making of ring-safe weirs.
The screening is presented in partnership with the Southern Savonia Regional Association.
Text | Annakaisa Vänttinen
Picture | Markku Tissarinen