SINFF takes place this weekend! See what's happening, when and where

Savonlinna International Nature Film Festival takes place on 19th of Aug – 22nd of Aug 2021. The main theme of this year's festival is journey, which we channel through films, art, music and conversations.



Thursday — Exhibitions and a film made without cameras Juice and the Saimaa Gesture: Experience photographer Tapio Vanhatalo’s photography exhibition in museum ship S/S Mikko, anchored in Riihisaari pier. The exhibition presents black and white photographs of Juice Leskinen and other Finnish rock musicians from the Tuuliajolla tour in 1981 and 1982. As a result of the first tour the movie The Saimaa Gesture (1981) by Mika and Aki Kaurismäki was born. Three-dimensional Savonlinna: In Saimaa Gesture Container located in the harbour you can find visual artist Ville Erkki Tarke's three-dimensional photography installation of Savonlinna. The exhibition is open for public during Savonlinna International Film Festival. Ville Erkki Tarke is a visual artist from Savonlinna. Installation is organized incollaboration with Savonlinnan Uusi Taidemuseo (SLUT).

Tectonic Plate (2016): At Kulttuurikellari we are screening Tectonic Plate, a film made entirely without a camera. Frames of the film have been made by photocopying flight-related documents directly onto clear film. Objects such as jewellery and paper clips can be spotted in photograms made in the darkroom.

There's a free entry for Thursdays exhibitions and film.

Friday — Opening screening, Forest Screening and Festival Club


Opening screening: This year's opening screening is Raj Patel's and Zak Piper's The Ants & The Grasshopper (2021). Anita Chitaya is unyielding. In Malawi climate change is leading to severe drought, but with innovative farming and cooking methods Chitaya manages to keep thirst and hunger in check in her village. She advises others on how to grow food in dead soil and gets men to fight for gender equality in her community.


Forest Screening: Forest Screening, held in Sulosaari, combines live music and a movie experience in a unique natural environment. The venue is located next to Lettukahvila Kalliolinna, a villa built in the late 19th century. Sulosaari is just a few minutes’ walk from the Savonlinna city centre. The evening is kicked off by Band of Weeds, whose unique sound material is created from live plants. Also at live gigs! After the gig we’ll be screening Martin Rosen's classic animation Watership Down (classification: 12, 1978). The story is situated in the English countryside, where a group of rabbits leave their colony to find a new place to live. During the event Sulosaari’s pancake cafe Lettukahvila serves beverages and their famous pancakes. Festival Club: Litku Klemetti and her Tuntematon numero band became widely known in 2017 after releasing their album Juna Kainuuseen. Litku Klemetti, who’s been active since 2015, is both a shameless alter ego of songwriter Sanna Klemetti and a 5-piece band. Emma Award winning Litku’s fifth album, Ding ding dong was released in the fall of 2019 and was named by Soundi magazine as the best Finnish album of the year. Litku Klemetti has her roots in the underground scene and doing things her own way. When she’s not touring, she’s recording and playing the piano at home. The rock star from Kainuu believes in love, sparks and, on good days, herself. Litku keeps things real. Litku Klemetti hasn't performed in Savonlinna before.



Saturday — Sámi films, discussions, Movie Picnic and Bat Excursion


SINFF X Skábmagovat: Skábmagovat – Indigenous Peoples’ Film Festival takes place annually in Inari. The festival's art director Jorma Lehtola has curated a new Sámi short film series for Savonlinna International Film Festival. Nature lives strong in life and in the films. The effects of Covid-19 are also visible, as all the films have been completed in 2020-2021. The total length of the film screening is 53 mins.


Seminar: This year’s seminar themes are sustainable travelling and travelling without flying.This year’s seminar themes are sustainable travelling and travelling without flying. The speakers are author Aino Huilaja and independent journalist Kati Kelola. Both of them are experienced journalists and have travelled extensively without flying. Both have also recently published books about their own travel experiences. The audience gets an opportunity to join the conversation and share their own experiences. The host of the seminar is the documentarist and media artist Jaakko Ruuska. Note: This talk is held in Finnish. Movie Picnic: The atmospheric Movie Picnic will be organized yet again this summer at Riihisaari on Saturday. Pack your picnic basket, and come and enjoy live music and a film screening under the August sky. We’ll be screening a classic summer document The Saimaa Gesture by Kaurismäki brothers. Before the movie begins Marko Haavisto duo will be performing and you'll hear songs from the Aki Kaurismäki movies. The picnic is organized in cooperation with Riihisaari, Olaf Brewing -brewery and The Saimaa Phenomenon 2026.


Bat Excursion: As the evening dims the bats set out for their nighty insect prey. Around Olavinlinna bridge and the shores of Tallisaari you can observe the Northern bat and the Daubenton's bat among others. Nature guide Elina Enho leads us to the world of bats. Using a detector device we can hear the sonor sounds of bats that are otherwise out of human hearing range.

Sunday — interspecies and cultural journeys


Ainbo — Spirit of the Amazon (2021): Ainbo is the story of a girl who was born and grew up in the deepest jungle of the Amazon in the village of Colonia. One day she discovers that her homeland is being threatened. As she fights to save her paradise against the greed and exploitation of logging and illegal mining, she struggles to reverse this destruction and the impending evil of the “Yacaruna”, the darkness that lives in the Amazon. Guided by her mother’s spirit, Ainbo is determined to save her land and save her people before it’s too late. Cemetery (2019): Half documentary, half experimental essay of artist Carlos Casas takes us on a slow and hypnotic jungle odyssey—perhaps an elephant’s dream? Nga, an old elephant and probably the last of its species, and Sanra, his mahout, are about to embark on a journey to find the mythical elephant’s graveyard. Hypnotic and tactile, Cemetery is a sensory meditation on memory and extinction made of images and sounds we haven’t seen or heard before.


Sheltered (2020): The staff and volunteers of a Dutch animal shelter work hard to provide care for homeless or neglected pets. They treat the cats, dogs and rodents arriving to the shelter and find them suitable homes. Director Saskia Gubbels observes the everyday life of the shelter - both its joys and sorrows - and documents the interactions of people and animals with a gentle but keen eye.

SINFF X Cinema Planeta: Cenote (2019): This screening curated by the environmental film festival Cinema Planeta, held annually in Cuernavaca, Mexico, brings to Savonlinna a peek into Mayan cultural history.


Carnival Pilgrims (2019): This essayistic documentary film by Finnish director Mika Mattila examines manifestations of global tourism and our perpetual desire to be somewhere else. The film tries to understand our yearning to “see the world”, presenting both depressing and tragicomic examples that result from this obsession. Carnival Pilgrims takes us on a cinematic tour through some of the most iconic pilgrimage sites of the contemporary world, where the carousels of endless fun and ever elusive enlightenment never come to rest.


We recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance. Due to the current situation our indoor venues have limited capacity. You can see more information on our venues here.


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