SUNDANCE 2011: THE STRANGER FROM FINLAND Image

Film festivals are unique animals. After years and years on the festival circuit, I find my guard to be down in situations that normally would necessitate more care. Case in point, Thursday evening, after all but one of our condo mates was in for the night, there came a knock at the condo door (okay, many knocks). It was 2am, and this is how I met the Finnish director of a documentary short playing Slamdance.

The man’s name is Jouni Hokkanen, and he had just finished a trip from Finland to Park City that was going on 24+ hours. Apparently he was to be bunking with other Slamdance filmmakers in our condo complex, but he had been given the wrong information and found his way to our unit instead of theirs.

Seeing as how it was freezing cold, and we couldn’t get anyone on the phone to help poor Jouni to his proper condo, we offered to let him sleep on the couch. He preferred the floor instead, and we had a new condo mate for the evening.

Now, in any other scenario, if I’m on vacation, or something like that, I’m probably not going to entertain the notion of letting a random stranger from Finland crash with me. But this is a film festival, Jouni is a filmmaker and… this s**t happens all the time. It’s normally the result of a night of drunken debauchery but, hey, it’s an adventure, right?

It’s also a perfect set-up for a home invasion horror film. Our condo is small, though, and I figured if it was going to go the horror route, folks would disappear one by one and our place just isn’t big enough to actually hide any bodies.

Obviously, Jouni did not kill me or any of my condo mates, even though his movie, Kinbaku, a documentary about S&M and rope fetishes (or something like that; I haven’t seen it yet) had us a bit concerned. When asked if he had rope on him, he replied that he didn’t, but that he brought chains. Yeah.

In the morning we got Jouni to the right condo, and I set out for the HQ in an effort to procure one of the few tickets that were still available for Red State on Sunday. I was not the only person to have that idea, the line for the tickets was long and I was, eventually, s**t out of luck. Will I see Red State on Sunday? I’m not throwing in the towel yet, but things are looking bleak right now.

After that, the day was movies, movies, movies. I saw The Music Never Stopped, I Saw the Devil, Submarine and Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death and Technology. Honestly, it was a 3 out of 4 affair as far as flicks I really dug, and, for me, that’s a solid start…

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  1. Kevin DiNovis says:

    That’s no stranger! Jouni was similarly gracious to me at the Helsinki Film Fest way back in ’99. Glad to hear there was room for him at the Film Threat digs.

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