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Wildfin is a joint trademark of two Finnish production companies: DocArt and Taiga Films. Here you will find information about documentary films, television series and other programs we have produced.

Magic of Wilderness is a television documentary series of six episodes about the most remarkable wilderness in Finland. The director Petteri Saario searches for wilderness in the Finnish Archipelago, in Northern Lapland, in the border of Russia and in Lake Land.

A keel for a boat and boards for a coffin from a home forest. Touching and warm depiction of the life in a small Karelian village, where young Sergei grows up in the middle of the most fabulous primeval forests in North Europe. 

Awards and honours:

Viktor and Maria Popov are not in a hurry. They live in a time vacuum in Paanajärvi village in the poorest corner of Russia, in Russian Karelia. 

To the inhabitants of Paanajärvi their home village has been the same for centuries: grey log buildings, smoky saunas, decorative window frames. For folklorists, on the other hand, Paanajärvi is a pearl of culture and architecture. A community in which lives one of the few remaining original European cultures. 

In 1996, Paanajärvi village was placed on the list of the hundred most threatened cultural places in the world, maintained by the World Monument Watch. The village is threatened by plans for a hydro-electric plant which, if realised, would submerge the old buildings and the solitary original culture under water. 

The film group follows the everyday life of Viktor and Maria in Paanajärvi over a period of two years. The documentary is also an illustration of the uncomplicated coexistence of people with nature which, if lost, would take the right of existence from the humanity itself.

Out of a total of 75 000 indigenous Saami in the world, around 9 000 live in Finland. Yet, what do we really know about them? Finnish children still learn more in school about Native Americans than they do about Finland’s own indigenous inhabitants. 

The documentary film ’The Beckhams of Utsjoki’ is an intimate and honest depiction of modern day Saami people recounted through the experiences of three generations: reindeer herder and respected salmon-rower Niila, Saami musician Annukka, their boys Mihkku and Áilu as well as Niila’s mother Kirsti, a skilful wielder of Saami cultural traditions. 

The documentary was filmed in Utsjoki, the northern-most municipality of Finland and the European Union. The Laiti family’s life is followed for a total of almost three years. In addition to portraying the everyday and festive occasions of Saami life, the film also conveys the viewer through the most magnificent wilderness regions of Upper Lapland: from the Kevo canyon to the salmon spawning rapids, the fiery colours of the autumn ’ruska’ forests, the ice floes of the spring and the aurora borealis flashing across the northern skies. 

“The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed.”

A modern Jeanne D'Arc Story

Short film about National Parks of Oulanka and Paanajärvi

A film about the spectacular nature of the archipelago and one family’s centre of the world. 

"There is a strange rock on the cliff. Father said it’s a miracle of nature, but it’s not. Father placed it there himself." 

These words by the barely ten-year-old Elin begin the documentary "Sisu Stone" which depicts the outer Finnish archipelago and man’s close relationship to nature there. The ’strange stone’ is a creation by Elin’s father, Göran, and it’s a sculpture formed by nature which is meant to symbolise that even the impossible is possible as long as you have enough faith and will power and guts. 

The daughter, Elin, the father Göran and the mother Rosita Stenroos live on a small island of Husö in the outer Åland archipelago, between Finland and Sweden. There are only five all year round inhabitants on the island. The Stenroos family makes its livelihood from many different jobs, for in order to survive in the archipelago you need to be a jack of many trades, or at least of seven! The family keeps sheep, makes candles, hunts for game fowl and fishes. However, the best way to earn a decent living is to spend as little as possible. 

At the beginning of the documentary filming Elin was eight years old. Despite her young age the precocious girl participates in the work around the island farm daily; feeding the animals, plucking the game birds, fishing and so forth. Elin is exceptionally skilful considering her age and has quite a way with words, too: "I don’t mind being the only child on the island. Here I can just go off to, say, pick flowers and no one will complain." 

Elin, Göran and Rosita live in the midst of the most beautiful of archipelagos. The White-tailed sea eagle nests on its own home island and the nearby skerries are the seals’ domain. The film provides a unique insight into the spectacular different archipelago seasons and events. While Sisu Stone is a depiction of the self-sufficiency of a family it is also a documentary of a unique and close relationship between man and nature. Göran says: "It’s important to understand that man is part of nature, a very small part." He goes on: "A person is happy when he is at the centre of his own world - Husö is the centre of my world." 

The Stenroos family’s home island is like something straight out of an Astrid Lindgren story book: beautiful and inspiring. Even the ’characters’ are colourful. There’s small, frail, Elin and the 130 kilo strong Göran with his long red beard, like that of a Viking chieftain. The mother, Rosita, is like the archipelago women in tales and songs: wise, patient and multi-talented. Göran is a born leader and yet a leader, too, has his weakness. When little Elin sets her hands on her hips and tells her father what he should do, Göran can’t help but obey her command. 

This idyllic setting is marred by a growing concern for the ever worsening state of the sea as the fish are not as plentiful as before and the blue-green algae prevent swimming in the summers. 

Rosita says: "When I was a little girl, the bottom of the sea was clean, but now it’s just a grey carpet of algae. It feels really awful because the sea is, after all, our whole life." 

Göran adds: "When you see how the sea is faring it’s as though you are becoming ill yourself. Yet, Göran still wants to believe in tomorrow: "I have the same attitude to life as Martin Luther: Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." 

The Sisu Stone documentary film is not only homage to the threatened life of the archipelago and the beautiful archipelago nature, it is also a gesture of respect towards classical style of documentary filming. The filmmakers visited the island of Husö over a dozen times between 2002 and 2004. 

Finnish Nature Center Haltia

"And there came two drops,
the first gave it life,
the second, drowned it"
Antonio Machado 

Wild Wild Canary is a documentary film about the natural and cultural values of the Canary Islands and the impact of mass tourism on it. 

There are almost 3 700 endemic species in the islands. This paradise has seen many invaders: first came the native inhabitants, guanches, then the Arabs, Portuguese and Spaniards. However, no-one has left such traces as the present invaders: tourists. 

The film aims to show a glimpse of the reality that a tourist seldom meets during his trip, but which his acts and choices eviden

Short films for Finnish Tourist Board

If you ask a Finn about his home country, the first things he is most likely to mention are sauna, birch in the back yard - and a lake. A lake is a symbol of Finland and an icon of Finnishness. 

The adventure begins beyond the border 

A border not only separates, it also joins. Where there is a border, a unique culture is born, border region culture, which cannot be born anywhere else, and where differences meet is the seed of creativity. 

The border between Finland and Russia is a border between a small country and the largest country in the world. It is a language frontier, a cultural borderline and a religious divide. Over the course of its history the border has been drawn in many places. It has been a border of both political ideology and natural resource exploitation. It is perhaps today the world's deepest social divide in which the expected lifespan of men on one side of the border can be a quarter less than those on the other side. 

In the six part Frontier Life documentary series documentarian Petteri Saario takes us across the border from the Gulf of Finland to the Sami villages of the Kola Peninsula, from Saimaa in Finland to Lake Ladoga's monasteries, from Savonia to the Viena rune villages in Russian Karelia and from the rapids of Kuusamo back across the Russian border to magical Paanajärvi lake. 

The documentarian leads us on an inspiring and intimate journey which depicts the rugged yet rich lives of the people along the Fenno-Russian border. At the same time we are shown the splendid scenery of the border region as well as the diversity of its nature. 

A documentarian needs stories and Russian Karelia is chock full of them. Life is in many ways more varied and colourful than in the dull, combed back and pressed west. The adventure begins beyond the border. 

Episode 1: Oil on the Waves
Episode 2: Sacred Ladoga
Episode 3: Viena Karelia of my Heart
Episode 4: Hidden Paradise of Russian Karelia
Episode 5: Borderless Love
Episode 6: The Sami of the Tundra 

Awards:

Music video for Finnish modern folk music band Suo

A series of six vibrant TV documentaries depict our most beautiful rivers with the rich nature and culture that line their banks. 

There are 647 rivers in Finland. They start out as small rivulets from a hollow, spring, pond or marsh and finally flow out to sea, or to a lake. Many of the rivers have grown into great tides. 

Fish find their way to their spawning grounds long the many rivers and people too have used them as their own travelling routes. Villages and towns have risen on the banks of these waterways, and the flowing waters have provided many with their livelihoods. 

TV documentarian Petteri Saario set out with his 11-year-old son, Antti, to film the gems of all the Finnish rivers. The river currents carry them from the magnificent fells of Lapland to the rugged wilderness country between Finland and Russia, from crystal clear source streams on to bird paradise river deltas and picturesque villages along the river banks. They paddle along the Teno River, one of the most valuable salmon rivers in the world, and they ride the rapids of the Baltic Sea’s only large free flowing river - the Tornio river. They encounter bears and lynxes, wolverines and wolves. They chat with boat makers, Saami salmon fishermen, steamboat operators and poets, too. Finally they end their long and rewarding journey in the Arctic Ocean.

The Finest Rivers of Finland
Episode 1: Porvoo river 
Episode 2: Oulanka and Kitka river
Episode 3: Kymi river
Episode 4: Tornio river
Episode 5: Kyrö river
Episode 6: Teno river

The Nature of Finland documentary film was produced as part of the celebrations of Finland’s 90th year of independence. It is a new type of film experience in which magnificent nature footage of awarded cinematographers is combined with captivating folk music based on ancient myths of the Finnish national epic Kalevala. 

In January 2006 the peaceful life of the Stenbäck family in Askola, Southern Finland is shattered. A French energy company Areva plans to mine uranium in Askola and the inhabitants are told that they just have to yield. The Finnish Mining Law surpasses the Finnish Environmental Law and even landowners’ rights to their own land. The Stenbäck family, along with the other inhabitants in the area, decide not to accept this outrageous claim and commence a battle in order to save their homes. 

"Over a period of 50 years, the number of farms in Sweden has decreased by over 80 percent. The trend is the same throughout Western Europe." 

A journey of exploration to the islands of the Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea is much more than eutrophic, brackish water.
It is a meeting point of the southern and northern, 
the eastern and western nature. It embraces the angular
culture and hard struggle for the life style of the islanders.

The Baltic Sea is in the middle of the fastest
transition period of its history.

Starting points for six documentaries

The nature of the archipelago in the Baltic Sea is exceptionally rich; it is a crossing point of the southern and northern, eastern and western nature. You can find rugged rocky shores and arctic bareness, luxuriant growth of groves and floral splendour of fields, untouched forests and juniper moors on the islands. 

The everyday life of the people living on the islands of the Baltic Sea is going through a dramatic change. The eutrophication of the sea, the traditional sources of livelihood coming to an end, the increasing tourism and the young generation moving to the continent; this all erode the identity of the islands and the islanders - and change besides the mental scenery also the island landscape. 

The Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted seas in the world. The protection has been discussed for years, but the real acts have remained quite few. The Baltic Sea is breathing harder and harder, while the responsibility of its protection is being tossed back and forth, from one country to another.

The pearls of the Baltic Sea into a television series 

The idea of the Baltic Pearls -television documentary is to follow the sailing of the documentary-maker Petteri Saario around the Baltic Sea, from island to island. The journey starts in early spring, while the sea is still partly frozen. 

The sailing trip is the uniting frame story of the television series. The programs don’t, however, tell much about the sailing itself, but they concentrate above all on the six important islands of the Baltic Sea. The islands represent besides the utmost ends of the natural conditions, also the extremes of the cultural and political history in the Baltic region. 

The first destination is Åland Islands, where the sailing route goes through the Finnish Archipelago National Park, which is world famous for its beauty. The journey goes on from Åland Islands along the coast of Sweden to Bornholm that is the southernmost stop in the route. From Bornholm the route turns to Gotland and Stora Karlsö in Sweden and finally towards Saaremaa and Muhu, islands on the Estonian coast. Then the course is taken northwards sailing up along the west coast of Finland to the biggest island of the northern Gulf of Bothnia, Hailuoto. The boat returns back to Finland via the Russian Kotlin Island. 

Man and nature in the main roles 

Each episode of the series concentrates on one island, its nature and the everyday life of the islanders. The typical scenery and the key species and habitats of the island are studied in the nature shootings. In addition to the shootings in land, the nature of the islands is examined also beneath the sea. 

The larger developments of the Baltic Sea are also studied through small stories about everyday life, above all the environmental problems and the possibilities to solve them. The narration is debating and based on one's own experiences during the sailing trip. 

The documentaries of the Baltic Pearls -series are warm, of high technical level (digital betacam, super 16 film) descriptions about the nature and the people of the Baltic Sea. The purpose has been to get also images of the nature on the islands and under water that haven’t been shot before. 

The goal has been an “epic” of the Baltic Sea which offers the viewer besides audio visually ambitious shots, also interesting stories about the people living in the middle of the transition of everyday life that haven't been heard before. 


The Pearls of the Baltic Sea 
1. The Åland Islands and Archipelago Sea (Finland), 2. Bornholm (Denmark), 3. Gotland and Stora Karlsö (Sweden), 4. Saaremaa and Muhu (Estonia), 5. Hailuoto (Finland), 6. Kotlin (Russia)

Second Prize in the Category of the Best Finnish Film at Wildlife Vaasa Terranova Nature Film Festival in 2006 forPearls of the Baltic Sea, Episode 1 - Åland 1st Prize in Category "Man and Nature" in Matsalu Wildlife Film Festival in 2005 for Pearls of the Baltic Sea, Episode 5 - Hailuoto Honourable Mention of Koura Foundation for the best television programs broadcast in Finland in 2004 for thePearls of the Baltic Sea -documentary series Duration: 6 x 45 min
Year of Production: 2004
Original Title: Itämeren helmet
Script, Direction & Cinematography: Petteri Saario
Additional Cinematography: Jan Henriksson
Editing: Petteri Saario & Raimo Raitahila
Original Music: Perttu Hietanen
Production: Tekstivirta, Yle TV2 Factual Programs
Copyright Owner: DocArt

Supported by 
European Commission/ DG Press Audiovisual Projects
Finnish Ministry of Environment
Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Ministry of Transportation and Communications Finland
Finnish Environment Institute

Sales and Further Information Taiga Films Ltd / Tiina Saario, tel. +358 40 733 9300
tiina.saario(a)wildfin.com

Humorous Representation of Finland's Nature 

Every week Finnish television viewers are pampered with excellent nature films. Usually these films describe nature in Africa or in some other exotic place far away. Someone has sarcastically pointed out that today we Finns seem to be more familiar with an African savannah with its lions than an ordinary Finnish forest with its bears.

A documentary about one of the world's most valuable mountain rainforest, its inhabitants and its uncertain future

Have you heard of East Usambara? Never mind, neither had me until quite recently. 

Only few know about miraculous East Usambara. Even fewer have seen it with their own eyes. The East Usambara Mountains rise from lowland hundreds of kilometres away from the famous national parks Serengeti and Ngorongoro, Masai villages and Kilimanjaro's silhouettes. The East Usambara Mountains are situated near the coast in Northeast Tanzania, few hours drive from Kenia's border. 

But what makes East Usambara area so unique? There are no lions, elephants or giraffes, not to mention any other large African mammals. 

The assets of the East Usambara Mountains are hidden deep in rainforests. The small and fragmented forest area belongs to the 25 most precious nature spots in the whole world. There is countless variety of endemic species that are not found in natural surroundings elsewhere. Naturalists have even nicknamed East Usambara Africa's Galapagos. 

Besides animals and plants there are also humans living in East Usambara. The inhabitants of jungle villages are dependent on the bounty of rainforests: firewood, clay used as raw material of buildings and utensils, herbs, medicinal plants and before all, water. Without water caught by mountain rainforests life would be impossible, not only in East Usambara but also in many lowland villages and the city of Tanga on the coast. 

In accordance with a common trend today also the forests in East Usambara are threatened, and so is the traditional way of living depending on these forests. Although commercial timber loggings in the forests have been stopped for at least temporarily, many other human actions put natural values at risk. 

Farmers destroy rainforests by burning-over woodland for cultivation and spreading cultivated plants like cardemom and banana trees chucking out original rainforest species. Clearing fires on mountain sides approach year by year the heart of the rainforest. 

The forests in East Usambara were logged for decades. The advancement of forestry was at first the target of Finnish development co-operation, too. Then a British science magazine published an article where Finland was criticized for destroying precious rainforest, home of the African violet. Finland changed its course, and decided to support forest protection instead of loggings. Now twenty years' work for preserving natural values is ending. 

What shall come instead? Or shall anything? Will Tanzania's undeveloped, indigent and corrupted administration be able to preserve one of the most precious rain forests in the world on its own? What is Finland's responsibility? How important it is on the whole to preserve original nature in connection of development co-operation projects? 

The future of East Usambara's rain forests is again foggy. 

In the documentary both East Usambara's inhabitants and nature are called upon to speak.