History Professor's Film Tours Finland

6 September 2012 - Thunder Bay

The Department of History is pleased to announce that Dr. Ronald Harpelle’s recent film, Under the Red Star, which is a docu-drama directed by Kelly Saxberg about Finnish immigration and radicalism in Thunder Bay prior to the Second World War, has had a successful tour of Finland.
The film premiered in Kemijarvi, a town above the Arctic Circle where Dr. Harpelle was beginning principal photography for a new project, and then Under the Red Star travelled to the cities of Tampere, Turku and Helsinki. In Tampere it was shown at Westras, the Finnish Labour Museum, in Turku at the Institute for Migration and in Helsinki at the Orion Theatre. In Helsinki the evening was dedicated to Canadian historian Varpu Lindstrom who collaborated on the film project but who lost her battle with cancer earlier this summer. The evening began with opening remarks by former Finnish politician, Arja Alho, by the Canadian Ambassador to Finland, Mr. Chris Shapardanov, and by Varpu’s son, Lt-Col. Alan Best.
Under the Red Star is funded in part by the Ontario Arts Council, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and Finland’s Institute of Migration, and it includes two of Finland’s finest stage and screen actors, Elena Leeve and Jussi Nikkilã. Under the Red Star has is also an Official Selection for Cinéfest 2012, one of Canada’s biggest film festivals and the 2012 Canadian Labour International Film Festival. The film is also slated to screen at several other festivals, forums or special events in Canada and the United States during the upcoming year. For updated information about the film visit the Under the Red Star Facebook page.
While in Finland Dr. Harpelle was also interviewed, along with former Lakehead University Finnish Chair, Dr. Hanna Snellman, by the Helsingin Sanomat and other news organizations about his current film project which is funded by an SSHRC Public Outreach Grant.  Dr. Harpelle’s new project is called “Pulp Friction: the intersection of globalization and community,” and it focuses on shifting economies in the forest industry in Canada, Finland and Uruguay.