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U of R filmmakers shine at the Saskatchewan Independent Film Awards

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: January 13, 2022 1:00 a.m.

U of R alum Elian Mikkola filming Via Karelia in old Karelia, which is now a part of Russia
U of R alum Elian Mikkola filming Via Karelia in old Karelia, which is now a part of Russia Photo provided by Elian Mikkola.

Elian Mikkola MFA’19 and third-year student Adrienne Kaye were recently recognized for their direction and outstanding work on their films Via Karelia and Look For Me at the 2021 Saskatchewan Independent Film Awards.

image-2---elian-headshot.jpeg
Elian Mikkola’s (MFA’19) film
Via Karelia was a winner at the 2021
Saskatchewan Independent Film
Awards.
Photo provided by Elian Mikkola.

Elian Mikkola received the Best Short Film award, along with co-winner Simon Garez. In Mikkola’s film Via Karelia, they explore how trauma is carried on from one generation to another, and whether there is a way to stop the cycle. Mikkola tries to understand how to heal from the past pressures by searching for their grandmother's childhood home. Taking the journey with their parents, Mikkola found themself in a village located in the old Karelia, now a part of Russia. 

“I usually approach filmmaking in a non-scripted way. Exploring themes and ideas through this personal archival material was my starting point for the film,” says Mikkola.  “I’ve never physically been in Karelia, because the land was lost in the war, along with the culture and language. Creating this film was a way for me to find a connection back to Karelia, while taking this journey with my family.” 

Mikkola is originally from Turku, Finland, and completed a Master of Fine Arts in Media Production at the U of R in 2019. While they quickly learned that Saskatchewan is a much different environment for filmmaking than other larger cities in Canada, Mikkola then shifted their way of thinking and approach to filmmaking, and encourages others to do the same. 

“What really resonated with me in my first year was that Regina was an environment that I could grow in, and that I could get the support I needed to find my own way of making films and continue to explore this field after graduation,” says Mikkola. "For me, Saskatchewan has a lot of potential as a creative space for filmmaking. There are also great supports such as the U of R film department and organizations like Saskatchewan Filmpool that will help alternative independent filmmaking push through the existing limitations." 

The full Via Karelia film can be viewed in the recording of the 2021 Saskatchewan Independent Film Awards (begins at 1:39:35). 

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Third-year student Adrienne Kaye’s
film Look For Me.
Credit: MAP: Faculty of Media, Art,

and Performance - University of
Regina on Facebook.

Adrienne Kaye, a third-year student in the Bachelor of Fine Arts – Film Production program, won in the Best Student Film category for her short film Look For Me. This multi-format short film captures the internal struggle that an Indigenous woman faces on a day-to-day basis, and how these struggles affect her sense of self-worth. You can watch Look For Me in the recording of the 2021 Saskatchewan Independent Film Awards (begins at 28:20). 

The University of Regina’s Film Department offers several different programs for those interested in a career in the film industry, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production and a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies. There are also several master’s programs in the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance including a Master of Fine Arts in Media Production and a Master of Arts in Media Studies. 

Mike Rollo, Associate Professor and Department Head with the Department of Film, sees these awards as a perfect example of the talent and quality of work that comes out of the U of R’s Film Department. 

"Students in the Department of Film discover their own approach and process to visual storytelling,” says Rollo. “When students create stories from personal experience, they are often unique, impactful and engaging; Elian and Adrienne’s work both exemplify this. We’re excited to see where their creative practices lead them in the future!" 

You can watch the full broadcast of the 2021 Saskatchewan Independent Film Awards on SIFA’s website

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