Academy of Moving People and Images is a platform founded by filmmaker Erol Mintas, in Helsinki for mobile people - those who have arrived in Finland for different reasons; be they displaced people, forced immigrants, students, asylum seekers, or employees.
We aim to design a new learning model and a sustainable pedagogical platform where people who have arrived in Finland from different backgrounds get to co-work/learn together. We dream to contribute and initiate change to re-build a discrimination-free film industry. One of the main goals is to give possibilities, tools, and skills of filmmaking to mobile people. Through the constant exchange of knowledge/experience between Finnish/mobile filmmakers and the new participants, we hope to see a film industry that is more open and diverse.
A diversity of voices, genders, and cultures is integral to any group. Its absence mirrors structures of racism and intolerance, and a lack of representation of different perspectives. The film industry suffers from a lack of diversity in creative areas. The stories that are being told do not reflect our pluralistic societies. Networks of professionals within the film industry often exist only within closed circles. This homogeneous representation within the film industry—as the visual industry with the widest reach—contributes to widening gaps between people of different backgrounds. Therefore, it is important to identify these structures that effectively reproduce the same one-sided narratives and to work towards a representative film industry that truly projects the diversity that is inherent within our societies.
Within this Academy, we explore what it means to decolonize knowledge, education, and institutions to challenge the hegemony of white, European knowledge, without having a top-down approach.
How We Work
Every two years, a group of 8 - 12 mobile people are selected by the jury consisting of the director of the Academy of Moving People & Images, members of the board of advisors, and lecturers. It is not necessary for the participants to have a background in cinema, however, it is important for them to have a passion for filmmaking.
Within our selection process, we acknowledge the existing gender inequality in the film industry and strive to change it. The Academy is open to people from all communities that historically have been subjected to oppression and marginalization such as Sami or Roma people in Finland.
We provide 2 years of hands-on, fee-free courses for participants. They will make their own short films under the guidance of mobile filmmakers and Finnish film industry professionals, performing all the essential roles necessary to realize their films. Our goal is for the films to be presented at local and international film festivals. Upon graduation, they are ready to work professionally in the film industry.
The Academy provides wider professional support and access to resources and community, encouraging participants to learn through practice. All lecturers offer the students practical and theoretical support to enhance and realize their individual projects. The focus of the Academy is on narrative film, however, there will be lectures on documentary film as well. In addition, through our theoretical lectures, our participants will acquire a postcolonial and feminist approach to film theories.
The structure of the Academy is conceived to eliminate bureaucratic processes, dismiss hierarchy, and create a space where everyone can express their knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits, without the concern of being subjected to discriminatory or patronizing behaviour.
The diversity among the community of the Academy is enlightening, as they exchange ideas and experiences to confront multiple power structures of domination that continue to exist not only in the film industry, but in classrooms, research, language, ideas, history, and institutions, among others. The theoretical and epistemic knowledge of the Academy will have a lived dimension to it—'lived' in the sense that it foregrounds the experiences of those who have been excluded from modernist knowledge production.
Where We Work
Academy of Moving People and Images does not have a space of its own, it operates within the space of its many collaborators such as The Finnish Film Foundation (SES), Aalto University (ELO, Critical Cinema Lab), Goethe Institut Finnland, French institute in Finland, G.A.P, HIAP, Design Museum Helsinki, Museum of Impossible Forms, Taidekoulu MAA, Cultural Center Caisa, and Publics and many others. Through this mobility, the participants get to know the Finnish art scene and surround themselves with a creative network.