Zahrah Ehsan (b. 1988, in Dubai, UAE) is a visual artist and art educator from Lahore, Pakistan, and currently based in Espoo, Finland. In 2020, she completed a degree of Master of Arts in Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Arts from Aalto University, Finland. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts with Honours in 2012, with a concentration in Painting from the National College of Arts, Pakistan. Her practice is deeply experimental including scavenged materials from industry, popular culture, and utility incorporating it into her paintings, moving images/video-art and on-site installations, which is mostly a critique on the notions of gender, adaptation and identity, mental health, and types of artistic and everyday labour. As a trained painter, Zahrah finds painting certainly not restricted ideologically within its frame. It is not autonomous from the world it occupies, leading her to further branch out and investigate various methods of image-making with concepts of relational aesthetics, maintenance art, and performative narrativity.
Surabhi Nadig (b. in 1992, Bangalore, India) moved to Helsinki for MA studies in Creative Sustainability at Aalto University. Nadig’s mediums of research-based storytelling have been with photography and writing, wants to make films to expand on what photographs cannot capture.
Kardo Shiwan (b.1988, Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan) is a Kurdish-Finnish performing artist. Kardo graduated from the Helsinki University of the Arts (Teak) in 2019. Right now, Kardo is interested in the intersections of cultural research and corporeality. In recent years, Kardo has worked extensively on various projects in different positions: as an actor, choreographer, dancer on television and on theater stages, both in Finland and abroad.
Shamsil Balkis (b. Kerala, India) currently engaged with the arts collective Mätäojan Lapset based in Helsinki. His practice critically explores the representation of ethnic minorities, their identities, and their roots in the history of cinema. He has a deep passion for writing and directing stories that reflect on pluralistic societies.
James Nikander (b. 1990 in Turku, Finland) based in Helsinki is intrigued by the art of storytelling. A musician and an entertainer now seeking to cultivate his passion for screenwriting and filmmaking.
Samuel N. Boateng (b.1994 Italy and Ghana). He was born and raised in Italy by Ghanaian parents. He moved to Finland in 2016 to start a new chapter of his life and to challenge himself in a new way. He had always loved photography/videography but never had the funds to afford a camera until he changed his mindset and started working on achieving his goals. He has two major passions in him: sharing love and happiness through food as a Chef and through Pictures and videos as a Photographer/ Videographer. He has always loved movies and documentaries since he was a kid and they helped him through his journey in life, taught him so many lessons, and helped him pursue his dreams. Now he wants to be the one sharing his creativity and inspire others to pursue their dreams.
Mariia Solodiankina (b. Saint-Petersburg, Russia) explores empathy and questioning of social foundations through fine art photography and moving images. Passing through the events of the past and present she explores the possibilities of the language of art to speak and change the direction of the future. Does it have enough power to stop oppression and war? Passionate learner, eager to explore filmmaking and cinematography.
Teresa Siltanen (b.1993 United States) born and raised in the U.S. had grown up with mobility being a major part of her upbringing due to her father’s retired profession. She graduated in Theatre Arts and spent a semester in Northern Ireland studying Irish history, language, and drama. She wants to be able to incorporate her mixture of Indigenous / European heritage and
folklore into her work. Her passion and love for cinema and filmmaking is her driving force – along with her desire to connect to individuals at their core.
Khanh Ngo (b. 2000, Hanoi, Vietnam) is a Vietnamese cinematographer and a part-time musician. He came to Finland in 2018 to get his Bachelor of Administrator in Business Information Technology. During his second year, he was responsible of making a short film as an group assignment for a course at school, where he quickly realized that it was his true passion. Since then, he’s worked both as a contractor and a freelancer in the field of filmmaking. Born and raised in Vietnam, he was fascinated with Vietnamese literature, and wishes to bring it to the big screen internationally. “To make movies about different people and culture, such as my own”, as stated in his motivation letter, is his goal.
Sanjay Shrestha (b.1993, Nepal) moved to Finland in 2012 as a Hospitality Management Student. He is an amateur screenwriter and Filmmaker aiming at establishing a professional career. Since his Childhood, watching movies has remained his main hobby. This interest has turned into curiosity, and the art of filmmaking has drawn his attention quite strongly to be an aspiring screenwriter and filmmaker.
Iida Valme (b.1999, Boston, MA) comes from a Haitian and Finnish background, has grown up in the U.S., Estonia, Chile, Finland, and Kenya before going to study Kinesiology in McGill University in Montréal. She returned to Finland to pursue her passion in filmmaking and production, as well as to “re-root herself”. Growing up, mobility has always been a part of her life due to her parents’ professions, as well as her own multicultural heritage.
Shia Conlon is a lens-based artist originally from Ireland, now living and working in Helsinki, Finland. His work explores power structures that might oppress a body such as religion, gender, the family, the state, and class. Working with his own history growing up in Catholic Ireland he explore questions like what happens to a body under these structures and what could power look like if it was located back to these bodies.”
Vishnu Vardhani RAJAN (b.Hyderabad, India) is a Body-Philosopher and Performance Artist based in Helsinki. A hyphenated identity, multidisciplinary practices, building connections between art, science, witchcraft, history and cultures define her. Vishnu explores shame, through dance, acting and stand-up comedy. Vishnu’s persona Vamp Master Brown is the first Indian Drag King in Helsinki. She intends to blend her love of Cinema and passion for filmmaking with her ongoing practices, to achieve a new language in storytelling.
Támara Aalto (b. Spain), studied Environmental Sciences and afterwards decided to make a change getting into the Art School of Zaragoza studying Illustration. Always curious about her unknown Nordic roots, she came to Finland with the plan of staying only for 2 months to find some clues; she ended up staying longer to explore and re-discover her main passion: Cinema. Recently she has started to write and direct her own stories and participating in indie short films in different tasks. She is interested in topics such as identity, roots, minorities, breaking stereotypes and feminism. Cinema is for her a machine of empathy to connect people with.
Imaneh Ameli (b. 1984, Iran) is a communication specialist based in Helsinki. She came to Finland four and a half years ago to study her second Master’s degree in Global Sociology at Tampere University. She holds another Masters degree in Communication Science from Tehran University. She cares about equality in the society in an intersectional way and wants to reflect on the current, complicated socio-political atmosphere (intersection of gender, race, sexual orientation, class and environment) in her future movies in an artistic way.
Nadezhda Atanasova (b. 1997 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria) currently based in Helsinki has a passion for fiction, cinema and storytelling. After taking part in student and amateur theatres she has chosen to devote herself to cinema and film production.
Samra Šabanović (b. 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina) grew up in Sarajevo and moved to Helsinki for her master studies. She graduated in Fine Arts at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad and has obtained her MA in Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art at Aalto University. Samra has been mostly working with photography and combining it with text, video and performative narrative. Her interests oscillate between philosophy in photography and politics: the right to be, human dignity, both love and inaccessibility in
images. From 2019 she has been co-curating a series of research-based public interventions on images under the title “I was there but you didn’t see me.”
Libbie Katsev (b. 1995, California) was born in the U.S. in a Russian-Jewish family. She has been using writing and comics to explore her heritage as well as themes of memory, space and place, and sound. Libbie previously lived for a time in Moscow, where she researched street music. She moved to Helsinki to pursue an M.A. in Russian Studies.
Jelica Jerinić (b.1991, Yugoslavia), currently based in Helsinki, graduated with an MA in Film and Theatre Writing from Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. In her work, she is interested in exploring themes of immigration, gender and identity.
Daniel Villodas (b.1990, in Lima, Peru) did not complete his studies in filmmaking in Peru. After working in different film sets as a PA and lighting technician, he wrote two screenplays for commercial purposes. He hated humanity for almost a decade. While he was studying in Peru, he experienced the loss of friends and relatives, saw extreme poverty and reconnected with his roots. This crystallized his passion for finding and telling stories, using moving image as a medium.
Saara Hasan (b.1994, Finland ) has Finnish-Iraqi roots. A former burger master and now an emerging filmmaker based in Finland. She has a passion for acting, storytelling and cinematography. In her work, she is interested in exploring themes of identity, relationships and human behaviour.
Fiona Musanga (b.1996, Rwanda) graduated from Turun Klassillinen high school with a diploma in acting. She is a student of film and art history, a dancer, actor, writer and creator. She is one of the founding members of the Ubuntu Film Club-collective, a space that aims to expand narratives through screenings, talks and workshops at the Museum of Impossible Forms.
Shahi Derky (b.1997, in Damascus, Syria) left Syria in 2012 to live in Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey and then France. She graduated with a BA in linguistics and literature from the University of Lyon II in 2018. At the moment, she is undergoing an MA in critical theory, translation and literal representation in cinema. Her research investigates the political, linguistic and artistic powers in Harold Pinter’s Mountain Language. Shahi has curiosity and passion for cinematic storytelling and cinematography. She is interested in mixing languages, memory, and humane experiences within the moving image.
Aishe Vejdani (b.1986, Iran) is a visual artist based in Turku. Graduating with a BA in English literature and an MA in Painting, her work is inspired by the relationship between theory and image. Working mostly with oil paint on canvas, she likes to use her artwork as a connective media between people with specific yet similar cultures and histories. Being an Iranian Turkmen based in Finland, she finds her identity in-between. In her artwork, she has a fluid approach where subjects are relative and not solid.
Helena Aleksandrova (b.1992, in St.Petersburg, Russia) is a Helsinki-based artist. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Video from Smolny College, St.Petersburg State University in 2014. She has received her Master degree from Aalto University majoring in Visual Culture and Contemporary Art. Helena primarily works with the moving image, performance on camera and photography. In her artistic practice, she is inspired by popular cultural and social phenomena as a platform for creating new ideas. Helena has a passion for Horror film, with a focus on Giallo cinema.
Taisya Ulyanova (b.2002, in Moscow, Russia) is a digital artist with a love for storytelling. She moved to Helsinki from Russia in 2016. Queer characters and queer themes are inherent to all of her works in progress.
Uzair Amjad (b.1989, in Sahiwal, Pakistan) is a Visual Artist and Narrative Designer based in Helsinki. He is pursuing an MA with a major in Visual Culture and Contemporary Art at Aalto University. He works with various techniques of storytelling to make visible the connections between culturally induced logics and beliefs and how they demarcate human experience and agency. In his practice, he examines storytelling itself as an apparatus with the potential to either cement or challenge cultural hegemonies. Originally trained as a painter, his work is greatly inspired by multiple Eastern and Western storytelling traditions that he interacted with over the course of his mobility, living in 10 different cities and changing between 25 houses.
Roxana Sadvokassova (b.1992, in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan) moved to Finland in 2014 to pusue an MA in Intercultural Communication in Jyväskylä. There she delved into sculpting, writing, event organizing, newspaper delivery, depression and filmmaking until her wish to pursue filmmaking “for real” and creative loneliness crystallized enough for her to move to Helsinki in June 2018. Understanding her creative process on a deeper level is one of the things she is working on at the moment.
Mariangela Pluchino (b.1991, Venezuela) grew up in Costa Rica and is currently based in Finland. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Costa Rica in 2016. Currently, she is pursuing non-fiction filmmaking, questioning the practice of social sciences to establish a dialogue within the disciplinary and geographical diaspora.
Camille Navarro (b.1997, in Manila, Philippines) is an aspiring filmmaker. She moved from the Philippines to Finland at the age of five and graduated from upper secondary school in 2017. Previously she has been working in the restaurant business but now her love for cinema has turned into an interest in pursuing a career in filmmaking. She cares about minority and environmental issues and wants to reflect those in her films.