We were lucky enough to be given press passes during our time at the Midnight Sun Film Festival. Thanks to this we were able to go behind the scenes, meet the organizers and access all the events happening during the festival.
One of the main characteristic of the MSFF is that it’s entirely run by volunteers. There are about 300 of them divided into teams to take care of every aspect of the organization.
All the volunteers stay and work in the old school of Sodankylä that isn’t used anymore since 2008. It’s also a screening venue but most importantly the headquarters of the organizers where each class has been turned into basic dorms with inflatable mattresses and sleeping bags. They eat at the cantina every meal, use the bigger classrooms for working together or to install the press office for instance.
There’s a team taking care of ticket sales and another to run the bar or check the people into the screening venues. There’s even a cleaning team only made of international volunteers that make sure the festival stays clean and more importantly that the people are entertained while hanging out. They put up several shows with dance and music to make the most of the cleaning situation for everyone. Brilliant!
We also spent a bit of time with the “design” team who’s in charge of all the graphic elements for the festival. This mostly consists of creating posters for the events and screenings, but everything is done by hand like 29 years ago when the festival was created. The results are always amazing! One fun fact about the creation process is that they always make sure that the designer hasn’t seen the movie he or she will have to illustrate so they can come up with their own expectation and interpretation. They do such a great job that the poster of Olivier Assayas’ latest movie, Cloud of Sils Maria, went semi-viral among Kristen Stewart’s fan on Twitter after we posted it…
We were also allowed to eat with the volunteers at their cantina and had the chance to see the friendly atmoshere among them. Seems like a super nice summer camp with cool people from everywhere but all with an interest for cinema obviously. It was great to get some insights about the organisation over a very good beef stew or salmon soup. Some of them had been volunteering for several years like Mika, one of the drivers, who was on his 4th festival and loved to volunteer to take a break every year from his app programming job in Helsinki. This year he even stayed longer in Lapland to make a week-long hike with his girlfriend before the festival.
For others, it was the first edition and you could see that they were going to come back next year for sure. As a result, there are more and more people each year that are trying to become volunteers at MSFF and it’s now quite difficult to get even the lowest position. But if you are interested you should definitely give it a try![divider line=”true”] NOTA BENE Thanks to the organisation of Midnight Sun Film Festival for the warm welcoming and emotion, special big up to Laura and Elina. Thanks to visitFinland and the municipality of Sodankylä for inviting us in Lapland and Expedia for flying us there (and back). This trip is part of Must Love Festivals project. More stories to come about Finland and closer.