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Juho Kuosmanen remaking Finland’s first film, THE MOONSHINERS

Finnish writer-director Juho Kuosmanen, known for his Cannes award-winning film The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Makiis planning to remake the earliest Finnish film in history, The Moonshiners (1907).

The Moonshiners (or Salaviinanpolttajat in Finnish) is twenty minutes in length and considered the first fictional film made in the country, therefore making it the starting point of the Finnish cinema industry. The film actually started out in a screenplay writing contest commissioned by Atelier Apollo, a company owned by photography and engineer Karl Emil Ståhlberg, who is now regarded as the father of Finnish cinema.

No prints of the film have been preserved so the film is considered lost, along with the screenplay. Some plot descriptions are still known based on contemporary newspaper advertisements of the film. The film tells the story of two men making moonshine in the woods. A customer comes to them, and while sampling the product they start a game of cards, which leads to a fight. While the first is going on, the local police show up and arrest the makers, while the customer is able to escape.

 

Kuosmanen will be reconstructing the film using these advertisements and press articles.

His new version will shoot as a half hour silent short film in January and will have its premiere at the Loud Silents Film Festival in Tampere, Finland, in April.

 

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.