Making documentaries a way of life for Finnish director

His past as a director in the domains of fiction films and cartoons, the luck he had «to be in the right place at the right time,» the passion and the intuition involved in not «planning the things I’m going to deal with but rather getting carried away by them and then pursuing them» all combined to drive Finnish artist Arto Halonen to focus on documentaries. The multifaceted artist, director, writer, producer and founder of DocPoint, Scandinavia’s most significant documentary festival, who also runs a production company that supports independent films, is the honored guest at this year’s Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. «This award vindicates the life of a filmmaker if we take into account the considerable number of difficulties and obstacles confronted in our line of work,» remarked Halonen after receiving the honorary award in Thessaloniki. Projects by Halonen that have been chosen for screenings at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival include documentaries focused on the wild slopes of Kyrgyzstan, Cuban myths, Tibet, Malaysia and China, as well as Turkmenistan, where he filmed his most recent documentary. For his next project, Halonen returns to his native Finland to shoot a documentary about the life of a local artist whose music and lyrics have been a major influence in the filmmaker’s life. «It’s going to be a story for those of us who don’t realize that we become vehicles that carry messages to others, and in doing so, leave our imprint on society,» he told a news conference yesterday. «Through documentaries, we have the ability to stir emotions, raise awareness on issues and instigate action. This has been the driving force for me as well.»

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