Introducing HEFFI - Helsinki Education Film Festival International

Helsinki Education Film Festival International (HEFFI)

HEFFI is designed specifically to improve the education and learning experience of the next generation through films and videos.

1. Can you tell us briefly, the story of HEFFI?

Ricky: HEFFI started because of a need. We realized that people are more drawn to videos. As everybody has noticed, even children are attracted and attached to videos all the time. So, we thought, let's bring that into education. Let's use film-making as the educational tool. Since we (Ricky and Michael) have been in the film-making business for some time now, it was a smooth transition, an easy process. We saw that there is a need for this film festival, and our objective is to educate the new generation through films.

I met Michael in class (we are both students of Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, which is an international school). Michael is studying Entrepreneurship. I'm in a program called 'International Sales and Marketing'. I heard that he was also into film-making and had plans close to my ideas. So I approached him and asked if he wanted to join HEFFI. We started last year and got very good at working together.

2. Helsinki Education Film Festival International is an annual festival but what does the festival include and when is it going to be held?

Ricky: HEFFI is based in Helsinki, but not confined to Helsinki. Last year, it was held at the Caisa Cultural Center in Kallio. At the same time, we had workshops at different locations such as the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Pasila and Porvoo Campuses, and NewCo Helsinki, associated with the Helsinki Government.

This year, the festival will be held in the last week of September; the tentative date is Sunday 27th. We will again have multiple venues. Screenings will be held at different schools and colleges and we will have the main screening in Helsinki. The program is not ready yet but will be announced soon. We have collaborators from different parts of the world who are interested in coming and participating. There will be multiple screenings and events, workshops, and even cultural activities. We will announce a precise program of various activities soon.

HEFFI is about education, and that is a vast topic. It can be connected to pedagogy, film-making, cultural, such as dance, etc.. anything related to education will be covered. It can also be related to business.

3. How is this year's festival different from the event you organized last year?

Ricky: In a way, this year will be bigger. We have now collaborated with Global Business Forum International, and they have a big following. And also, we are communicating with different academic schools, and so it will be more significant too. This year HEFFI is not just over one weekend; it will be one or two weeks of activities.

Michael: Screenings will be more spread out this year because last year we had only two days to hold events and screenings. So, we had quite a lot, like a marathon of films, but this year we can spread it out more. Therefore, people don't need to commit the whole day and they can plan better to see different films in different venues.

4. Who are the audience? Who are you interested in attracting?

Ricky: Everybody interested in the development of education. Everybody who wants to learn, not only kids and students, but adults too. Because there is always something to learn. Basically, anything and anybody concerned with education and learning.

5. How can someone be a participant or get involved with HEFFI? What should they do?

Michael: People can help organize events, workshops, and film screenings. There is no limit on what they can do. Especially now that the event is getting bigger, we need more support, more volunteers, and more collaborators, because we believe it will become more prominent.

6. Does HEFFI itself make films, or are you focusing on making the annual event?

Ricky: We are both filmmakers, so yes, we make films. We use HEFFI as a platform for our films. My films last year were: 'Beyond Hip Hop', which is a film about finding the real definition of Hip Hop dance, and 'Keep it Reel', which is a film about the history and development of Irish dance in Finland.

We are thinking of showing these two films again to dance enthusiasts if we can find a suitable venue and time during the festival.

Michael: But those are separate from HEFFI, that is us as individuals or our other company; HEFFI is a platform to show them, HEFFI is not producing them.

Education and Study by Foreigners in Finland
Photo by Juha Roisko

7. What are the opportunities in participating in this kind of event?

Ricky: The platform. The opportunity for filmmakers is that they have a chance to meet educators here, to have an audience here, and also to meet other filmmakers from around the world. Finland is known for education, so it is advantageous for filmmakers to be here and their films to be accepted here. It is a platform to be seen and to be heard.

And for us, the friendships that we build, the networks we make - we learn from e