Artist, film director
Mika Taanila stayed at our artist residence on Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, for the month of April, 2012. Taanila is a Finnish film director and visual artist. His cinematic style falls somewhere between traditional documentary and avant-garde art films. His recurring themes are the relations between technology, people, and society. All his films are based on some pre-existing phenomenon, person, atmosphere, or musical piece. For Taanila, the most exciting part the work is when he has the material stirring in front of him on the editing desk. Taanila considers his films as constructions, put together piece by piece. He uses expressive cinematographic techniques, such as high-speed filming, tracking shots, extreme close ups, and unconventional angles. Music also plays a big part in his films. He notes Americans Craig Baldwin, Kenneth Anger and Ken Jacobs, as well as the French surrealist Jean Painlevé as his influences.
Taanila is also an accomplished music video director with 5th prize from the MTV Video Music Awards in 1993 for his classic video for 22-Pistepirkko’s Birdy under his belt.
While in New York, Taanila was shooting a short film featuring the Finnish ultramarathon runner Asprihanal Pekka Aalto participating in The Fifteenth Annual Self-Transcendence Six Day Race that was held at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on April 22-28.
Taanila’s most notable films include Futuro – A New Stance for Tomorrow (1998) and Optical Sound (2005), both Grand Prix winners of the under 30 minute competition at the Tampere International Film Festival.