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Elina – As if I wasn’t There

English title: Elina – As if I wasn’t There
Original title: Elina – Som om jag inte fanns
German title: Elina – Als ob es mich nicht gäbe
Sweden, Finland, 2002

Director: Härö, Klaus
Production company: Filmlance International AB, Stockholm
Co-producers: Kinoproduction Oy, Helsinki
Age recommendation: 8 years and up

Synopsis:
In the 1950s, nine-year-old Elina lives with her younger siblings and her mother in Tornedalen in the north of Sweden, near the Finnish border. The family belongs to the Finnish-speaking minority. Elina's father has died of tuberculosis and she misses him badly. Elina also contracted tuberculosis, but recovered. However, since she missed so much schooling as a result, she has been put in a new class with a different teacher, the strict Tora Holm. Tora Holm sees it as her mission to protect her pitiable charges from the pitfalls of life, believing that only those who speak perfect Swedish have any chance of a happy and successful life. Small wonder that Elina and Tora Holm are soon at loggerheads. Especially when Elina exercises the sense of justice she learned from her father and stands up for one of her schoolmates. Although nobody is willing to take her side, little Elina proves far stronger than teacher Tora Holm reckoned. The conflict comes to a head when Elina flees to the dangerous moor. (Nordic Filmdays Luebeck 2002)

Comments:
"A beautiful and moving film about a strong little person who has the courage to go against the stream and fight for justice - at high costs. Elina shows that unity among children may lead to something positive and thereby change things. The film also reveals concealed facts of the Swedish minority policy which we are not proud of. It has a strict dramatic sense that without detours leads towards the end." (Jury at BUFF Malmö, March 2003)

Natalie Minnevik’s performance was very impressive. We could really understand the girl’s situation well. The story touched us greatly. The film which was actually quite serious was lightened by humorous moments. Elina’s conversations with her dead father in that wonderful, beautiful moor landscape were especially nice. But also her relationship to her mother and sister were delightfully portrayed. (Children's Jury Kinderfilmfest Berlin 2003)

Festivals:
Luebeck 2002, Oulu 2002, Sandnes 2002, Kinderfilmfest Berlin 2003 (children's jury's award and special mention by professional jury), Antwerp 2003, Malmö 2003, Laon 2003 (special mention), Poznan 2003 (awarded), Munich 2003, Giffoni 2003, Cinekid Amsterdam 2003, Buster Copenhagen 2003 (special mention), Cologne 2003, Duesseldorf 2003, Münster 2003, Vienna 2003 (awarded), Chicago 2003, Augsburg 2003, Isfahan 2003 (awarded), Olympia 2003, Divercine Montevideo/Uruguay 2003 (awarded), Filmberry Riga 2004, Vilnius2004, Zlin 2004, Discovery Dundee 2004, Castellinaria Bellinzona 2004, Sasketchewan/Canada 2004 (awarded), Cairo 2004 (awarded), Winnipeg/Canada 2004 (awarded), Vancouver/Cabada 2004 (awarded), Dresden 2005

Study guide: Danish

Study guide: English

Study guide: Finnish

Study guide: German

Study guide: Norwegian

World sales address/es:
TrustNordisk Int. Sales (DK)
Kinoproduction Oy (FI)
Filmlance Int. AB

Sold to:
Sonet (S)
Alpha Medienkontor (D)
Matthias-Film (D)
Bundesverband Jugend und Film (D)
Øst for Paradis (DK)
Finnkino (FI)
Arthaus (Norway)
Park Junior (NL)
Atlas Film GmbH (DE)