When I was five years old, my father bought a camcorder. Instead of doing the usual home videos with it, he wrote and directed short stories and recruited us, his four children, to act in them, and to be a part of the crew. He let us use the camera without supervision a couple of years later, after which I started to direct the neighbourhood kids in various war epics, science fiction adventures and murder mysteries, usually about five minutes long apiece. This led directly to me organizing a filmmaking club in our school at the age of 14, and building on that until at the age of 17 I was directing hour-long dramas with a cast and crew of over twenty strong.

As more people gathered around me I discovered the amazing thrill of creating something together, as a group. It was a hobby, but also an addiction - when one film was finished, at least two others had to be in the planning stage. With every film I learned new things, and thought of new ways to make the films better - and those ways had to be tried out immediately. We made two to four short films a year for a period of four years when I was in my teens. I did not think too much about how the hobby would continue as I grew up, but in high school our arts teacher made me aware that it could be a career. That's when I knew I wanted to be a professional director. I was admitted to the University of Art and Design Helsinki to study Directing for Film and Television at age 22.

Attending the best film school in Finland for six years was an amazing experience. I was allowed to do a lot of different things, experiment and practice, even when the curriculum didn't quite match up with my motivations. I've directed multi-camera productions of dance pieces, directed theater, done visually ambitious horror with a large crew and improvisational drama shorts with just myself and the actors. All in all during my six years in school I've directed eight short films (three of them as part of my studies), one theatrically released feature film, twelve episodes of nationally broadcasted television and numerous other projects. I graduated Master of Arts in the spring of 2012, with my written thesis presenting an idealistic roadmap for a better, deeper relationship between directors and actors.

Youth as a theme and young people as an audience have always been in the center of my interests. Before beginning film school I completed my civilian service at City of Helsinki's Youth Department, working at their Media Center helping young people shoot and edit their own movies and videos. I was also a scout leader for ten years. My first feature film August and short films including In Between, Our Little Brother and Enemies Within all deal with the lives and problems of young protagonists.

If there is a recurring theme or message to be found in my films, I believe it is telling people that they are not alone. The problems they face and the emotions they experience are, in fact, shared. This message is especially important to young people, who easily believe that they are the only people in the world to feel lonely, rejected, lost and different.

I am always interested in participating in new projects and meeting new people. If you find my work compelling and think I could be of service to you, please don't hesitate to contact me!

You can download my CV in English here, ja suomeksi täältä (PDF).


Directing Anu Sinisalo and Maria Ylipää on the set of Urban Family, photo by Annika Miettinen