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Helsinki Cultural Act Award 2022 to Refugee Film Festival

The City of Helsinki’s Cultural Act Award 2022 has been grated today, 23 January, to Refugee Film Festival. The award is worth €5,000. Honourable mentions were awarded to Kvääristö and Nuorten Open Mic (Youth Open Mic) events.
A group of Refugee Film Festival's representatives in front of movie theatre Orion.
Refugee Film Festival has been awarded the Helsinki Cultural Act Award 2022.

The City of Helsinki’s Cultural Act Award 2022 and honourable mentions have been presented. The winners are annually selected by the Culture and Library Sub-committee of the City of Helsinki’s Culture and Leisure Committee. 

The Helsinki Cultural Act Award 2022, worth €5,000, was granted to Refugee Film Festival for conveying life as a refugee and immigration from different perspectives through the means of film. Turvapaikanhakijoiden tuki ry, an association supporting refugees and asylum seekers, acts as the background organisation for the festival.

“The festival is built around its high-quality, international and multilingual film programme as well as discussions on related themes. The festival also closely cooperates with filmmakers with asylum seeker background, highlighting their films. The festival has also provided a platform for the works of immigrant filmmakers and served as a meeting place and networking event for new operators in the industry. This highly relevant and topical entity won over the Culture and Library Sub-committee,” says Sirpa Asko-Seljavaara, Chair of the committee.

This year, the committee wanted to award two parties with honourable mentions: Kvääristö and Nuorten Open Mic events.

Kvääristö is a safe and accessible bar-café as well as an event and cultural venue. Any form of harassment or other inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated in Kvääristö, where respecting all individuals and encouraging everyone to be themselves is emphasised. Kvääristö has hosted a variety of events and has become an important new centre of diverse culture in Helsinki.

Nuorten Open Mic events, on the other hand, were inspired by poetry evenings for young people in 2018. Young people also participate in the events as producers and performers. Event activities include both free-of-charge and curated events including poetry, spoken word, music and social debate as well as writing and performing workshops. Nuorten Open Mic events pay decent fees for all performers and are committed to enabling new job opportunities for those participating in the events. Viewers of the Nuorten Open Mic events have enjoyed ambitious performances where the performers bravely put themselves on the line. 

The Culture Act Award 2022 and honourable mentions were presented to the winners at the award ceremony organised by the Culture and Leisure Division at Cinema Orion in Helsinki on 23 January 2023.   

The Culture and Library Sub-committee of the City of Helsinki’s Culture and Leisure Committee annually grants the Cultural Act Award to a significant and novel cultural act or project that has an impact on Helsinki or its residents. The cultural act changes or challenges an existing urban space or way of working, or makes you see things in a new way. Whether great or small, the cultural act demonstrates the courage to create something new and different. The city has been granting the Cultural Act Award annually since 2009. 

The main photo shows the Refugee Film Festival’s production team just before the opening of the 2022 festival. In the middle is activist Rojin Birzoi, who gave the opening speech. The others from the left are producer Mete Sasioglu, interpreter and organiser Rahim Alizada, director of the festival Anna Korhonen, publicist Outi Popp and coordinator Siiri Matinpuro. In the back row, festival employees Okko Ahre, Joonas Koivula, Okko Huopainen and Nina Kantoniemi. © Refugee Film Festival