Leena Pasanen, finnish art director in Bologna

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Leena Pasanen, a Finnish woman moved to Grizzana Morandi

Updated on 04 July 2023 From Bologna Welcome

Exclusively for Promenade...

Leena Pasanen, born in Finland, lives in Grizzana Morandi (BO) and directs the Mente Locale Film Festival

She was the artistic director of DOK Leipzig, the oldest documentary film festival in the world. In 2020 she directed the Biografilm Festival in Bologna, a city where she decided to move shortly afterwards.

Leena, tell us about your activity and its impact on the territory

I am the artistic director of Mente Locale film festival, in charge of the artistic vision of the festival and part of the committee selecting the films for the programming.

The festival has a particular point of view on territories and therefore is giving an insight into how opportunities, challenges and situations are changing and developing in our communities. I do hope that we give food for thought to our audiences as well as possibilities to learn and be inspired and entertained.

With our work, we also support independent cinema theatres in the region, which is something our team values a great deal.

Tomorrow’s Bologna: what do you expect and what do you wish to find?

Bologna for me is something incredible.

It’s open, welcoming, and full of life.

In the future, I would love to see Bologna being even more proud of what it has to offer (meaning stronger advertisement at the airport, not letting the Tuscan companies take over) and I central train station that would function better, offering easy access to this wonderful city.

Are there any curious anecdotes linked to your activity that have emerged in these last years?

I’m from Finland, living in Grizzana Morandi, on a farm in the countryside, south of Bologna. As a Finnish person, I used to be quite private and less social and rather intimidated speaking a language that I don’t master perfectly.

Emilia-Romagna has totally changed me.

Now my door is always open to anyone passing by, and I keep talking to them the best way I can, in Italian or with hands. And I cook Finnish salmon soup to anyone who dares to taste it!

Your favourite places off the beaten track?

I love the church of Santa Maria Assunta in Riola. It was designed by the famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto and is the only building he ever designed for Italy and the only Catholic church he ever designed. I have brought many Finnish and international guests there, and it really is like having a piece of Finland in Italy.

What's your favourite Bolognese word and why?

The word is Pignoletto. A wonderful, light, happy sparkling wine, that I fell in love with when I first visited Bologna many, many years ago. Today I am very proud to have a vineyard of my own, producing Pignoletto. One of the secrets of Bologna, that the whole world should know about.

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