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Weekend Wrap

Wookie Jedis, Stratovarius on tour and extreme watersport experiences

Freediver Johanna Nordblad stars in an award-nominated documentary Hold Your Breath: The Ice Dive

Elina Manninen www.elinamanninen.com

It has been a week of extreme experiences, from virtual-reality water sports to an award-nominated documentary about freediving. In addition, Stratovarius tours Latin America, Lordi's new album gets reviewed, and Apocaplytica teases new music. Take a detailed look at recent creativity from Finland below.

Aki Kaurismäki's latest feature, Dead Leaves, has been selected for the Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. The Finnish Film Foundation describes the film as a “gentle tragicomedy about two lonely people who meet by chance at night in Helsinki and try to find their first, only and last love”. It will be Kaurismäki's fifth film to compete for the most significant awards in Cannes.

Malla Hukkanen / Sputnik

Stratovarius heads to South America. The band, known for its power metal sound, has confirmed all dates for its Latin American tour in April and May. The tour follows the release of Survive, the band's first album in seven years, in autumn 2022, writes Bravewords.

Facebook / Stratovarius

Joonas Suotamo is back in the Star Wars universe. The Finnish actor, known for playing Chewbacca, will be seen as a Wookie Jedi in the upcoming TV series The Acolyte. Suotamo shared his excitement for the new opportunity in an interview with Collider.

Joonas Suotamo

Fantasy video game series Trine will return for its fifth installation this year. Titled A Clockwork Conspiracy, the game will be released in the summer and feature Amadeus the Wizard, Zoya the Thief, and Pontius the Knight jumping, fighting and puzzle-solving through 20 levels. Behind the game is Finnish developer Frozenbyte. Catch the trailer on Polygon.


Apocalyptica's Eicca Toppinen has promised “something totally different” in a video interview with the Rock Legazy webzine. As transcribed by Blabbermouth, Toppinen referred to the Finnish cello rockers' upcoming album, which is expected to be released in 2024. He also talked about how the modern release culture allows the band to experiment with many approaches in different formats simultaneously.

Facebook / Apocalyptica

Always wanted to know what extreme water sports feel like? You can now visit the Swiss Museum of Transport to find out. Red Bull and Finnish virtual and mixed reality company Varjo have combined forces to create an immersive exhibition for the museum's visitors. Instead of jumping off a cliff, they can dive into "a realistic mixed-reality water sports experience" using Varjo's XR-3 headsets.


Another way to experience extreme water sports is through film. Hold Your Breath: The Ice Dive is a documentary following Finnish free diver Johanna Nordblad's quest to break the world record for distance travelled under ice with one breath. The documentary has now been nominated for a BAFTA award and a Sports Emmy, the Finnish Embassy in the UK has revealed.

Elina Manninen www.elinamanninen.com

Ode in Black has announced a new album. The Finnish rock band will release the album, Into The Dark, later this year. “The songs sound bigger, better, and maybe also a bit heavier,” the band told Bravewords. The announcement coincides with the band signing with a new record label, Rockshots Records.

Facebook / Ode in Black

The 39-year-old Itis shopping centre in Helsinki is getting a roughly 55-million-euro refurbishment. The centre will add over 10 000 square meters of shopping space and a slew of new tenants, including Nike Live, a digital-driven shop from the sports apparel brand. The shop is set to open in November 2023, and the entire revamp is to be completed in spring 2024, writes Yahoo.


If you are new to Lordi's music, you have plenty of back catalogue to go through. The Finnish rockers released their 18th album, Screem Writers Guild, in late March. Blabbermouth has reviewed the album, which has a cinematic horror theme, and writes that it "showcases a newly adventurous Lordi, albeit still firmly devoted to big riffs and massive choruses". 

By: Eeva Haaramo