Up North Films

Tradition Bearers

(1983)
47 minutes.

A documentary about Finnish American history and folk art expressed through the lives and repertoires of four folk artists living in the western Great Lakes Region. Blending live oral history interviews with historical photos, the film tells a story of Finnish immigration, the life of the miner, lumberjack, and homesteader. The film features an American-born lumberjack, an accordionist and story teller, and an immigrant weaver and wood sculptor. One of the films subjects, Art Moilanen, is the Finnish Accordionist. In 1990, he received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Fellowship recognizes “the recipients' artistic excellence and supports their continuing contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage.”1 The folk culture presented in this film is the cement holding together the Finnish-American community.

Dr. Patricia Slade Lander, Brooklyn College, CUNY, summarized the scholarly and pedagogical importance of both Finnish American Lives and Tradition Bearers: “These two films can be used effectively together or separately for courses in cultural anthropology, sociology, American history, and, more specifically, for courses on ethnicity, rural sociology, social history (the immigrant’s experience in America), and language and culture (especially bilingualism). Finnish American Lives could also be used for discussions of sex roles and intergenerational relations, while Tradition Bearers is appropriate for discussions of folk artisans. Both films would also be enjoyed by general audiences and by linguists and student of Finnish language and culture.”

Price: $20