Finnish American Lives | Folkstreams

Finnish American Lives (1982)

About the Film

A portrait of traditional Finnish American culture in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, highlighting the fragile community of memory connecting one with parents and grandparents. A 92-year-old grandfather asked his son and Finnish immigrant daughter-in-law to live on the farm and care for him. The barn will fall any day; the grandchildren are growing restless. This three-generation farm family works, celebrates, reflects and grieves together. FINNISH AMERICAN LIVES explores the meaning of family, ethnic history, aging, and intergenerational bonds. Contrasts between the immigrant elder, his American-born son, and the partially assimilated grandchildren illustrate continuity and change in the "sanua belt" of the Lake Superior Region. The film was completed in 1982.


  • Red Ribbon (2nd), American Film Festival, New York City, June 1983. CINE Golden Eagle


For licensing, film rights and permissions, contact Michael Loukinen, the distributor Northern Michigan University, Up North Films, or Folkstreams.

Film Details

  • Film by: Michael Loukinen
  • Produced by: Juanita Anderson, Deborah Dickson, Anne Belle
  • Cinematographer: Kathleen Laughlin, Tom Davenport, Miroslav Janek
  • Sound: Will Peecher, Roger Schmitz, Harve Nye.
  • Editor: Deborah Dickson, Miroslav Janek, Anne Belle
  • Other Credits: <i>Consultants</i>: Steven Blixt, Jon Saari, Lenonard Heldreth, Michael Karni, Melvin Holli, John Voelker, John Watanen, Kenrick Thompson, Tom Davenport, Yvonne Lockwood, Elaine Foster.
  • Funding: Michigan Council for the Humanities, Michigan Council for the Arts, Suomi Seura (Finland Society), Knights and Ladies of Kaleva, U.S. Department of Labor, Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company, Lutheran Brotherhood
  • Original Format: Film: 16mm
  • © 1982, Northern Michigan University
  • 45mins, Color
  • Categories:
    CustomsEthnic & Immigrant CulturesWorkAgricultureFamily