Baltic Circle Theatre Festival, Helsinki, Finland

Baltic Circle Theatre Festival is an international festival for contemporary theatre and performance organised annually in November in Helsinki. Next edition is the 20th and it takes place in Helsinki from 17 to 25 November 2023.

Remi Vesala:  showroom: worldly portals

this room is filled with tension between life and becoming
(they are rewriting a ghost story)

showroom is a metamorphic event concept, where different ways of watching and listening together are experimented with. The edition titled worldly portals is an evening consisting of a curated screening of moving-image works, short films and a live music performance by Niña Sombra.

List of short films shown during the evening

marlow magdalene: Velvet Rain (2019)
duration: approx. 7 min
language: English

The undead are watching you, Suzan. Run, Suzie, run. This conceptual zombie collage centers the eminent violence Black folk experience amidst white surveillance.

krissy mahan: When a Butch Dyke Dies (2014)
duration: 2 min 11 s
language: English

What happens to butch dykes when their health fails and/or they die? There are some things that need to be considered in advance (cocks, exes, underwear…). I made this as a way to make light of a near-death illness.

krissy mahan: My Crazy Boxers (2013)
duration: 8 min
language: English

Institutional violence is sometimes hard to name because it has been normalized as neutral. But people experiencing it know that living “between checkboxes” can be a life or death matter. The film re-enacts a conversation based on actual meetings with hospital staff while in a psychiatric hospital system.

The film contains instances of queer- and transphobic attitudes of the medical industry, invalidation from the medical community and refers to an suicide attempt. These may be distressing or triggering for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS: We Come With Nothing (2023)
duration: 30 min
language: English
subtitles: English

We Come With Nothing is a film reimagining the 2021 stagework of the same name. Inspired by ‘constellation novels’ and ghost stories, it conjures a shadow world of broken connections. What happens when a relationship ends in estrangement? What do we discover when we stare into this black hole?


Niña Sombra floods the spaces every time their machines start generating sounds taking every breath below the soil, blindfolded stepping forward the secret passages.

Remi Vesala is a freelance curator living in Helsinki. Vesala takes situations and places as starting points for curatorial work, aiming to make space for complexity, theory and emotions. Vesala shares an artistic practice together with visual artist Jade Kallio. Together they make experimental short films focusing on queer eco-fiction.

marlow magdalene is a filmmaker whose work explores the transgressive space of Black memory, social death, intercellular trauma, and the underbelly of the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. His work showcases a gothic, low-fi lens into a cinematic universe composed through dance, harrowing portraits of Black depression, and lyrical camera movement.

krissy mahan is a self-taught filmmaker who centers marginalized people, such as people with disabilities, working class and queer people.

ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS is a Queer art collective. Chris Gylee and Aslan have been living and making artwork together for more than a decade. Their practice is multidisciplinary with a strong emphasis on writing, film and live performance and involves elements of publication, installation, and curation.

In collaboration with Mad House Helsinki.

Baltic Circle

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