PEKKA

On November 7, 2007, 18-year-old Pekka shot and killed eight people at a high school in Jokela, a peaceful Finnish commuter town just north of Helsinki. Conversations with classmates, teachers and Pekka’s parents lead into to a haunting reconstruction of the oppressive circumstances that led to this tragic act. Starting with what happened on the day of the shooting, the film outlines Pekka’s lonely existence. We hear how a friendly, sunny child with a deep interest in history grew up to be an unstable young adult with nothing to hold on to. Influences from his sheltered upbringing, serious bullying and exclusion at school and a possible Autistic Spectrum Disorder had stacked up against him. It becomes clear in the film that nobody really had the full story on this tormented young man. As one of his online friends puts it: “Even if you are close friends with someone you only get bits and pieces of their life, so you don’t get the bigger picture of what they are really dealing with.”
Pekka left a large number YouTube videos which reveal his destructive, pessimistic world view. These films, the images of the sleepy commuter village, interviews with the people who were directly affected as well as experts – these all add up to the story of Pekka. Like pieces of a puzzle they work together to show us a larger context, giving us a picture, retrospectively, of who Pekka was and what drove him to his dreadful deed. It is a context that is not necessarily unique to Pekka’s life in Jokela.

Credits

Director Alexander Oey
Producers Femke Wolting & Bruno Felix
Photography Jackó van ‘t Hof
Sound Rasmus Bruun
Film editor Chris van Oers
Research Alviina Alametsä
Dramaturgist Fabie Hulsebos
Music Alexander Oey
Sound design and mixing Mark Glynne
Sound editing Anthony Gray
Color grading Gerhard ter Beek
Online editing Jouke Dubel
Graphic design Christiaan de Rooij
Translation Alviina Alametsä & Ville Miettinen
Image research Lieke van den Ouwelant & Jelte Zonneveld
Production Manager Tamara Vuurmans
Production Assistants Marlijn Koers & Laura Hisken
Producer Finland Janne Niskala & Vaski Filmi
Line producers Janneke van de Kerkhof & Ilja Roomans
Publicity Yaniv Wolf
Commissioning editor BOS Laetitia Schoofs
Production BOS Joyce Drosterij & Monique Rutgers
Commissioning editor YLE Iikka Vehkalahti

This film was made with the support of Mediafonds, CoBO, the Netherlands Film Production Incentive of the Netherlands Film Fund

A Submarine production, in co-production with BOS-Buddhist Broadcasting Foundation
In association with Vaski Filmi and YLE

© 2014 Submarine / Buddhist Broadcasting Foundation
All Rights Reserved

Stills