Force of habit

Kirsikka Saari/Elli Toivoniemi/Anna Paavilainen/Alli Haapasalo/Reetta Aalto/Jenni Toivoniemi/Miia Tervo, Finland, 2020

79 minutes, Finnish with English subtitles

Force of Habit deconstructs the invisible use of power towards women both in private lives and in society. Following eleven women, we experience their point of view and dive into the female gaze. Now we see it.


Alli Haapasalo is a Finnish film director and screenwriter. She received acclaim for writing and directing On Thin Ice, her thesis film for New York University’s famed film school Tisch School of the Arts. This mercenary story won several awards in the United States and was nominated for Prix Europa in 2012. Other selected filmography includes festival favorite comedy Ilona – The Girl Who Had No Problems, fantastical narrative The Appointment, documentary short Dear Mom, Love James and debut feature Love and Fury.

Anna Paavilainen is a director, writer and actor. Her breakthrough performance as an actor was in Zaida Bergroth’s The Good Son (2011) for which she was nominated for The Jussi Prize. After several theatre, film and TV roles, she moved to Sweden to study at Stockholms Filmskola. Play Rape, a monologue play written, directed and performed by Paavilainen, was received with generous reviews.

Elli Toivoniemi is the co-founder-owner and the head producer of Tuffi Films. She has produced over twenty films in all forms and lengths, among them the Academy Award nominated short fiction Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? Toivoniemi’s first short fiction film as a director, Role, had its world premiere in Locarno in 2014.

Jenni Toivoniemi (b. 1978) is a writer-director. Her short comedy The Date (2012), received awards at the Sundance Film Festival and at the Berlinale Generation 14+. Her other short films include The Committee (2016, with Gunhild Enger) and The Door (2017). Toivoniemi has written the feature film Korso (2014) together with Kirsikka Saari and their latest collaboration, children’s film Sihja, will premiere in 2020. Toivoniemi was also part of the writer-director team of Force of Habit (2019).

Kirsikka Saari (b. 1973) is a screenwriter and director living in Helsinki. In 2014, she was Oscar nominated as a screenwriter for the short film Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?.   Saari’s second feature film as a screenwriter, Stupid Young Heart (dir. Selma Vilhunen, 2018) was selected for Toronto and Berlinale. She is a co-founder of Tuffi Films.

Miia Tervo (b. 1980) is an award-winning writer and director from Finnish Lapland. Her short films have been screened and awarded around the world. The Little Snow Animal (2010) was EFA-nominated, and Clumsy Little Acts of Tenderness (2015) was also screened around the globe from Palms Springs to Oberhausen. Tervo’s other short films include Santra and the Talking Trees and The Seal. Aurora is her debut feature.