What kind of traineeship can a screenwriter do?

Story: Ulpu-Maria Lehtinen
It’s quite common that a screenwriting student needs to be a little imaginative to find a trainee’s job from the own field of study. This spring the situation was better than usually, because Claes Olsson’s drama documentary project Näsilinna 1918 was looking for screenwriting assistants from Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

The challenge was accepted by four students: Hanna Lappalainen, who studies Film and Television and Juha Karvanen, Ville Räisänen and Ulpu-Maria Lehtinen, who study in MA in Film Screenwriting programme.

In December they started their job: First step was to gather more knowledge of the dramatic and tragic events of 1918, the time when the city of Tampere was the biggest battlefield of the Finnish civil war.
Because the goal of this document was to tell realistically about one battle of the war, the fight over the Näsilinna castle, it was an important job for the team to find out accurate events of this fight.

The most important sources to find information were the old interviews from 1920’s of the men who belong to captain Melin’s company, which is followed in the documentary. These interviews bring up many individual, tragic points of views of the battle. There were 500 pages of these interviews written in Swedish, so reading them and choosing the interesting characters for the documentary film was one of the main goals of the screenwriter trainees.

The trainees also looked for news from old papers, interviewed scholars of history, searched old photos and visited archives and museums. Finding out what really happened all those years ago was not always easy, because information was sometimes contradictory.

All in all, this screenwriting traineeship taught a lot about writing a historical documentary and also about searching and evaluating historical information. Now the work of the screenwriting team is over, and Olsson with the writer Robert Alftan work on the final script. The shooting of the documentary film will take place in Tampere this spring.

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