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MFA Film

Kaya Pakaslahti

Photography: Pete Aarre-Ahtio

My Mother’s Island


Length: 20:58 min.  


On a journey through the Finnish archipelago, we follow Hanna through a breakup on a cruise ship, finding a dead seal and reuniting with her mother, in a meditation on belonging and national identity. 

Short synopsis  

‘My mother’s island’ is an exploration of auto-fictive storytelling and the poetic possibilities of visual silence in feminist filmmaking. We follow Hanna from a breakup on ferry between Finland and Sweden to a reunion with her mother in the Finnish archipelago. Through these intimate relationships, the film poses questions about belonging, separation and national identity.   


Kaya Pakaslahti is a director and screenwriter working in fiction and hybrid film. Holding a bachelor degree in screenwriting and directing for film and television from Arcada, Helsinki and a MFA in Film from HDK-Valand (2022) she is pursuing an artistic research that concerns internet aesthetics in relation to identity technologies. She is also interested in bringing ideas of autofiction into her cinematic language. Alongside with her artistic work, Kaya works as a screenwriter in writer’s rooms for TV- series at the public broadcasting company in Finland, YLE.  

Artist statement  

Kaya Pakaslahti uses the filmic medium to explore power dynamics through multiple gazes. In her work at HDK-Valand she has pursued an interest in the visceral possibilities of cinematic storytelling and the aesthetics and poetic possibilities of ‘visual silence’, in relation to feminist filmmaking and in creating intimacy on screen. The portrayal of female bodies in Kaya’s work, questions the way we look.