Miikka Leskinen

MIIKKA LESKINEN: FILMMAKER & FILM EDITOR


An award-winning filmmaker, and a film editor on the Emmy Award winning, Oscar and Bafta-nominated feature documentary Virunga.

Originally from Finland, I graduated from the National Film and Television School (UK) with an MA in Editing. I’m also an alumnus of EAVE, the Berlinale Talent Campus and the London Film Festival Think-Shoot-Distribute scheme.


My film editor work spans across fiction and documentary, and the films have won nearly 100 international awards.

The films have been in official competition at the Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival, broadcast on the BBC, HBO, Channel 4, Film4, ITV, Canal+, Al Jazeera, Star, YLE Finland and RUV. Apart from English, I have edited films and documentaries in several other languages including Finnish, Icelandic, French, Kinyarwanda, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Hindi and Swahili.

My editing on the award-winning hybrid feature The Nine Muses (dir. John Akomfrah OBE) was highly praised by the critics. David Parkinson from the Empire Magazine wrote: “The mix of spoken word and music is as rich as editor Miikka Leskinen’s visual blend, which often dazzles with its audacity”. Nana Yaa Mensah from the New Statesman echoed his sentiment: “The Nine Muses is superbly edited by Miikka Leskinen”.

Notable film editor projects include the Emmy Award winning, Academy Award & Bafta-nominated Netflix feature documentary, Virunga, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and distributed by Netflix. The film has proven to be a hit with both audiences and critics alike with Alan Scherstuhl from Village Voice stating: “This is one of the year’s most compelling and important films.

I have recently completed the post-production on the feature-length psychological thriller documentary, Out of Thin Air, which delves into the biggest crime mystery in the history of Iceland. The film’s world premiere is in May 2017 at the prestigious Hot Docs Documentary Festival in Toronto, followed by broadcasts on the BBC Storyville and RUV, and a worldwide release on Netflix later in the summer.

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My directorial debut short film, Firewood, was nominated for a Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. This was followed by Small-Time Revolutionary, which featured a voice cameo from Ian McKellen. The film played at nearly 40 international film festivals and was broadcast on Finnish national TV as well as released on DVD in Germany and the German-speaking territories. Most recently I shot The Witching Hour, which was supported by the Finnish Film Foundation and Yle. The film received its national premiere at the 27th Helsinki International Film Festival, international premiere at the 38th Grenoble Short Film Festival, won a Rising Star Award at the Canada International Film Festival and will also be broadcast by the Finnish national broadcaster Yle in 2017.

I’m currently developing my directorial debut feature, Dear Darkness, together with my co-writer Line Langebek and producer Alex Thiele at 65 Wilding Films.

PERSONAL AWARDS

THE WITCHING HOUR
  • Winner: Rising Star Award – Canada International Film Festival 2016
SMALL-TIME REVOLUTIONARY
  • Film of the Month – October 2013 / Side by Side Film Festival
  • Nominated: Best Short Film at Rushes Soho Shorts 2010
FIREWOOD
  • Nominated: Crystal Bear at Berlin International Film Festival 2008
FRIENDS FOREVER
  • Winner: Post-Graduate Drama Award at Royal Television Society Awards 2008 (shared with Marcal Fores, Eduard Grau, Natalie Ann Holt)
HOME
  • Nominated: Best Editing at LA 168 Project Competition 2008
DOVE: MOSS FOLK
  • Winner: Best Editing at Kodak Student Commercials 2007

OTHER AWARDS

JOHNNO’S DEAD
  • Special Mention – Cardiff International Animation Festival 2017
  • Winner: Best British Animation – London International Animation Festival 2016
GENERATION RIGHT
  • Winner: Best Documentary – London Classic Film Festival 2017
  • Winner: Gold Award – Oregon Film Awards 2015
  • Winner: IMPACT Docs Awards – Best of Show & Award of Excellence 2015
NAZI BOOTS
  • Winner: Best Cinematography – Underwire Film Festival 2015
THE HEALTH FOUNDATION: FLO
  • Winner: Best Film of the Year – Haelo Film Awards 2015
  • Winner: Best Commission – Haelo Film Awards 2015
DON’T BLAME US COS WE’RE FAMOUS
  • Winner: Best Short Film – East End Film Festival 2015
WE ARE FIRE
  • Vimeo Staff Pick – December 2014
GORILLAS IN THE CROSSFIRE
  • New York Times – Best of Op Docs 2014
VIRUNGA
  • Over 50 international awards including:
  • Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary 2015
  • Bafta-nominated for Best Documentary 2015
  • Winner: 2016 Doc Impact Awards
  • Winner: Best Cinema Documentary – The Grierson Awards 2015
  • Winner: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography, also nominated for Outstanding Documentary 2015
  • Winner: Peabody Award 2015
  • Winner: Best Documentary – Environmental Media Association Awards 2015
  • Winner: Best Cinematography – Cinema Eye Honors 2015
  • Winner: Best Feature Documentary – DOXA Documentary Film Festival 2014
  • Winner: Emerging International Filmmaker Award – Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival 2014
  • Winner: Best Documentary – Little Rock Film Festival 2014
  • Winner: Best Documentary – Docville International Documentary Festival 2014
  • Winner: Best Documentary – Guanajuato International Film Festival 2014
  • Winner: Best Documentary – Camden International Film Festival 2014
  • Winner: Best International Documentary – Cinemambiente 2014
  • Winner: Best Documentary, Student Jury – Cinemambiente 2014
  • Winner: Best Documentary – Kino Okus 2014
  • Winner: People’s Choice Award – Filmambiente 2014
  • Winner: Special Jury Prize – Filmambiente 2014
  • Winner: Audience Award – GreenFilmFest 2014
  • Winner: Act Now! Award – Crested Butte Film Festival 2014
  • Winner: Black Pearl Award – Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2014
  • Winner: Zelda Penzel Award – Hamptons International Film Festival 2014
  • Winner: Rabinowitz Grant for Social Justice – Hamptons International Film Festival 2014
  • Winner: Innovation Award – Tribeca Film Festival 2014
  • Nominated: Best Cinema Documentary – Grierson Award 2015
  • Nominated: Best Documentary – Directors Guild of America Awards 2015
  • Nominated: Best Documentary – Independent Spirit Awards 2015
  • Nominated: Best Documentary – Producers Guild of America Awards 2015
  • Nominated: Best Documentary, Best Song – Satellite Awards 2015
  • Nominated: Best Documentary, Best Production, Best Cinematography – Cinema Eye Honors Awards 2015
  • Nominated: Best Documentary – British Independent Film Awards 2014
  • Nominated: Best Documentary – Tribeca Film Festival 2014
THE NINE MUSES
  • Special Mention – Sheffield Innovation Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2011
  • 2nd Prize – Muhr Asia/Africa Documentary Award – Dubai Int. Film Festival 2010
  • Nominated: Orizzonti Prize at Venice Film Festival 2010
MORNING ECHO
  • Winner: LA Bafta Award of Excellence at Mill Valley International Film Festival 2009
  • Winner: Best Actress Award for Kerry Fox at London Short Film Festival 2010
TRANSIT
  • Winner: Best Short Film – Gryphon Award at Giffoni Film Festival 2010
  • Winner: Best Short Film at Be Film Festival, New York 2010
  • Winner: Best Short Film at Pentedattilo Film Festival 2010
  • Winner: Best Short Film at “I’ve Seen Films” Milan Film Festival 2010
  • Special Jury Mention at Porto International Short Film Festival 2009
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD
  • Shortlisted for Oscar Academy Award – Best Short Animation 2008
  • Winner: Bruce Corwin Award – Best Short Animation at Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2008
  • Winner: Best Animation Award at the Tenerife International Film Festival 2008
  • 2nd Prize in the Student Animation category at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival 2008
  • Silver Hugo Award at the 43rd Chicago International Film Festival 2007
  • Winner: Best Animation at the 25th Rhode Island International Film Festival 2007
  • Winner: Special Jury Prize at Bologna European Festival of Film Schools 2007
  • Nominated: Best Post-Graduate Animation at Royal Television Society Awards 2008
  • Nominated: Golden Reel Awards 2008
  • Nominated: Cinefondation Prize at Cannes Film Festival 2007
  • Nominated: Iris Short Film Prize 2007
FRIENDS FOREVER
  • Winner: Best Post-Graduate Drama at Royal Television Society Awards 2008
  • Winner: Future Filmmaker Award at Palm Springs International Short Film Festival 2008
  • Winner: Best Student Cinematography at Palm Springs International Short Film Festival 2008
  • 2nd Prize Student Fiction at Palm Springs International Short Film Festival 2008
  • Winner: Best Director Award at Ourense Film Festival 2008
  • Winner: Canal+ Award at Premiers Plans Film Festival 2008
  • Winner: Best Short Film Award at Dinard Film Festival 2007
  • Nominated: Silver Lion at Venice Film Festival 2007
WE ARE ALL RWANDANS
  • Winner: Best World Short at Phoenix Film Festival 2008
  • Honorary Mention at LA Pan-African Film Festival 2008
THE PORTRAIT
  • Award of Excellence at Accolade Competition California 2008
  • Nominated: Best Visuals at Limelight Film & Arts Awards 2010
  • Nominated: Best Short Film at Galway International Film Festival 2008
HOME
  • Winner: Best Director at LA 168 Project Competition 2008
  • Winner: Best Supporting Actress at LA 168 Project Competition 2008
DOVE: MOSS FOLK
  • Winner: Best Sound Design and Production Design at Kodak Student Commercials 2007
LIVING IN SILENCE
  • Special Jury Mention Award at Signals International Film Festival 2006

DIRECTING CREDITS

FEATURES

DEAR DARKNESS
  • In Development
  • Fiction / Nordic Noir
  • Writers: Line Langebek & Miikka Leskinen
  • Producer: Alex Thiele / 65 Wilding Films

SHORTS

THE WITCHING HOUR
  • 2014 / Fiction / Drama / Comedy / Crime
  • 15 min / 65 Wilding Films / Finnish Film Foundation / Yle Finland / West-Finland Film Commission
  • Starring: Niina Koponen, Pyry Nikkilä, Kaisa Mattila
  • Winner: Rising Star Award at Canada International Film Festival 2016
  • Helsinki International Film Festival, Grenoble Short Film Festival, Helsinki Short Film Festival, Ottawa International Film Festival, Dublin International Short Film Festival, Canada International Film Festival
  • To be broadcast on Yle (Finnish National Broadcaster)
ALL IN GOOD TIME
  • 2011 / Fiction / Drama / Mystery
  • 12 min / 65 Wilding Films / Finnish Film Foundation
  • Starring: Nadine Lewington, Celyn Jones, Elizabeth Elvin
  • London Short Film Festival, Belgrade Film Festival
SMALL-TIME REVOLUTIONARY
  • 2010 / Fiction / Drama / History
  • 18 min / 65 Wilding Films / YLE Finland / Finnish Film Foundation
  • Starring: Alexander Barnes, Carol Holt, John Albasiny
  • Featuring: Ian McKellen, Michael Cashman
  • London Short Film Festival, Britspotting Film Festival, London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival, Los Angeles
    Outfest, Rushes Soho Shorts, San Francisco Frameline Film Festival, Helsinki International Short Film Festival, Chicago Reeling Film Festival
  • Broadcast on YLE Finland
FIREWOOD
  • 2007 / Fiction / Drama
  • 13 min / National Film + Television School
  • Starring: Amy Tweed, Ashley George
  • Berlin Film Festival, Drama Film Festival

EDITING CREDITS

FEATURES

OUT OF THIN AIR
  • 2017 / Documentary Feature
  • Dir: Dylan Howitt / 85 min / Netflix / BBC / RUV / Mosaic Films / Saga Film
  • Hot Docs Documentary Festival
THE LAST ANIMALS
  • 2016 / Documentary Feature
  • Dir: Kate Brooks / 85 min / The Last Animals Ltd / Atlas Films
  • Tribeca Film Festival, Hot Docs Documentary Festival
GENERATION RIGHT
  • 2015 / Documentary
  • Dir: Michelle Coomber / 43 min / Medina Films / Sheffield DocFest
  • Winner of 3 international documentary awards
VIRUNGA
  • 2014 / Documentary Feature
  • Dir: Orlando Von Einsiedel / 98 min / Netflix / Bertha Foundation / BRITDOC / Grain Media / Violet Films / Appian Way
  • Nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA award, Winner of over 20 international film awards
  • Festival Selections: Tribeca Film Festival, HotDocs, Edinburgh Int Film Festival, Sheffield DocFest
  • Cinema releases in the USA and UK in 2014, global release on Netflix, November 2014
  • Variety: “With enough action, pathos, suspense, venal villains, stalwart heroes and endangered gorillas for a dozen fiction films […] extraordinary.
  • NY Times: “A searing documentary set in Congo.
  • LA Times: “A work of heart-wrenching tenderness and heart-stopping suspense.
  • Hollywood Reporter: “Powerful.
  • Indiewire: “Stirring.
SEVEN STREETS, TWO MARKETS AND A WEDDING
  • 2014 / Archive Feature
  • Dir: Deborah Salter / 66 min / Film London / BFI / London Screen Archives
  • Cinema release in the UK in 2014
  • The Independent: “Evocative and strangely moving.” ★★★★
  • The Financial Times: “Lovely, melancholy, dizzying.” ★★★★
  • Camden Review: “Haunting, beautiful and poignant.” ★★★★
  • The Sunday Times: “Riveting.” ★★★★
  • Total Film: ★★★★
A CLASS OF THEIR OWN
  • 2013 / Documentary Feature
  • Dir: Haryun Kim / 85 min / Summer Lotus Films / Al Jazeera English
THE FOLD (Director’s Cut)
  • 2013 / Fiction / Drama
  • Dir: John Jencks / 86 min / Electric Shadow Company
  • Starring: Catherine McCormack, Dakota Blue Richards
THE NINE MUSES
  • 2010 / Fiction / Sci-Fi / Documentary
  • Dir: John Akomfrah OBE / 93 min / Smoking Dogs Films / BBC / UKFC / Screen West
  • Sundance Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, London Film Festival
  • Theatrical releases in the United States and United Kingdom
MNEMOSYNE
  • 2010 / Documentary / History
  • Dir: John Akomfrah / 45 min / Smoking Dogs Films / UK Film Council / BBC / Screen West
  • “Mnemosyne: a mind-blowing film that merges documentary and artistic essay in a way that astonishes, confounds and moves.” Ken Russell, The Times 15 Jan 2010
MY BROKEN SAPERA HEART
  • 2009 / Documentary
  • Dir: Rachel Seely / 95 min / Unlimitedreamcompany

TELEVISION

LAWLESS OCEANS
  • 2016 / Documentary Series
  • 6 x 50 min / National Geographic / Wall to Wall Media
WHAT DO ARTISTS DO ALL DAY: DEREK BOSHIER
  • 2015 / Documentary
  • Dir: Zara Hayes / 30 min / PEEK Films / BBC
  • Broadcast on BBC4
PLAYING BALL
  • 2015 / Fiction / Comedy
  • Dir: Rachna Suri / 15 min / BBC
  • Original BBC Drama Short for iPlayer, premiere in July 2015
  • Pick of the Day – The Sunday Times
CHINESE LESSONS
  • 2013 / Documentary
  • Dir: Haryun Kim / 47 min / Summer Lotus Films / Al Jazeera English
SEE ME
  • 2011 / Fiction / Drama
  • Dir: Catherine Shepherd / 19 min / Quark Films / Film4
  • Starring: Olivia Colman, Sophie Wu
3MW: VOICES
  • 2008 / Drama
  • Dir: Hope Dickson Leach / 4 x 3 min / Quark Films / Channel 4

SHORTS

JOHNNO’S DEAD
  • 2016 / Fiction / Live Action / Animation
  • Dir: Chris Shepherd / 8 min / ARTE France / CNC / Autour de Minuit / Polkadot
  • Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, London International Animation Festival, London Short Film Festival
NAZI BOOTS
  • 2015 / Fiction / Drama
  • Dir: Debs Paterson / 6 min / Catsiye / Hands Up Films
  • Made for the International Holocaust Memorial Day
A RESPONSIBLE GIRL
  • 2014 / Fiction / Drama
  • Dir: John Jencks / 12 min / Electric Shadow Company
CORVIDAE
  • 2014 / Fiction / Horror
  • Dir: Tom De Ville / 12 min / Wolfheart Productions / Cat & Weasel
  • Starring: Maisie Williams
DON’T BLAME US COS WE’RE FAMOUS
  • 2013 / Fiction / Drama / Comedy
  • Dir: Amelia Hashemi / 13 min / Parkville Pictures
  • Starring: Paul Brannigan, Juliet Oldfield
OUR LAD
  • 2013 / Fiction / Drama
  • Dir: Rachna Suri / 12 min / Peek Films / Channel 4
  • Starring: Shazad Latif, Aqib Khan
TREE WITHOUT A ROOT
  • 2013 / Fiction / Drama
  • Dir: Rouzie Hassanova / 15 min / Hassanova Films
  • Starring: Vassil Mihajlov, Stefan A. Shterev
KILL YOUR IDOLS
  • 2012 / Fiction / Drama / Comedy
  • Dir: Leevi Lemmetty / 15 min / Ink & Light / Finnish Film Foundation
  • Starring: Lauren Byrne, Brendan O’Rourke
SOLITUDE
  • 2011 / Fiction / Mystery / Fantasy / Horror
  • Dir: Timothy Lems / 14 min
  • Starring: Julian Shaw, Anna Black
MORNING ECHO
  • 2010 / Fiction / Drama / Comedy
  • Dir: Hope Dickson Leach / 15 min / Keel Films / UK Film Council
  • Starring: Kerry Fox, Peter Sullivan
PAPA’S BOY
  • 2010 / 3D Animation / Comedy
  • Dir: Leevi Lemmetty / 3 min / Ink & Light / Breakthru Films / YLE Finland
IT’S A SERENDIPITOUS THING
  • 2010 / Fiction / Drama / Mystery
  • Dir: Cassius Matthias / 10 min / Zoom Films
  • Starring: Anna Bondareva, Ryan Kiggell, Annette Badland
TRANSIT
  • 2009 / Fiction / Drama
  • Dir: Chris Roche / 7 min / Pogo Films
  • Starring: John Bell, William Nadylam
JUNCTION
  • 2009 / Fiction / Drama
  • Dir: Afolabi Kuti / 11 min / Broedmachine
  • Starring: Wayne Kaplan, Louise Lee, Justin Marosa
SUPRAMAN AND THE SCHOOL OF NECESSITY
  • 2008 / Fiction / Comedy
  • Dir: Debs Paterson / 15 min / Footprint Films
  • Starring: Surya, H.V. Prakash, Meese Anjanappa
THE PORTRAIT
  • 2008 / Fiction / Comedy
  • Dir: Rouzie Hassanova / 13 min / Hassanova Films
  • Starring: Jonathan Ryan, Catherine Steadman
THE CLAP DUDES
  • 2008 / Animation / Drama / Music
  • Dir: Tibor Banoczki / 22 min / Domestic Infelicity
  • Annecy Animation Festival
WE ARE ALL RWANDANS
  • 2008 / Fiction / Drama / Biopic
  • Dir: Debs Paterson / 25 min / Catsiye
  • Starring: Ayuub Kasaga Mago
FRIENDS FOREVER
  • 2007 / Fiction / Drama / Mystery / Fantasy
  • Dir: Marcal Fores / 23 min / National Film + Television School
  • Starring: Sean Hart, Sean Bourke, Talulah Riley, Emma Hamilton
  • Venice Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, London Film Festival, Palm Springs International Shorts Fest
  • Broadcast on Canal+
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD
  • 2007 / Animation / Comedy / Fantasy
  • Dir: Joe Tucker / 12 min / National Film + Television School
  • Featuring: Steve Coogan, Ian McKellen, Julia Davis
  • Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, Palm Springs International Shorts Fest
  • Broadcast on Channel 4
THE END FOR BEGINNERS
  • 2007 / Documentary
  • Dir: David Lale / 22 min / National Film + Television School
  • Edinburgh Film Festival

OTHER WORK

HOLLY JOHNSON: IN AND OUT OF LOVE
  • 2014 / Music Video
  • Dir: Chris Shepherd / 4 min / Th1ng
TURIN BRAKES: STALKER
  • 2007 / Music Video
  • Dir: Ben Hilton / 4 min / Quark Films / Virgin Music
  • Starring: Natalie Press, Christine Bottomley
TRACEY THORN: RAISE THE ROOF
  • 2007 / Music Video
  • Dir: Eduard Grau / 4 min / Quark Films / EMI Music
REMI NICOLE: FED UP
  • 2007 / Music Video
  • Dir: Joe Tucker / 4 min / JokeDisco / Island Records
HOT CLUB DE PARIS: CLOCKWORK TOY
  • 2007 / Music Video
  • Dir: Joe Tucker / 4 min / JokeDisco / Moshi Moshi Records

the nine muses john akomfrah

MEDIA MENTIONS

“The mix of spoken word and music is as rich as editor Miikka Leskinen’s visual blend, which often dazzles with its audacity.”

David Parkinson, Empire Magazine

“The Nine Muses is superbly edited by Miikka Leskinen.”

Nana Yaa Mensah, New Statesman

“Miikka Leskinen’s film editing is an outstanding achievement in the assembly and timing of an immensely complicated visual narrative.”

John Park, Fringe Report

“Poetically edited together by Miikka Leskinen to capture intriguing aspects of the immigrant experience.”

This Week in New York

“Miikka Leskinen’s editing is simply perfect.”

Linda Cooke, Rhythm Circus

“If there were shares on offer in [Miikka] Leskinen… I’d be on to my broker with the order: buy.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian


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