Wolf and woman are dancing on blue backgroud. Drawing styleThe multi award winner and internationally acclaimed animation artist Heta Jäälinoja has created the festival identity for TAFF 2024. The festival poster and trailer presents an odd couple in a whirlwind of a passionate dance.

TAFF’s festival director Annika Dahlsten interviewed Heta.

A: Heta, where did you get the idea for the visual identity?

H: I thought it would be fun to draw dancing. I was listening to music at the studio and I rediscovered the album called “Kimaltavia unelmia” by Ville Leinonen. It’s shamelessly romantic and grandiose with pathos, diamond boots and all… It delighted me a lot while working with the identity. Probably it even inspired me. The appearance of the woman who’s reading is inspired by the pantsuit style of Meg Ryan in ”When Harry Met Sally”.

A: I admire your fluent and skillfully drawn line. How would you describe your style?

H: I like lively drawings and that’s the style I aim for. The sketchy drawing style is very forgiving when drawing the inbetweens for animation and it suits me well because I’m pretty lazy.

A: You mostly make drawn films, why is that so?

H: I make drawn animations because tinkering with puppets isn’t really my thing. Nevertheless I’m still fascinated by frame-by-frame masochism.

A: In addition to animated films, you do illustrations. How do these jobs differ from each other? How is the work process different?

H: This TAFF identity is my first illustration job in years and it’s nice that I was free to do whatever I wanted. On the other hand, making this took forever because I couldn’t clearly figure out how to transfer an analogue image and text into a digital format. Animation workflow comes more from muscle memory.

A: Your latest film “Nun or Never!” was awarded as the audience’s favourite at TAFF last year. It has been touring around the world and has won 24 awards and nominations. That’s quite an achievement! What does success feel like?

H: The success gives me confidence that I can continue in my chosen path as an animation filmmaker. When I start a new project, the gained arrogance unfortunately disappears fast and I find myself facing the same insecurity as always when making a film. This is why I try to sunbathe in the glow of the previous film’s fame as long as possible. I’m also a bit disappointed that the glorious success hasn’t made me rich yet. I still have to gather money for living from here and there.

A: What’s your relationship with TAFF?

H: TAFF means a warm-hearted place for animators to meet and well curated high level screenings to me. I truly hope that more and more audiences from in- and outside of the animation industry find their way to TAFF and to enjoy the warm August days in Turku.

A: Send greetings to TAFF guests!

H: Enjoy the films and the company of each other!


Heta Jäälinoja (b.1989) studied animation at Turku Arts Academy and finished her MA at Estonian Academy of Arts in 2016. Her graduation film “Penelope” won multiple awards in festivals, for example best national short film at Tampere Film Festival 2017. The film was also nominated for best short film in the Finnish film awards 2018.

Heta’s film “Nun or Never!” (2023, Böhle Studios) is an internationally awarded animation that has won e.g. in Annecy, both the audience award and the France TV Prize. The 11-minute film tells the story of a nun whose underground discovery breaks the harmony of the monastery and disturbs the main character’s peace of mind.

Heta likes romantic comedies and salty liquorice ice cream.

Animaatio-ohjaaja Heta Jäälinoja seisoo vihreän pensaan edessä
Heta Jäälinoja. Photo: Erik Liiv