Katariina Lillqvist is a Finnish-born director and scriptwriter who lives and works in Czech Republic and also in Sweden. She is the chairperson of film co-operative Camera Cagliostro (FI/CZ), curator of the Mikulandska Art Recidency in Prague and one of the key developers of free cultural centrum Villihanhi / Wild Goose in the historical viceragy of Pyhäjoki, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland. Wild Goose is also offering residency opportunies for visiting artists. If you are interested in residency periods in Prague or in Pyhäjoki, please see the Residencies-page for more info and reservations!
Lillqvist has been working over 30 years with Czech animation artists, creating 20 stop-motion animations and also documents, radio features and installations. Her works have won numerous prizes and awards from major film festivals world-wide, including the Silver Bear of Berlin Film Festival, Special Prize of Annecy Animation Festival and Master of Animation-award from Lleida Animation Festival.
Beside of her artistic activities, she has been active in the Roma civil right movement since the Eighties. She cooperates with organizations like the Museum of Romani Culture in Brno / CZ, Romedia-foundation in Hungary, RomArchive of Berlin and currently she is also developing the Museum of Finnish Roma Culture in Lapinlahti Cultural Center in Helsinki, together with Finnish Roma singer Hilja Grönfors.
Between 2024 and 2025, I am working with an interesting co-production project together with Czech and Swedish colleagues under the wings of our Film Cooperative Cagliostro. It will be a documentary puppet animation series about the great migration of Roma to Sweden in the 1970s. The main characters of the film are young orphan siblings, Saga and Feija Fors. The story begins in Juuka in 1973 when Saga, who makes her living as a lace crocheter and busker, is arrested in the market due to false rumours of pickpocketing. Then Feija, who stayed alone in their makeshift home, embarks on a long and dangerous journey to Stockholm.
Before the animated series started, it was preceded by a long pre-production phase. I collected old photos, visited many suburbs in Sweden and finally I conducted together with Nordic Culture Point over 30 interviews, in which older Finnish Roma people spoke about their memories about moving to Sweden.
The project will be the first animation spoken in Roma language in Finland and it will be accompanied by a cartoon novel in collaboration with the Liminka Art School. For many students there, the project has been their first contact with Roma culture, and the results are great. Here are a few pictures from the cartoon project.
Both the animation and the cartoon are also linked to the Oulu2026 Capital of Culture project, in which I am involved as curator of the Nordic Roma Museum.