Heikinpaiva screenings at Finnish American Heritage Center

SISU is honored to screen in the largest Finnish American community in the USA in Hancock Michigan for the Finnish American Reporters Heikinpaiva midwinter festival.

The screenings are a part of Finlandia University Nordic Film Series and will take place January 14th at the Finnish American Heritage Center at 2pm and 6pm.

Filmmaker Marko Albrecht will attend and lead a q/a about SISU and the documentary at 2pm and 6pm screenings.

The name of the festival comes serendipitously as Heikki Kyllianen is the focus and heart of the SISU documentary and Albrechts uncle.  Albrecht also participated in hockey camp at Michigan Tech and visited Hancock with his family in 1993.

Kiitos to Jim Kurtti and the Finnish American Reporter.

#SISUfilm Finlandia University



Filmmaker Marko Albrecht began SISU documentary in 2011 honor the legacy of his late mother Päivi, his Finnish-American family and the Finnish mindset SISU.  

Just after starting SISU documentary in 2011 Paivi's surviving brother Heikki informed the family he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told he had 6 months to live.

SISU is a documentary that profiles family as they conquer tragedy to triumph.




In 1999, the Finnish Theme Committee of the City of Hancock created a new Finnish-American celebration - Heikinpäivä. The celebration’s themes are taken from Finnish folk saying associated with the name day for Heikki (Henrik’s day — 19 January). By far, the Finns make up the largest ethnic group of Michigan's Copper Country. In Hancock approximately 40 percent of the population claimed Finnish ancestry in the most recent federal census.

Finnish speaking residents of the Copper Country still recall the proverbs their parents and grandparents brought with them from Finland. In particular, the weather proverbs connected with St. Henrik's Day have been retained in the Hancock area, where huge amounts of winter snow are the norm. “Karhu kylkeänsä kääntää” (The bear rolls onto his other side), “Heikki heinät jakaa” (Heikki divides the hay) and ultimately, “Talven selkä poikki” (winter’s back is broken). The bear - an ancient Finnish and Saame symbol -- figures well in the celebration.


The Finnish American Reporter is a monthly, English language journal, established in 1986, featuring articles and news reports of interest to Finns across North America, in Finland and around the world. It is the largest and most widely-circulated newspaper for Finns in North America.

The Finnish American Reporter has no political or denominational affiliation and welcomes well-written articles representing any aspect of Finnish culture, politics and religion. The Finnish American Reporter provides a national network for announcements of Finnish events in the United States and Canada.
Monthly features in the Finnish American Reporter include: regular columnists, genealogy, history, sports and more. Current news reports from Finland and the North America keep the Finnish community connected, despite great distances.


Since its grand opening in 1990, Finlandia University's Finnish American Heritage Center has become a community focal point and a national center, offering a multitude of exhibits, lectures, plays, musical programs and community events each year. The building is a popular stop for tourists.

Finnish immigrants dreamed of an institution that would provide religious education, perpetuate the Finnish language and preserve their experience in North America. Suomi College (now Finlandia University) built in 1896, is the realization of that dream, and the only remaining North American institution of higher learning founded by Finnish Americans.


Finlandia University


Founded in 1896. Finlandia University is a private, not-for-profit, co-educational liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is located in the town of Hancock, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Finlandia University is a learning community dedicated to academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service. With its dedicated faculty and diverse student body, the university fosters intellectual challenge, open dialogue, service to others, and an entrepreneurial response to a world characterized by change.  Finlandia is the only private college in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula. With a proud Lutheran and Finnish heritage, the university takes pride in being the only institution of higher learning in North America founded by Finns.  Finlandia's campus is on the Keweenaw Peninsula, the northernmost point of land in Michigan. Natural beauty, mining and immigrant history, a thriving arts community, and year-round outdoor recreation opportunities are plentiful in this region known as the Copper Country.  Finlandia students enjoy miles of public beaches, more than 25 local waterfalls, and easy access to Lake Superior, the largest body of fresh water in the world. Adventurous spirits find inspiration and enjoyment on miles of local hiking and biking trails, at two national and four state parks, and on acres of pristine, natural forest land.


Essential Creative