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Watch Bridge Culture Club discussion of ‘Pelkie’ documentary

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Director Michael Loukinen joined Bridge Michigan to discuss his documentary film about community and ethnic identity in a small town of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
  • On Wednesday, Bridge Michigan hosted its latest Culture Club, a  discussion of the documentary film ‘Pelkie’
  • Director Michael Loukinen spoke about the film and answered readers’ questions 
  • Watch a recording of the event 

Bridge Culture Club, Bridge Michigan’s bimonthly Michigan-focused media discussion series, resumed Wednesday with a discussion of “Pelkie: 100 Years of Finnishness in Michigan’s North Woods” with director Michael Loukinen, creator of the documentary film production company Up North Films.


Nearly 60 participants joined Bridge and Loukinen for a discussion of the documentary.

In “Pelkie,” three generations of current and former residents weave attachments to people, places and events into a portrait that blends community and ethnic identity in a small town of Michigan's Upper Peninsula called Pelkie. Much has changed in the idyllic dairy farming community, and although traces of Finnish ancestry remain, Pelkie is now a more ethnically diverse community.

During the event, Loukinen discussed the film’s development, how it is similar and different from his other documentary films, his Finnish heritage and experiences as a boy on a Finnish-American farm in the Upper Peninsula, how the natural resources of the Upper Peninsula influenced the lives of those in Pelkie and nearby communities in the time of the logging and copper mining boom, current life in Pelkie and much more.

Watch the video here:

Bridge Michigan hosts bimonthly discussions on books with ties to Michigan. Previous sessions have featured "The World According to Fannie Davis," by Bridgett M. Davis, “Arc of Justice,” by Kevin Boyle, “The Women of the Copper Country,” by Mary Doria Russell, “Black Bottom Saints,” by Alice Randall, “Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret,” by Steve Luxenberg, “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” by Dan Egan, “Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley, “Wounds” by Razel Jones and Daniel Abbott, “The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls” by Anissa Gray, “The Other Me” by Sarah Zachrich Jeng, “The Dockporter” by Dave McVeigh and Jim Bolone, “You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair is in Braids” by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang “The King of Confidence” by Miles Harvey, “What the Eyes Don’t See” by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, “American Salvage” by Bonnie Jo Campbell, “We Kept Our Towns Going” by Phyllis Michael Wong, the film “Bad Axe,” directed by David Siev, “Once We Were Here” by Christopher Cosmos, “August Snow” by Stephen Mack Jones, “Tin Camp Road” by Ellen Airgood and “Dearborn” by Ghassan Zeineddine.


Our next Culture Club event is in August. Watch for an announcement of our selection in July!

Nearly 400 Bridge members received a free streaming copy of “Pelkie” so they could take part in our June Culture Club. If you would like free electronic copies of future selections, join Bridge Club today.

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