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FUNDING Finland

The Finnish Film Foundation awards nearly €6.4 million to new projects

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- 13 feature-length fiction films, 10 documentaries, 8 shorts and a TV series got production support from the Finnish Film Foundation last month

The Finnish Film Foundation awards nearly €6.4 million to new projects
Director Mikko Kouki

“Our aim is always to ensure a sufficient variety of content and to provide a high-quality domestic alternative for every audience group in Finland. This set of projects also includes several films with great international potential, from both established filmmakers and newcomers,” says Reetta Hautamäki, head of Communications at the Finnish Film Foundation.

This explains why four feature debuts made the cut when the foundation decided to award nearly €6.4 million to new projects last month: Miia Tervo’s Aurora; the seventh instalment in the massively popular children’s series about Ricky the Rapper, to be helmed by Markus LehmusruusuMikko Kouki’s Fingerpori, a comedy based on the popular comic strip by Pertti Jarla; and Maria K Mononen’s Diva of Finland, previously known as Bleeding Eyes and described by the director as a “dark comedy about the envy between teenage girls”. “I wanted to tell a story about the weakness of envy, how we fall into it and how to take responsibility for our actions regardless of our surroundings,” she admitted.

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The Finnish Film Foundation also decided to support Maria’s Children by Zaida Bergroth, dedicated to a leader of a religious sect, Maria Åkerblom. “Maria’s Children has two interesting female leads and an intense story with beauty on the surface but horror underneath. As a director, I couldn’t be more inspired,” Bergroth told Cineuropa. “I feel my strengths can be of use here. I really like working with actors, and I love character-driven stories, especially the ones gravitating towards suspense and even horror. I played with the same balance in The Good Son [+see also:
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 and my previous film, Miami [+see also:
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, but with this story, I feel I can take it even further.”

Interestingly enough, Bergroth’s film, set in the 1920s, is not the only biopic in the line-up. Tuukka Temonen’s Trainer will focus on businessman Jari Sarasvuo, the founder of Trainer’s House and a former host of the local version of The ApprenticeTeppo Airaksinen’s Ragged Life of Juice Leskinen will offer insights into the life of one of the most prominent Finnish singer-songwriters of the late 20th century, who passed away in 2006, while Aleksi Mäkelä’s Olen suomalainen – named after “I Am a Finn”, his famous Finnish cover of Toto Cutugno’s “L’Italiano” – will tell the story of Kari Tapio. The films will be produced by Komeetta, OptipariYellow Film & TV and Solar Films Inc, respectively.  

Minority co-productions include the feature documentary End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock by Shannon KringEn del av mitt hjärta by Edward af Sillén and Goodbye Soviet Union by Lauri Randla, whereas the TV series Hour of the Wolf – A Radical Way to Find a Better You Thanks to Divorce will be directed by Juha Lankinen, who clearly has a flair for colourful titles after his short film Only Pussies Screw. “I fell in love with the characters – they were so relatable and completely different from what I had seen before,” he said. “This story deals with heavy things, but with comedic elements. Hopefully it will make the viewers realise that sometimes you should just laugh at your problems and not take yourself too seriously. As Charlie Chaplin said, life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long shot.” 

The full list of the projects can be found here.

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