The Finnish Film Affair shows faith in The Twin
by Marta Bałaga
- Taneli Mustonen’s much-anticipated horror and Tania Moilanen’s documentary The Mission were crowned the winners at Finland’s biggest film-industry event
The industry sidebar of the Helsinki Film Festival Love & Anarchy, the Finnish Film Affair, showcased nearly 50 Finnish films during its hybrid ninth edition – as well as the Nordic titles Superposition, Knocking, Quake and Ninjababy, for the first time in the event’s history. As stated by the organisers, the event welcomed nearly 400 film-industry professionals from 27 different countries, this time tuning in online due to the pandemic.
The Twin, produced by Don Films and pitched by Taneli Mustonen and his producer and co-writer Aleksi Hyvärinen, was given the Best Fiction Award. “This elevated horror piece also speaks to a bigger thematic with its exploration of grief, giving a unique twist to the genre,” observed jurors Sarah Lutton, Sophie Green and Cineuropa’s own Vassilis Economou. “The Twin is a stand-out in terms of global potential, and a film that would also travel well across different platforms. The striking clip effectively conveyed the film’s atmosphere.”
“It’s really great to see some people. Alive,” deadpanned the head of the International Department, Jaana Puskala, when presenting the award on Thursday in Helsinki, during an intimate, social-distanced gathering. “It was a weird experience to pitch without an audience, and as Finns, we loved it,” said Hyvärinen.
Some love was also shown for The Mission, taking home the Best Documentary Award. The story, closing in on young Mormon missionaries, produced by Danish Bear Productions, impressed the jury. “With the USA continuing to close its borders, it portrays an intimate attempt to retain a dialogue with the outside world, even if that dialogue is undertaken by evangelising Mormons within an ostensibly secular Finland. Director Tania Moilanen brings a fresh energy to the table, and we are excited to see what's to come,” it was stated. Sponsored by the Finnish Film Foundation and AVEK, the awards were valued at €3,000, to be spent on international marketing.
Other notable projects included Aku Louhimies’ latest, Lapland War, Teemu Nikki’s A Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic, recently awarded at Haugesund, and The Trans Syrian Express, to be helmed by School of Seduction [+see also:
interview: Alina Rudnitskaya
film profile]’s Alina Rudnitskaya. The event’s Nordic Flair training initiative, supported by the Nordisk Film & TV Fond, focused on emerging Nordic sales agents and distributors, with renowned foley artist Heikki Kossi – involved in anything from the critics’ darling Berberian Sound Studio [+see also:
film profile] to Ad Astra – chosen as the recipient of this year’s Nordic Flair Award. “There’s been a clear demand for a co-Nordic training initiative for these trades, and the feedback we’ve received has been very encouraging. We are looking forward to hearing the ideas that our participants brainstorm together and would love to continue this focus at future Finnish Film Affairs as well,” summed up Maria Pirkkalainen, head of the Finnish Film Affair and Nordic Flair (see the interview).
The Finnish Film Affair wraps on 25 September.
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