Company to finance English language version of Finnish feature

W2 Media has acquired English language remake rights to Arto Halonen’s Finnish feature “Princess,” based on the life story of cabaret dancer Anna Lappalainen.

The announcement was made Sunday at the American Film Market by W2 Media CEO John Flock.

W2 Media will fully finance the English language remake and will also handle worldwide sales for the new English language version. W2’s Julie Sultan, president of international sales & distribution, brought the project to W2.

The original “Princess” is an Art Films production AFP OY and stars Finnish actors Katja Kuttner, Samuli Edelmann, Krista Kosonen and Peter Franzen. It’s fiction film debut of documentary filmmaker Arto Halonen, director of “Shadow of the Holy Book,” “Pavlov’s Dogs” and “The Magnetic Man.”

Story centers on Lappalainen’s redemptive struggle with insanity and is set in 1945, when Finland’s Kellokoski Psychiatric Hospital accepts the former cabaret dancer. Diagnosed with manic depression and schizophrenia, she refuses to answer to her real name, insisting instead that she is a princess and a member of the British royal family — generating a surprisingly positive effect on the exhausted hospital staff, the quirky patients, and even the local villagers.

In 1995, her memory was honored by a memorial monument in the Kellokoski hospital grounds designed by sculptor Rauni Liukko.

The original screenplay for “Princess” was written by Pirjo Toikka, Arto Halonen and Paavo Westerberg. Pic was released in Finland in September 2010 and led the Finnish box office for many weeks.

It’s also played at multiple film festivals, winning awards at the Cape Winelands Film Festival, the Festroia International Film Festival in Portugal, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia and the Goteborg International Film Festival.

W2 Media recently announced it’s co-financing and handling foreign sales on biopic “The Drummer,” starring Aaron Eckhart as Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, and “The Theatre Bizarre 2,” which W2 is co-financing, selling, and distributing theatrically in the U.S.

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