×

Finnish Film Week Names Top Producer, Director Of The Year

Riina Hyytia, producer of "21 Ways To Ruin A Marriage," and Simo Halinen, helmer of "Open Up To Me," are two of the Finnish Film Week's award winners

HELSINKI– Riina Hyytia and Simo Halinen won producer and director of the year awards, respectively, at the 4th Finnish Film Week, the industry event which ran alongside Helsinki Intl. Film Festival and wrapped on Thursday.

Hyytia last produced Johanna Vuoksenmaa’s satirical comedy  “21 Ways to Ruin a Marriage,” a local B.O. hit. Halinen last helmed daring psychological drama “Open Up to Me.”

The week-long festival screened 24 local films, including Toronto-preming “Heart of a Lion,” by Dome Karukoski and Finland’s Oscar entry, “The Disciple” by Ulrika Bengts. The event attracted 4000 festgoers, over 40% up on last year. 

The Finnish Film Week also named Jenni Toivoniemi screenwriter of the year for her script of “The Date,” and Laura Birn and Liisi Tandefelt for their performance in “Purge.”

The Helsinki fest also hosted the second edition of The Finnish Film Affair, a professional showcase of Finnish titles, comprising completed films, as wellas projects in development and in post.

The Finnish Film Affair highlights included Aleksi Bardy-produced “They Have Escaped,” Amir Escandari’s docu “Wind Catchers,” Inari Niemi’s “Summertime” and Aku Louhimies’s “Whiteout.”

Popular on Variety

“Whiteout,” Aku Louhimies’ follow-up to critically-acclaimed “8-Ball,” is a Greenland-based action-adventure drama turning on the true story of the lone survivor of an artic expedition. Matti Halonen at Fisher King Prod. and Jouni Mutanen at Kongo Media are producing.

Louhimies, who was recently signed by Martin Spencer at Resolution, told Variety “Whiteout” will lense in English-language and will topline a U.S. thesp.

“I look forward to making my English-language debut to access the great U.S. talent pool and reach a wider audience,” said Louhimies, adding that the film could be set up as a co-production with either the U.K., Denmark, Canada or Germany.

A tender friendship dramedy, “Summertime” revolves around four 20-something girlfriends who travel to Hanko, a popular Finnish seaside resort, to work at a cafe and take a break from boysWhile a series of events – from romances to break-ups and disillusions — shake up their plans, the young women stick together.

“It’s truly a modern comedy about these four fun-seeking, yet wholesome girls in their mid-20’s who are at a turning point in their lives,” said producer Jesse Fryckman at Bronson Club. “We tried to capture what it’s like to be 25 years old today and we avoided the stereotypes: while they openly talk about sex, drink and party, they’re very loyal to each other and we empathize with them.”

One of Finland’s most ambitious and successful producers, Fryckman recently launched with Andrew D. Corkin of New-York-based Uncorked Prods the label From Start To Finnish to produce English-language films helmed by top local directors, notably Antti-Jussi Annila, Louhimies and Karukoski. The banner’s first project is Annila’s “What We Were” the prequel to Jim Mickle’s cannibal thriller “We Are What We Are.”

“Summertime” just finished lensing. Nordisk Film will release it across Scandinavia and Fryckman is now looking for a sales agent.

“Wind Catchers,” produced by Miia Haavisto at Helsinki-filmi, centers on the journey of four young men who live on the outskirts of Sao Paolo and are part of the Crypta gang, which is all about pixacao, a unique form of street art. Their lives shift when they get invited to present their work at the Berlin Biennale for contemporary art. The doc is in post and will be released domestically in December. Haavisto is searching for a sales company.

Repped by The Yellow Affair, “Escaped” is directed by Jukka-Pekka Valkeapaa and turns on a pair of lovers who embark on a road trip and live on the margins of society.

Pic is in post and will be released in Fall 2014. Aleksi Bardy at Helsinki-filmi is producing.

Other buzzed-about local films presented at the Finnish Film Affair included Samuli Valkama’s dramedy “No Thank You,” Petri Kotwica’s drama “Cross Your Heart,” toonpic “Moomins On The Riviera,” which is repped by Paris-based Indie Sales, and Akseli Tuomivaara’s basketball-themed coming-of-age drama “Korso.”

The three-day event gathered programmers from Tribeca, Palm Springs, Rotterdam, Locarno and Saint-Petersbourg fests; as well as about 25 sales reps, from Fortissimo, Wild Bunch, The Yellow Affair, Selective Films, TrustNordisk, Smile Ent., Hanway Films, LevelK and Reel Suspects, among others. 

More Film

  • Syd Mead Concept Design 1986 Aliens

    Syd Mead Designed the Future of Science Fiction Films

    The spinner police car in 1982’s “Blade Runner,” the light cycles of “Tron,” “futuristic Las Vegas” in “Blade Runner 2049” and the “USS Sulaco” in “Aliens” are indelible images of cinema, all from the imagination of the late Syd Mead, who died last month at the age of 86. You might not be aware of [...]

  • Freestyle Love Supreme

    Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda and 'Freestyle Love Supreme' in Exclusive Clip From Sundance Documentary

    Before turning “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” into musical phenomenons, Lin-Manuel Miranda could have been found on stage, spouting off-the-cuff rhymes with his improv group, “Freestyle Love Supreme.” After performing across the globe, the troupe — founded 15 years ago by Miranda, his frequent collaborator Thomas Kail and emcee Anthony Veneziale — made its Broadway [...]

  • Fernando Szew and Tomas Yankelevich

    Particular Crowd, MarVista Set 10-Plus Movies a Year Partnership (EXCLUSIVE)

    MIAMI — Particular Crowd, the big new film banner of Warner Media’s Turner Latin America, and MarVista Entertainment, one of the world’s biggest and ambitious of independent entertainment studios, have announced a multi-year production slate deal. As part of the deal, Particular Crowd and MarVista will target production of 10-plus films per year, focusing on elevated [...]

  • Andy Serkis

    BAFTA to Honor Andy Serkis

    The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is presenting Andy Serkis with its Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the 73rd EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony on Feb. 2 in London. The organization said Thursday that it was honoring the British actor, producer and director for his pioneering work on performance [...]

  • The Olympic Rings adorn an event

    Tokyo Olympics Brings Upheaval to Japan's Summer Events Schedule

    The Tokyo Olympics, to be held from July 24 to Aug. 9, and Paralympics, scheduled for Aug. 25 to Sept. 9, are affecting Japan’s big summer events. Everything from fireworks displays to music festivals have chosen to shift dates or even cancel altogether. The only film festival so far to announce a change in dates [...]

  • The Rescue

    Overseas Releases of Chinese Films to be Cancelled Following Virus Outbreak

    The overseas release of Chinese films in the next weeks is certain to be affected by the cancellation of theatrical outings in mainland China as a response to the rampant spread of the coronavirus. On Thursday, movie companies in China announced they would not go ahead with the release of seven major films at Chinese [...]

  • Boris JohnsonConservative Party rally on eve

    U.K. Parliament Passes Brexit Law, Leaving Film, TV Incentives Unaffected

    The U.K. Parliament on Wednesday evening passed legislation paving the way for the country to leave the European Union on Jan. 31, 2020. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. had “crossed the Brexit finish line” following passage of the Withdrawal Agreement, which will officially become law when it receives royal assent from Queen [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content