Aleksi Bardy wrote the screenplay, which tells the life story of Touko Laaksonen, a man who would become known around the world by his nom de guerre “Tom of Finland.”
The cast of the film will be announced at a Feb. 14 news conference during the Berlin Film Festival.
The story centers on Laaksonen returning home to Helsinki a hero after a harrowing and eventful military service in World War II. He is persecuted for his homosexuality, trapped in secret affairs and pressured to get married to a woman. He discovers refuge and liberation in his art, specializing in homoerotic drawings of muscular men in sexually uninhibited situations, develops a worldwide following and helps fan the flames of a gay revolution in the U.S.
“This is the story of a man ahead of his time, bravely standing up against a world virulently against his right to be who he was – a homosexual man with homosexual fantasies,” stated Karukoski. “The story shows how literally one person can create change in the world, even with something as simple as an artist’s tools.”
Bardy, Miia Haavisto and Annika Sucksdorff of Helsinki Film are producing the film. Gunnar Carlsson of Anagram Väst in Sweden, Miriam Nørgaard of Fridthjof Film in Denmark and Ingvar Thordarson and Sophie Mahlo of Neutrinos Productions Germany will serve as co-producers, in collaboration with Mike Downey and Sam Taylor of Film and Music Entertainment U.K.
Karukoski’s credits include “The Grump” (2014), “Heart of a Lion” (2013) and “Lapland Odyssey” (2010).