Best known by his pseudonym Tom of Finland, Laaksonen drew thousands of fantasy-filled, homoerotic images of muscular men. The images played a significant role in the transnational gay liberation movement.
“Tom of Finland” will have its North American premiere at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival, after world premiering at the Goteborg Film Festival in February. It’s also earned almost $1 million at the Finnish box office.
The deal was negotiated between Vanessa Saal for Protagonist Pictures and Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber.
“Touko Laaksonen dared to draw and give life to his most daring and transgressive fantasies, and by doing so, inspired an entire generation of LGBT people to also live and desire freely,” Lorber said. “Dome Karukoski’s film captures the man, as well as his milieu, in an incredibly cinematic and powerful way, so we’re very proud to be bringing ‘Tom of Finland’ to North American audiences this year.”
“Tom of Finland” marks Karukoski’s sixth feature. He also directed “The Grump” (2014), “Heart of a Lion” (2013), and “Lapland Odyssey” (2010).
The film was produced by Finnish production outfit Helsinki Film, with a screenplay by Aleksi Bardy. The cast includes Pekka Strang, Lauri Tilkanen, Jessica Grabowsky, Taisto Oksanen, Seumas Sargent, Jakob Oftebro, and Niklas Hogner.
Aleksi Bardy, Miia Haavisto, and Annika Sucksdorff of Helsinki Film produced 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 in Germany were co-producers, in collaboration with Mike Downey and Sam Taylor of Film and Music Entertainment UK.