Charades (“Petrov’s Flu,” “Diamantino”) has come on board “Hit Big”, a dark humor-laced crime film set in Spain and directed by critically acclaimed Finnish filmmaker Jukka-Pekka Valkeapaa (“They Have Escaped”).
Currently in post-production, the film is being presented at the work-in-progress sidebar of Göteborg Festival’s Nordic Film Market. On the ground in Goteborg is Daniel Kuitunen, who is producing the movie through his Helsinki-based banner Komeetta.
“Hit Big” revolves around Marjaleena, a 60-year-old, boozed-up former beauty pageant star who left Finland for Spain’s Costa del Sol where she runs Bar Belle, once a popular spot for Finnish tourists, with her handyman Mikko. One day, they hear that Marjaleena’s husband, Worm, will be released after 20 years in prison and is planning a dream life with his cell-mate lover thanks to the stashed proceeds of a major heist. Feeling betrayed, Marjaleena sets off to get her share of the millions.
The colorful cast is headlined by Johannes Holopainen (“Heavy Trip”), Outi Mäenpää (“Beyond”), Ilkka Heiskanen (“Hiljaisuus”) and Pääru Oja, who was named an EFP Shooting Star at the Berlinale in 2020, among others.
“Hit Big” marks Valkeapaa’s follow-up to “Dogs Don’t Wear Pants,” which world premiered at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2019. The movie swept six Jussi Awards, Finland’s equivalent to the Oscars, as well as best film at Sitges.
“We were totally stunned by ‘Dogs Don’t Wear Pants’ and we are thrilled to work on this new project, which takes the form of an authentic dark humor thriller in which J-P Valkeapää reveals once again his gift for imagining one-of-a-kind scenarios and characters,” said Charades. The company is handling international sales on the movie and will be launching it at Berlin’s European Film Market.
Speaking to Variety, Kuitunen said “Valkeapaa is known as an auteur and his films often have existential themes, so it was really interesting to work with him on ‘Hit Big’ which is plot-driven and filled with dark humor and action.”
The producer described the film as being in the same vein as Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown.” “It’s a crime movie led by a female character and with lots of dark humor.” Ultimately, “Hit Big” also has deeper themes in line with Kuitunen’s previous work. “Underneath the action and the laughter, the film also shows a woman looking back at her life choices and taking the reins,” he said.
Valkeapaa’s debut feature “The Visitor” was developed at Cannes’ Residence program and premiered in Venice, while his second feature “They Have Escaped” played at both Venice and Toronto. “They Have Escaped” went on to win four Jussi Awards.
“Hit Big” was co-produced by Evelin Penttilä at Estonian company Stellar Film. Thomas Kristensen executive produced. It will be released by Scandinavian Film Distribution in the Fall.