Finland’s Aamu Film Company will invest in Jenni Jauri’s new production company Silmu Films, Variety has found out exclusively.
Aamu, founded in 2001 and co-owned by Jussi Rantamäki and Emilia Haukka, has become a local arthouse powerhouse thanks to its festival-friendly slate, especially Juho Kuosmanen’s “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki” and Golden Globe-nominated “Compartment No. 6,” awarded the Grand Prix in Cannes.
“We had a good film with decent sales and we started to think about what we should do next,” Rantamäki said. “Aamu’s brand is simple and clear: we only work with a select few directors. We don’t want to change that; we don’t want to turn into a factory where you don’t know what is happening and with whom. So first we decided not to grow, and then realized we could invest in a new company instead.”
Apart from Kuosmanen, the company collaborates with the likes of Mikko Myllylahti (“The Woodcutter Story”) and Hannaleena Hauru (“Fucking with Nobody”), recently welcoming Tia Kouvo into its midst. Kouvo’s feature debut “Family Time” premiered in Berlin this week, with The Match Factory handling sales.
Under the deal, Aamu will own 30% of Silmu Films’ shares.
EAVE graduate Jauri previously worked at Tuffi Films. Her latest work includes short film “Goodbye Words” by Laura Rantanen, presented at Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam, and Mika Gustafson’s upcoming “Sisters.”
“Last fall, I was in a tricky situation,” she says. “One of our projects got cancelled and everyone realized that our contracts [won’t be renewed]. I thought that starting my own company would be too risky, but then I talked to Jussi, who suggested otherwise.”
Now, the goal is to focus on “female-driven, insightful and empowering content,” she says, such as Siiri Halko’s debut feature “The Well.”
“We worked with Siiri on a TV series [‘Zone B,’ co-directed by Kuosmanen and ‘The Gravedigger’s Wife’ helmer Khadar Ayderus Ahmed] as well. She is so talented and I really wanted to continue, but we just don’t have the capacity anymore. This is also how this collaboration will work,” says Rantamäki.
“I think that [at Aamu], she always felt Juho Kuosmanen’s shadow, so this is the perfect outcome for everyone involved. I choose to work with people and what I have admired about Aamu is their reputation – also among crew members. Having someone like that to ask for advice is very valuable,” adds Jauri.
But Aamu is still growing, says Rantamäki, despite sticking to the model that has served them well.
“We are widening our slate a bit. If in the past I was in these long-term relationships with four directors, in a couple of years we will have eight.”
“We produce the kind of content these directors want to make, without pushing them into different directions or genres. At the same time, if you look at last year’s box-office results in Finland, most films in its top 30 were based on IP. ‘Compartment’ was successful in many ways, but it was also based on IP. This is something we have to consider in the future.”
While Aamu will provide financial support, it will also facilitate Silmu’s entrance into the international market.
“I see it as a very concrete collaboration,” says Rantamäki.
“To me, that means that we can meet sales agents together and I can introduce Jenni to my collaborators. For years, I have been saying no to so many interesting directors and projects, because we made this decision to be very exclusive. Now, I can say they should call Silmu instead.”