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PRODUCTION Finland

Selma Vilhunen finishes editing her new film, Stupid Young Heart

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- The acclaimed Finnish director, nominated for an Academy Award for her short Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?, has just wrapped the editing of her much-anticipated second fiction feature

Selma Vilhunen finishes editing her new film, Stupid Young Heart
Director Selma Vilhunen (© Janina Daria Witkowski)

The coming-of-age drama Stupid Young Heart by Selma Vilhunen already won the Work-in-Progress Prize at the Finnish Film Affair last September. Scripted by Kirsikka Saari, the co-owner of Vilhunen’s production company Tuffi Films, it tells the story of two teenagers whose new-found love is interrupted by an unplanned pregnancy. As they decide to keep the baby, Lenni (Jere Risteppä), a 15-year-old father-to-be, turns to the much older Janne (Ville Haapasalo) for support. But he gets more than he bargained for in his unlikely new mentor, who is part of the right-wing movement.

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“Men like Janne long for the ‘good old times’, when gender roles were clearly defined and Finland didn’t have as many immigrants,” explains Vilhunen. “This ‘nostalgic masculinity’ is something they all endorse. And Lenni, who is in such a vulnerable state, can’t help but be drawn to it.” Although not shying away from dramatic turnarounds, Vilhunen is adamant that hers is not a sad story. After all, her previous film, the Nordic Council Film Prize-nominated Little Wing [+see also:
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, also dealt with the subject of an absent father, as well as an extremely young protagonist. “It’s a love story between Lenni and Kiira (Rosa Honkonen). They can’t count on adults, but they are both creative and brave in finding ways to keep on going. There is something about teenagers that makes for great dramatic characters.”

While this time focusing on a boy, as the all-female Tuffi Films recently committed to creating an equal and respectful culture in the workplace, Vilhunen doesn’t hesitate to underline that there is only one thing to do. “We need more films about women and girls,” she stresses, fresh from her win at the Finnish Jussi Awards for the very much female-centred documentary Hobbyhorse Revolution [+see also:
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film profile
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. “Otherwise, we will continue to view them as some kind of oddity. Even though it has just started, also in Finland, I find the #MeToo conversation healthy and empowering. Film is an important medium, so we can be a big part of this movement. We just need more stories to reflect that.” 

Scheduled to be released in 2018, and produced by Elli Toivoniemi and Venla Hellstedt (Tuffi Films), the film was financed by the Finnish Film FoundationChurch Media FoundationCreative Europe Slate Fund, Finnish broadcasting company Yle, the Swedish Film Institute, the Netherlands Film Fund and Nordisk Film.

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