Finnish Film Affair aims to strengthen local talent
by Birgit Heidsiek
- The fourth edition of the Finnish event will give the Best Pitch Award to a work-in-progress presentation
A record number of 70 film professionals including sales agents, distributors and programmers from all over Europe and the USA are due to attend the fourth edition of the Finnish Film Affair (FFA), which takes place in Helsinki from 22-24 September. The industry event is part of the Helsinki International Film Festival (HIFF), also known as Love & Anarchy. Among the festival highlights is the Finnish Oscar entry The Fencer [+see also:
interview: Ivo Felt
film profile], which writer-director Klaus Härö pitched at the Finnish Film Affair last year. “It’s great to see former Finnish Film Affair titles doing so well,” comments HIFF executive director Sara Norberg. “After three successful editions, the Finnish Film Affair has clearly established itself internationally as the place to discover new local talent.”
Finnish films that have gained an international reputation include Concrete Night [+see also:
film profile] by Pirjo Honksalo, which earned DoP Peter Flinckenberg the Spotlight Award from the American Society of Cinematographers, as well as Jalmari Helander’s action-adventure Big Game [+see also:
film profile], starring Samuel L Jackson. At this year’s FFA, US experts including Ryan Wickers, director of development of US production at EuropaCorp, ICM agent Peter Trinh, Sundance Film Festival senior programmer Hussain Currimbhoy and Robert Burke from TenOne Entertainment will discuss what it takes for local filmmakers to take on the US market.
Among the 19 work-in-progress projects at the FFA are six works by female filmmakers. One of them is Selma Vilhunen, who received an Academy Award nomination for her short film Do I Have To Take Care of Everything? in 2014. “At a time when the discussion about equal funding opportunities for female directors has become a hot topic, we are especially proud to be presenting so many female-driven projects,” says Norberg.
The Project Development Clinic will feature ten projects by first- and second-time filmmakers. For the first time, one of the work-in-progress presentations will be given the Best Pitch Award, worth €3,000. “Our aim is to strengthen that local talent with our panels, the Project Development Clinic and now the new award for the best pitch.”