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INDUSTRY Finland

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Tom of Finland and Finnish punk rock take centre stage in Helsinki

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- Dome Karukoski and Jukka Kärkkäinen shared the €3,000 Pitch Award for works in progress and works in development at the Finnish Film Affair

Tom of Finland and Finnish punk rock take centre stage in Helsinki
Tom of Finland by Dome Karukoski

Finnish director Dome Karukoski’s seventh feature, Tom of Finland, and Jukka Kärkkäinen and JP Passi’s documentary Post Punk Disorder shared the €3,000 Pitch Award when local filmmakers presented 11 films in production or post-production, and ten projects in development were presented on day two of the Finnish Film Affair in Helsinki. 

After six box-office successes, most recently his 2014 comedy The Grump [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, which sold more than 500,000 domestic tickets, Karukoski is currently filming a portrait of Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991), also known as Tom of Finland and world-famous for his homoerotic drawings. A decorated officer during World War II, Laaksonen returned home to work in advertising; although he was gay, he felt pressured to date a woman, but at night he would take refuge in his erotic art of muscular men, free of inhibitions. Encouraged by his close friends, he submitted the artwork to US magazine Physique Pictorial but insisted he be credited as “Tom of Finland”.

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“Laaksonen had the strength to stand up against the world and fight for the right to be who he really was: a homosexual man with homosexual fantasies,” Karukoski said of the film being produced by Aleksi Bardy and Annika Sucksdorff, for Helsinki-filmi, with Swedish, Danish and German partners. “Sometimes it only takes one person to change the world, even with something as deceivingly simple as a set of drawing tools. This is a portrait of a renowned artist, but also a touching love story that is worth sharing with the world.” The €5 million production will be completed in November, ready for a February 2017 release. The UK’s Protagonist Pictures handles the world sales.

Post Punk Disorder is the sequel to Kärkkäinen and Passi’s The Punk Syndrome [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(2012), again following Pertti Kurikka’s Name Day, a band consisting of four intellectually disabled men, which aspired to become Europe’s number-one punk-rock act. Part two depicts the final years of the band, as the leader is about to retire and the group members want to explore new territory. The punks qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna and meet former winner Conchita Wurst, but they don’t get into the final.

“We are also quite intellectually challenged, so we had to do the film a second time,” explained Kärkkäinen at the pitch. The €640,000 production will be ready in August 2017 and is scheduled for release the following month; it is being staged by Helsinki’s Mouka Filmi, set up in 2006 by Kärkkäinen and Finnish producer Sami Jahnukainen, with Denmark’s Magic Hour Films, Norway’s Indie Film, Sweden’s Auto Images and Swedish regional film centre Film i Skåne.

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