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FESTIVALS Finland

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The Helsinki Film Festival takes more than 60,000 admissions

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- Naoko Ogigami’s Close-Knit won the Audience Award, while Selma Vilhunen’s upcoming Stupid Young Heart was named Most Promising Film

The Helsinki Film Festival takes more than 60,000 admissions
Stupid Young Heart – Jere Ristseppä in one of the lead roles (© Iwa Iduozee/Tuffi Films)

The 30th Helsinki International Film Festival, which ended yesterday (24 September), exceeded last year’s figure of 60,000 visitors for the 11-day programme of 175 features and shorts – and one-fifth of the 500 screenings were sold out.

“It is a pleasure to see that after 30 years, the passion and enthusiasm of our audience to see the weirdest and most eclectic movies have not disappeared. There are always new generations of movie fans who are excited about what is happening in the world of cinema,” said the festival’s artistic director, Pekka Lanerva.

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Japanese director Naoko Ogigami’s Close-Knit received the Audience Award, and other festival favourites included the opening and closing films (Italian director Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund’s The Square [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ruben Östlund
film profile
]
), Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, British filmmaker Sally Potter’s The Party [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: Sally Potter
film profile
]
, Greek director Yorgos LanthimosThe Killing of a Sacred Deer [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Yorgos Lanthimos
film profile
]
, US filmmaker John Carroll Lynch’s Lucky, Chinese director Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Swedish filmmaker Amanda Kernell’s Sámi Blood [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Amanda Kernell
interview: Lars Lindstrom
film profile
]
, and Finnish directors J-P Passi and Jukka Kärkkäinen’s The Punk Voyage.

Among the international festival guests were prize-winning Ogigami, head of the Cannes International Film Festival Thierry Frémaux (introducing his film Lumière! L’aventure commence [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), US director Jon Nguyen presenting his David Lynch: The Art Life, and Danish actor Pilou Asbæk, who received the first Nordic Flair Award from the festival and its industry side, the Finnish Film Affair. He was honoured for his brave role choices and his internationally renowned career – besides local films, Asbæk has performed in the US television series Game of Thrones, French director Luc Besson’s Lucy [+see also:
trailer
making of
film profile
]
(2014) and British filmmaker Rupert SandersGhost in the Shell (2017).

With a schedule of 50 Finnish films and works in progress, the Finnish Film Affair named Finnish director Selma Vilhunen’s upcoming Stupid Young Heart – which has just started filming – the Most Promising Film from among ten projects in development. “It stood out on many levels,” said the jury; “the subject matter felt edgy, relevant and focused on the dilemma of making correct choices in a complex and contemporary world, both personally and morally.” Scripted by Kirsikka Saari, and produced by Elli Toivoniemi and Venla Hellstedt for Tuffi Films, the drama follows suburban teenagers who unexpectedly have to deal with the grown-up problems of pregnancy, while extreme right-wing ideas enter their multi-cultural neighbourhood. Newcomers Jere Ristseppä and Rosa Honkonen star alongside Ville Haapasalo, Pihla Viitala and Katja Küttner in the Finnish-Swedish-Dutch co-production.

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