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The Finnish Film Foundation says Carpe Fucking Diem and awards €6.2 million in funding


- Six new feature films, 11 documentaries, four shorts and two TV series received production support from the Finnish Film Foundation in June

The Finnish Film Foundation says Carpe Fucking Diem and awards €6.2 million in funding
Actress Saara Pakkasvirta on the set of Iron Ladies by Pamela Tola (© Pamela Tola)

The Finnish Film Foundation has given out over €6.2 million in production support to six new feature films, including Hamy Ramezan’s long-awaited debut, The Oasis of Now, produced by Jussi Rantamäki for Aamu (€500,000); Saara Saarela’s Memory of Water, produced by Misha Jaari and Mark Lwoff for Bufo (€775,000); and Ville Jankeri’s Forest Giant (€700,000).

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“My principle is that I only produce stories that deserve to be told,” says Rimbo Salomaa, who will produce Forest Giant with Jukka Helle and Markus Selin for Solar Films. “After reading Miika Nousiainen’s best-selling novel, I wanted to make a movie right away. Our challenge is to keep in the humour and the lightness as the drama gets heavier and heavier. But it’s a challenge that I’m happy and eager to take on.”

“Just like the main character, I also moved away with my parents to a small town in the late 1980s, when Finland was hit by recession,” adds director Ville Jankeri, who previously worked with Salomaa on his debut feature, Sixpack [+see also:
film profile
. “I remember how everybody wanted to move away right after graduation. In this story, our main character has a chance to relive that because his job is to downsize a factory where his best friend is still working.”

Another supported project will see acclaimed actress Pamela Tola flex her directorial muscles once again, this time backed by Aleksi Bardy, of Helsinki-filmi. In Iron Ladies (€700,000), she will focus on older characters, including seventy-something Inkeri, who is convinced that she accidentally killed her nagging husband. “I have always wondered why there are no stories about older women. They are usually just people’s grandmas or mums. But here’s the thing: everyone gets old. That’s why I think the themes of the film will appeal to every single person,” Tola explains to Cineuropa. She promises, just like in her previous title Swingers, to bring along some much-needed humour. “Every good comedy stems from tragedy. In so many cases, laughter and tears go hand in hand, and if a serious theme is portrayed in a serious way, it can easily become self-important and pompous. Laughter amidst sadness is a relief,” she adds. “I’m not making slapstick comedy built on punchlines, but trying to portray real human beings who are trying to survive in extreme situations, all the while giving some hope to the viewers. It’s never too late to change the course of your life if you feel like it.”

With the short-film front represented by Zaida Bergroth’s Kristal, Vuokko Kunttu and Virva Kunttu’s Moskova Forever, Jani Ruscica’s No Dot on the I and Juho Fossi’s Sounds of Fear, the foundation also decided to spice things up with the animation Divine Consultants – The Beginning, directed and produced by Juha Fiilin, of Fiilin Good Films (€35,000), and the brilliantly titled series Carpe Fucking Diem (€65,000), directed by Jenni Toivoniemi and Kirsikka Saari. Produced by Elli Toivoniemi and Venla Hellstedt, of Tuffi Films, it constitutes the fifth supported project for the company, along with the minority co-production Lost Childhood by David Wachsmann, Marja Pyykkö’s children’s film Sihja (€799,000) and the ensemble comedy Games People Play (€800,000) by Jenni Toivoniemi, which shows grown-up friends acting like teenagers again. “Slapstick-Chekovian is a word I made up to jokingly describe the genre,” says director Toivoniemi. “In Carpe Fucking Diem, our focus is on our ridiculous efforts to live life to the fullest. These two different women, both in some kind of crisis, dedicate themselves to having the best year possible while trying to break free from the expectations of society. But nobody knows the right way to live, so that’s how we want to show them: as incoherent, ridiculous, strong, weak, impossible, loveable and amazing. In short, as human beings.”

With the documentary Here Be Monsters, directed by Anna Antsalo (€80,000), rounding off Tuffi Films’ impressive slate, Toivoniemi reflects on the company’s growing appeal. “When we established it nine years ago with Elli Toivoniemi, Kirsikka Saari and Selma Vilhunen, we shared a vision of a brave company with international ambitions. At first, maybe naively, we didn’t even think that us being women would be an issue, but then we just embraced it,” she says, referring to its all-female team. “I believe our strength lies in our supportive collective and our in-house writer-directors. We take our work very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously – at least not all the time. It has taken years of development to have all of these productions start happening now, and with producer Venla Hellstedt joining the company in 2015, the results are really pouring in. I think we’ll keep on challenging ourselves, conquering new genres and collaborating with new people.”

Other documentaries chosen to receive backing include Rahul Jain’s Delhi – It Is Not My Fault, produced by Iikka Vehkalahti for IV Films (€160,000); Susanna Helke’s Carers, produced by Timo Korhonen for Road Movies (€136,000); Katja Niemi’s Harmageddon olohuoneessa, produced by Oskar Forstén for franckforstén (€30,000); Kelet by Susani Mahadura, backed by Baba Lybeck for Baba Lybeck Productions (€45,000); and Maoism the Finnish Way, staged by Jouko Aaltonen for Illume (€82,000). Reporter by Ari Matikainen will be produced by Liisa Karpo for napafilms (€150,000) and Suvi West’s Sámi – Assimination by Janne Niskala for Vaski Filmi (€90,000). Annika Grof will direct Shhhh with the help of Jenny Tervakari, of Tarasow Films (€80,000), while To Teach a Bird to Fly will see Minna Rainio and Mark Roberts team up with Maria Gullsten, of Flatlight Creative (€37,000). Finally, Wicket Stuff by Susanna Helke will be produced by Timo Korhonen for Road Movies (€136,000).

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