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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Finland

14 films receive production support from the Finnish Film Foundation in October

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- Five fiction features have been noticed, including Tia Kouvo’s Family Time and Taru Mäkelä’s upcoming Christmas comedy, bringing on the holiday spirit

14 films receive production support from the Finnish Film Foundation in October
Director Tia Kouvo, whose Family Time has been granted €680,000 in funding

Wrapping its third support round of the year, the Finnish Film Foundation has granted over €3 million to 14 applicants, starting with five fiction feature films. Tia Kouvo’s Family Time, produced by Aamu Film Company (recently behind the Cannes Grand Prix winner Compartment No. 6 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juho Kuosmanen
film profile
]
) and granted €680,000, will focus on a family dealing with some issues – also over Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year will also feature in Taru Mäkelä’s Christmas comedy Ihana, kamala joulu, produced by Don Films and given €685,000.

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In Je’vida (€850,000, produced by Oktober), Katja Gauriloff will tell the story of a Sámi woman who forgot about her roots because of forced assimilation. Finally, two Estonian-Finnish co-productions were also noticed: 8 Views of Lake Biwa by Marko Raat – produced by Allfilm and co-produced by Finland’s BUFO (€170,000) – and Black Hole by Moonika Siimets. Produced by Amrion and granted €150,000, it will see the participation of Aamu Film Company again, this time serving as a co-producer.

Among the seven documentaries, Helsinki-based company Tuffi Films will be behind the minority co-production African Moot, directed by Shameela Seedat and produced by Undercurrent Film & Television (South Africa, €35,000), and Respect by Milja Moilanen and Eveliina Pasanen (€114,000), about women who rebuild their self-image after participating in a reality TV show. Another minority co-production, Hallelujah by Tonje Hessen Schei, will see Norway’s Up North Film joining forces with Finland’s Making Movies (€28,000).

Inka Achté’s Kahden kodin tyttö (produced by napafilms, €30,000) and Poikkeustila – written by Susanna Helke, Esa Illi, Anu Kuivalainen and Saara Helene Rawat (BonsaiFilms, €110,000) – were also granted support, as was Power of the People by Mervi Enqvist (Greenlit Productions, €80,000), which will show Laura Eklund Nhaga’s journey as she explains her thoughts about living as a racialised person in Finland and travels to the United States to meet Heather Booth from the Midwest Academy.

As for the last minority co-production, Wika! by Polish director Agnieszka Zwiefka (My Way Studio, €35,000), co-produced by Pystymetsä, was also noticed, telling the story of the oldest DJ in Poland, and probably in the world. Finally, two shorts received additional funding as well: Kati by Anu Pennanen (€12,000, Palo Productions) and the animation Blush – an Extraordinary Voyage by Iiti Yli-Harja, produced by Side Stories and supported to the tune of €40,000.

“We first got to know director Tia Kouvo when we saw her short carrying the same title. It impressed us by being a sincere, precisely crafted and humorous film about family connections,” producer Emilia Haukka, of Aamu Film Company, tells Cineuropa. “Her debut feature continues along the same trajectory, and we really love Kouvo’s study of reality and human behaviour in the ever-familiar setting of a family gathering for Christmas. Her warm and humane gaze towards her characters is what elevates the film for us.”

As for Black Hole, the second feature by Estonian director Moonika Siimets, the company was glad to continue the collaboration with producer Riina Sildos and Amrion Productions, who were the co-producers of Compartment No. 6. “Siimets’ film is an absurd comedy blending genres like sci-fi, thriller and eroticism with skill. The film is grotesque and dark, but she brings us a heartfelt core: we humans always seek to connect with each other and feel happy, even though we feel like we are getting sucked into a black hole. The film is a great allegorical commentary on our contemporary times,” adds Haukka.

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