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Docu Features Shine at Helsinki’s Fourth Edition of Finnish Film Affair

Helsinki, Finland– Elli Toivoniemi’s docu feature debut “Once I Was A Dragonfly” nabbed the inaugural Pitch Award at the fourth edition of the Finnish Film Affair, the two-day confab hosted alongside the Helsinki film festival.

“Dragonfly” (pictured above) follows the journey of Miikka Friman, a 24-year old amateur filmmaker whose fascination for butterflies shaped his life from the age of 6.

Toivoniemi, who is producing the pic via her Helsinki-based company Tuffi Films, previously directed the short film “Role” which played at Locarno in 2014 and produced the Oscar-nominated short “Do I Have to Take Care of Everything” in 2013.

The documentary won a 3000 Euros grant as part of the best pitch award whose jury comprised Fortissimo Films’ Berenice Fugard, TenOne Entertainment’s Robert Burke and La-based critic Barbara Gasser.

“Elli has a rare talent for capturing stunning visuals and telling a complex story in a relatable way. She also understands how
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They Have Escaped wins top Finnish prize

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They Have Escaped wins top Finnish prize
Teenage outcast drama wins four Jussi awards including best film.

J-p Valkeapää’s They Have Escaped (He ovat paenneet) snapped up four prizes at the annual Jussi gala in Helsinki last night (Feb 1). The ceremony is hosted by the Filmiaura Association of Finnish Film Professionals and celebrates Finnish cinema.

Valkeapää’s depiction of two teenage outcasts who leave a custody centre for a cross-country ramble won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Editing and Best Sound Design. The film debuted last year at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.

Antti Heikki’s Headfirst received two Jussis (from five nominations) as did Virpi Suutari’s documentary Garden Lovers (Eedenistä pohjoiseen).

Dome Karukoski’s The Grump (Mielensäpahoittaja) – last year’s local blockbuster, recording 458,637 admissions – garnered Antti Litja the Best Actor award and an Honorary Concrete Jussi.

Finnish Jussi Winners 2015

Best Film: They Have Escaped (He ovat paenneet). Prod: Aleksi Bardy

Best Director: J-p Valkeapää, for [link=tt
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Finnish Film Affair unveils line-up

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Finnish Film Affair unveils line-up
Third edition will include pitching of 17 projects and screening of 19 completed features.Scroll down for full lists

The Finnish Film Affair is to host its third edition during the Helsinki International Film Festival (Sept 23-25).

The showcase for new Finnish films will include 17 projects being pitched and the screening of 19 completed films. A Project Development Clinic has been added for first and second-time directors.

The 17 new projects will be pitched to 60 guests including sales agents, festival programmers, distributors and TV buyers, including Fortissimo Films, Wild Bunch, Memento Films International, Films Transit, Sundance Film Festival, Koch Media and Zdf/Arte.

The pitches include The Fencer by Klaus Härö, whose previous film Letters to Father Jacob sold worldwide; and Stupid Young Heart from Oscar-nominated Selma Vilhunen (Do I Have To Take Care Of Everything?).

Other titles include Tsamo by Markku Lehmuskallio, documentary Mother’s Wish by Joonas Berghäll (Steam Of Life), and Cross Your Heart by Petri Kotwica, whose
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'21 Ways' producer wins Finnish award

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Producer Riina Hyytiä named producer of the year at Finnish Film Week.

At the closing gala of the Finnish Film Week (Sept 20-26), producer Riina Hyytiä was named Producer of the Year for Johanna Vuoksenmaa’s divorce comedy 21 Ways to Ruin a Marriage (21 tapaa pilata avioliitto).

The comedy is the first Finnish feature by a female director to exceed 400,000 admissions, which only four films have achieved in the last 25 years.

Organised for the fourth time as part of the Helsinki International Film Festival-Love & Anarchy included 24 domestic productions introduced by the filmmakers.

It included previews of Ulrika BengtsLärjungen (The Disciple - Finland’s submission for the Oscars), Rax Rinnekangas’ Luciferin viimeinen elämä (The Last Life of Lucifer), Pekka Lehto’s Luciferin viimeinen elämä (The Surrealist and His Naughty Hand), Dome Karukoski’s Leijonasydän (Heart of a Lion) and Pirjo Honkasalo’s Betoniyö (Concrete Night).

More awards for industry professionals went to:

Director of the Year Simo Halinen for Kerron
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