Finnish private eye ready for third case this year
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
20/07/2011 - Finland’s most popular private investigator, Jussi Valtteri Vares – a hard-boiled PI in his forties with only two weaknesses: cold beer and warm women – is almost half-way through his 2011 assignments.
Released on January 6, The Kiss of Evil is still No 1 on this year’s list of local blockbusters, taking 204,647 admissions domestically. Out since April 20, The Girls of April has so far sold 75,215 tickets, and The Garter Snakes is set for an August 5 premiere. At the same time, Germany’s Bavaria Media Italia has started international sales for the Vares package outside Scandinavia (where Nordisk Film Production AB holds the rights).
From Finnish leading producer Markus Selin with Jukka Helle for Solar Films Inc. Oy in collaboration with Nordisk, the five films based on Finnish author Reijo Mäki’s bestselling novels were shot back-to-back last year on a 120-day schedule and a €5.6 million budget, all starring Antti Reini. Selin also backed Finnish director Aleksi Mäkelä’s Vares - Private Eye and V2: Dead Angel [trailer], both with Juha Veijonen in the lead.
Mika Karttunen and Katariina Souri scripted the films, which were shared between two directors, Anders Engström and Lauri Törhönen – Engstrøm at the helm of The Kiss of Evil and The Path of the Righteous Man, Törhönen responsible for The Girls of April, The Garter Snake and The Tango of Darkness. While the early Vares films were targeting local audiences, Selin has this time aimed at international markets.
For foreign sales, Solar Films has for the first time teamed up with Germany’s Bavaria Media. “This exceptional crime movie cycle as a highlight of our catalogue; it will surely excite our buyers just as much as it has excited Finnish audiences,” explained Vice President International and Co-production Philipp Kreuzer. The Vares franchise was co-produced by Danish major, Nordisk Film, which is a Solar Films co-owner.