Fresh films from Finland
by Birgit Heidsiek
- At the second edition of the Finnish Film Affair the number of industry professionals has doubled
At the second edition of the Finnish Film Affair more than 50 international buyers, distributors, sales agents and acquisition managers were scouting for fresh Finnish films and projects. “Last year we got such a great buzz that the number of participants has doubled to about 200 participants,” says Petri Kemppinen, Head of Production at the Finnish Film Foundation which launched the showcase together with the Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy. “The point of the Finnish Film Affair is to show the variety of Finnish films,” underlines Sara Norberg, executive director of the Helsinki International Film Festival. “We have everything: comedies, action film, thrillers, documentaries and even blockbusters for the local audience.”
Among the highlights were Finnish festival titles such as Concrete Night [+see also:
film profile] by Pirjo Honkasalo, the romantic drama Heart of Lion [+see also:
film profile] by Dome Karukoski as well as the documentary My Stuff by Petri Luukkainen which already has distribution in the UK and Germany. “The Finnish filmmakers are overshadowed by the Kaurismäki’s but there are a lot of great directors in Finland who are not seen so much,” emphasizes Frank L. Stavik who started Fidalgo Film Distribution in Norway with films by Aki and Mika Kaurismäki in 1991.
“When you see the films where they are produced, it gives you a better understanding than at an international film festival where so much is going on,” remarks Réne Wolf, Head of Acquisitions at Dutch EYE Film. “It is very important for a sales agent to visit your producer and clients in their home country,” adds Pape Boye who launched his new company Versatile Films in Cannes this year. “I have also bought Blind when it still was a work-in-progress. Here I can look at films at an early stage and see if they have potential,” endorses Patrizia Raeli, Managing Director of British distributor Yume Pictures.
“We are acting as matchmakers and provide the producers with strategic tools,” sums up Johanna Karppinen, CEO of FAVEX – Finnish Film & Audiovisual Export, which co-organized the event. “I found the animated film Moomins on the Riviera here for our new channel for children which we are launching at the beginning of 2014,” explains Alexandra Biernacka who acquires feature and documentary films for TVP Telewizja Polska, the public TV in Poland. “I am really optimistic about the future and how our collaboration will evolve.”
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