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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Finland

Zaida Bergroth’s biopic Tove wins big at the Jussi Awards

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- The Best Documentary Award went to Elina Talvensaari’s Lady Time, with Games People Play and Aalto also noticed

Zaida Bergroth’s biopic Tove wins big at the Jussi Awards
The winner of Best Female Lead, Alma Pöysti, during the Jussi Awards ceremony (© Filmiaura)

Tove [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zaida Bergroth
film profile
]
, a well-received biopic about Finnish artist and Moomins creator Tove Jansson, produced by Helsinki-filmi, won seven Jussi Awards – dubbed the “Finnish Oscars” – on 15 September. Named Best Film of the Year, it also scooped prestigious gongs for Best Director, going to helmer Zaida Bergroth, as well as Best Female Lead for Alma Pöysti and Best Cinematography for Linda Wassberg. The gala, usually held in March, was postponed owing to the pandemic.

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“The amazing team behind the film put all of their talent and love into their work, and I am so proud that so many of them were recognised for that. To be a part of this movie, celebrating Finland’s most astonishing artist, Tove Jansson, is just such an honour,” producer Andrea Reuter shared with Cineuropa.

Jenni Toivoniemi’s feature debut, Games People Play [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, scored awards for Best Script and Best Supporting Actor (Samuli Niittymäki). The documentaries Aalto [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Virpi Suutari, about famous Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto, and Elina Talvensaari’s Lady Time [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
were also celebrated, the latter chosen as Best Documentary. This exceptionally good night for female filmmakers continued with a Lifetime Achievement Award for director and cinematographer Pirjo Honkasalo, known for such titles as The 3 Rooms of Melancholia and the 2013 release Concrete Night [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, which earned her a Jussi for Best Director.

“I would like to thank all those wonderful people who have been in my film crews in different countries,” she said during the ceremony, accepting the award. “Filmmaking is like building a boat for someone else. When it’s done, the filmmaker just watches as it sails away. Thanks to all the boat builders.”

Finally, Hamy Ramezan’s Berlinale entry Any Day Now [+see also:
trailer
interview: Hamy Ramezan
film profile
]
took home an award for its actor Shahab Hosseini, also known for Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and named Best Male Lead, as well as the Nordisk Film Award, which comes with €20,000. Saara Pakkasvirta, one of the titular Ladies of Steel [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pamela Tola
film profile
]
, was named Best Supporting Actress for her spirited turn in Pamela Tola’s smash comedy about three ladies embarking on an adventure after the husband of one of them appears to have dropped dead. Accidentally, of course.

“It was very special for me, especially this year, firstly because of the pandemic and the Finnish policies that have shown that culture and art are not very highly valued in Finland,” Talvensaari told Cineuropa. “After a year and a half of feeling that your work is not regarded as valuable, it feels nice to get noticed. It shows that Finnish film is opening up, that even a subtle movie can make an impact, and an ‘essay film’ is now regarded as valid when competing with more traditional forms of documentaries.”

You can find the full list of award winners below:

Best Film
Tove [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zaida Bergroth
film profile
]
– Zaida Bergroth (Finland/Sweden)

Best Director
Zaida Bergroth – Tove

Best Female Lead
Alma Pöysti – Tove

Best Male Lead
Shahab Hosseini – Any Day Now [+see also:
trailer
interview: Hamy Ramezan
film profile
]

Best Female Supporting Actor
Saara Pakkasvirta – Ladies of Steel [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pamela Tola
film profile
]

Best Male Supporting Actor
Samuli Niittymäki – Games People Play [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]

Best Script
Jenni Toivoniemi – Games People Play

Best Cinematography
Linda Wassberg – Tove

Best Music
Sanna Salmenkallio – Aalto [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]

Best Sound Design
Arttu Hokkanen – Lost Boys [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]

Best Editing
Jussi Rautaniemi – Aalto

Best Set Design
Catharina Nyqvist Ehrnrooth – Tove

Best Costume Design
Eugen Tamberg – Tove

Best Make-up Design
Riikka Virtanen – Tove

Best Documentary
Lady Time [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Elina Talvensaari

Best Short
The Bouncer – Aleksi Salmenperä

Audience Award
One Half of Me – Tuukka Temonen

Lifetime Achievement Award
Pirjo Honkasalo (director and cinematographer)

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