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HIFF’s industry sidebar Finnish Film Affair wrapped up on Thursday. The three day event gathered a record amount of visiting film professionals from around the world. The new Best Pitch Award was given to the film project with most international appeal.

Finnish Film Affair’s first Best Pitch Award went to Elli Toivoniemi‘s documentary production Once I Was a Dragonfly. Produced by Tuffi Films, the film tells about a young man who has devoted his life to following the lives of dragonflies since he was six years old. Once I Was a Dragonfly was presented by director Elli Toivoniemi and producer Venla Hellstedt.

The jury was convinced of the film project’s visuals and Toivoniemi’s ability to tell a complex story in a relatable and universal fashion.

The Best Pitch Award highlights internationally promising Finnish film projects. The award is 3 000 Euros to be used for the international marketing of the winning film.

The jury members were Barbara Gasser (Hollywood Foreign Press Association), Berenice Fugard (Fortissimo Films) and Robert Burke (TenOne Entertainment).

Finnish film projects interested international buyers

Finnish Film Affair gathered more than 300 professionals, including almost 90 international guests representing important sales companies, distributors, film festivals and trade press.

The event presented almost 60 Finnish films and film productions. The 19 projects in the Works in Progress section were received enthusiastically by the international film buyers. Katja Gauriloff‘s Baby Jane, Selma Vilhunen‘s Varpu, Aleksi Mäkelä‘s Love Records and Juho Kuosmanen‘s The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki.

The organisers of the Finnish Film Affair were happy with the growing event.

– It’s been great to see how more and more productions and film projects are applying for the Finnish Film Affair programme and how essential they consider this event for advancing international projects. This year we have received extremely positive feedback about the warm spirit of the event, which makes networking easier for participants. We have organized nearly 300 one-to-one meetings between Finnish and foreign professionals, and many international buyers have found projects on which they have started to negotiate, summarizes the executive director of the HIFF Sara Norberg.

FFA’s ending day’s panel discussion “Developing a Film for the American Market Place” gave filmmakers concrete guidelines on being succesful in the US market. The notable panelists representing respected American film companies attracted a full house of film professionals to take part in the vivid discussion on the subject. The panel discussion was executed in co-operation with The Finnish Film Foundation, FAVEX and TEKES’ “Getting it Made for the US Market” initiative.