Finland’s biggest film industry event, Helsinki International Film Festival’s industry sidebar Finnish Film Affair, unfolded from Tuesday Sept 25th to Thursday Sept 27th2018. A record number of almost 450 film professionals attended the 7thedition of the yearly event, with nearly hundred international sales agents, distributors, producers and journalists in attendance.
The Work in Progress Award, for the project most likely to attract international attention, went to Tuffi Films’ One-Off Incident, a series of short films, an anthology film and a campaign to raise awareness of the invisible exercise of power towards women, in private lives as well as in the society.
The Finnish Film Affair’s Work in Progress Awardwas given for the fourth time to the pitched Work in Progress project with the most potential to attract international interest. The winning project, One-Off Incident, made by an all-female group of 15 writers and directors, curated by Tuffi Films all-female producing staff, was the jury’s top choice for its timeliness, well thought-out strategy, and its potential to engage the audience to continue the discussion on gender equality issues.
Mark Adams from Edinburgh International Film Festival, Steven Bestwick from The Yellow Affair and Agneta Perman from Sweden’s National Broadcasting Company SVT served on the jury, that deemed this year’s 25 Work in Progressand Work in Development pitches offered many strong candidates in a wide variety of genres. The One-Off Incident was pitched by Tuffi Films producer Elli Toivoniemi and one of its directors, Alli Haapasalo. The Work in Progress Award, sponsored by the Finnish Film Foundation, is worth 3000 euros towards the winning film’s international marketing efforts.
Helsinki International Film Festival and the Finnish Film Affair also awarded Finnish actress Laura Birn with the Nordic Flair Award, granted yearly to extraordinary Nordic filmmaking talent, on the path to take Scandinavian talent, spirit and originality towards international projects and a world-wide audience. The award was given for the second time, its recipient last year was Danish Game of Thrones actor Pilou Asbæk.
International sales companies interested in Finnish horror, drama and documentaries
25 projects took the stage to pitch works in development and in progress at the Finnish Film Affair on Wednesday Sept 26th, and meetings with sales, distribution and festival professionals continued well into the night. In addition to One-Off Incident, industry professionals showed interest in Taneli Mustonen’s elevated horror concept The Twin, Hanna Bergholm’s thriller Birds of a Feather, Klaus Härö’s English language debut drama My Sailor, My Love and Zaida Bergroth’s period drama Maria’s Paradise, among many other projects.
In the documentary category John Webster’s The Happy Worker, on how ‘business bullshit’ took over the work place, Iiris Härmä’s Who Made You on artificial intelligence and robotics, and Virpi Suutari’s Aalto on Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto’s life and work, attracted meeting requests as well.