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Finland’s biggest film industry event, Helsinki International Film Festival’s Finnish Film Affair, showcased nearly 50 Finnish films in its programme this 17-19 September. The event attracted over 400 film industry professionals to its 8th edition including a hundred international sales agents, distributors, producers and festival programmers.

Aamu Film Company’s Oasis of Now has won the Finnish Film Affair’s Best Project Award. Currently in production, the film tells the story of a family seeking asylum in Finland and will be the first feature film by Finnish-Iranian director and screenwriter Hamy Ramezan.

Ramezan’s work has been previously presented at Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight and his short film Listen (2014), co-directed by Rungano Nyoni (I Am Not a Witch, HIFF 2017), won Best Narrative Short at Tribeca Film Festival in 2014. Oasis of Now will star Shahab Hosseini, the winner of Best Actor in Berlinale for Asghar Farhadi’s Separation (HIFF 2011) and in Cannes for The Salesman (2016).

The Finnish Film Affair’s Best Project Award is given each year to a pitched work in progress with the most international appeal. Sponsored by the Finnish Film Foundation, the award is 3 000 euros towards the winning film’s international marketing.

The decision was unanimous amongst the jury, consisting of Stine Bomholt-Hansen from LevelK, Tom Abell from Peccadillo Pictures and Gyda Velvin Myklebust from The Norwegian International Film Festival Haugesund.

“The sensitivity in the portrayal of the boy and his family is delicate and emotionally balanced – this project really touched us. The film has impressive visual style and presents a rising talent in director Hamy Ramezan. Its universal themes have the potential to speak to audiences all over the world”, the jury notes.

Oasis of Now was pitched at Finnish Film Affair by producers Jussi Rantamäki and Emilia Haukka from Aamu Film Company, the production company behind Juho Kuosmanen’s The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki. The film is distributed by Nordisk Film.

Nordic Flair, the talent development programme of the Finnish Film Affair continues this Friday with a masterclass by Danish director Lone Scherfig, with Helsinki International Film Festival running until Sunday 29 September.