The Nordic Council Film Prize 2017 has been awarded to director and scriptwriter Selma Vilhunen and producers Kaarle Aho & Kai Nordberg from Finland for LITTLE WING.

Little Wing, Finland, Selma Vilhunen Scriptwriter Director Photo© Cata Portin
Little Wing, Finland, Selma Vilhunen Scriptwriter Director Photo© Cata Portin

The highly acclaimed film LITTLE WING received Wednesday night the NORDIC COUNCIL FILM PRIZE 2017, one of Northern Europe’s most coveted film awards. Selma Vilhunen’s feature film debut had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in 2016 and then visited more than 20 international festivals.

The prize endowed with DKK 350,000 is shared with producers Kaarle Aho and Kai Nordberg, in recognition of film as an art form, based on the collaboration between a director (scriptwriter) and the producers.

LITTLE WING (Tyttö nimeltä Varpu) tells the story of 12-year-old Varpu (Linnea Skog), who is rapidly approaching adulthood while her mother Siru (Paula Vesala) refuses to grow up. One night, Varpu has had enough of her horse-riding friends and her mother. She steals a car and drives north in search of the father she has never met. Finding him awakens something in both Varpu and Siru, and they begin to realise the roles they play in each other’s lives and in the world.

The motivation for the jury 2017’s choice is the following:

"In LITTLE WING Selma Vilhunen manages to capture big and fundamental emotions using very small gestures, and proves that she has a sensibility as a director and screenwriter beyond the ordinary. She cleverly plays with how girls and young women are often treated on film, and every time the audience senses and expects a threat to the main character Varpu, Vilhunen lets her - both literally and figuratively - steer away from the clichés. Soft and capable, Varpu roams a world where the characters are allowed to be real people who are both good and bad, and where their surroundings are simply a setting but never a theme. In LITTLE WING the jury found moments of pure energy and cinematic gold, and we want to see more."

Selma Vilhunen (b.1976) is an Academy-Award nominated director/scriptwriter of fiction and documentary films, based in Helsinki, and co-founder of the production company Tuffi Films.

Vilhunen’s documentary HOBBYHORSE REVOLUTION, about a Finnish teen subculture, had its world premiere at the Tampere Film Festival 2017, where it won two awards including the main prize. The director’s next feature film, STUPID YOUNG HEART, will be released next year in Finland.

The NORDIC COUNCIL FILM PRIZE is the most prestigious film award in the Nordic region. The prize goes to films that display both high quality and deep Nordic artistic roots. LITTLE WING is the 14th recipient of the award. Last year’s winner was Norway’s Joachim Trier with LOUDER THAN BOMBS.