Eighteen years after Pekka Parikka's The Winter War, Finland is back in the prestigious main competition programme of the Berlinale (February 07-17), with Petri Kotwica's drama Black Ice.

The gripping portrayal of jealousy and its ravages will compete for the Golden Bear against 20 top international filmmakers such as Paul Thomas Anderson, Johnnie To, Mike Leigh, Isabel Coixet and Robert Guédiguian.

Kaarle Aho who produced the film with his partner in Making Movies, Kai Nordberg, said: "We all are thrilled about the fact that Black Ice is the first Finnish film in the competition of the Berlinale in 18 years. Berlin has been - for a long time - a sort of our secret wet dream that no one has dared to say aloud. Black Ice has been for us already for five years a great adventure and now it seems that that adventure will continue, who knows how long and where to."

Irina Krohn , Head of the Finnish Film Foundation also commented: "Our strategy has been first to increase our domestic market share. With almost 20% market share from 12 feature films released in 2007, we now have one of the highest market shares in Europe in proportion to the number of films released. Our second goal was to reach international success with our films. Now that Black Ice is selected in competition in Berlin, it's very encouraging and we are extremely happy."

Launched last September at the Helsinki International Film Festival, Black Ice was an instant hit with local critics and was last year's fourth biggest Finnish film on home turf, with nearly 95,000 admissions. Black Ice is one of the top favourites for the local Jussi Awards with Kotwica running for Best Film, Director, and Script and the two leading actresses Ria Kataja and Outi Mäenpää sharing a chance to win in their category.

The €1.8m film was produced by Finland's Making Movies in co-production with Germany's Schmidtz Katze Filmkollektiv, with support from Nordisk Film & TV Fond.

Bavaria Film International handles world sales.