Finnish Film Affair 2020 launches Programme


Any Day Now / PHOTO: Aamu

The Helsinki Film Festival’s hybrid industry event will showcase 27 pitches of works in progress and in development, and a focus on sales and distribution in the Nordics.

For its 9th edition, the annual industry platform Finnish Film Affair, sidebar to the Helsinki Film Festival-Love & Anarchy, will be held both online and on-site in Helsinki between September 23-25.

Due to tighter international travel restrictions, only a small number of international guests are expected to attend physically, but at press time, online participants had already out-numbered the usually set of guests attending the exclusive Finnish mini-market.

“We already have 180 Finnish guests, and 120 confirmed international guests [versus 80 in previous years] including new high-profile attendants such as HotDocs, HBO Europe, and more than 30 sales companies” noted Maria Pirkkalainen, head of the Finnish Film Affair, who expects the event to continue as a hybrid version in the years to come.

The Helsinki industry meetings will open on September 23 with the film Any Day Now, for which director Hamy Ramezan won the Best Project Award at last year’s Finnish Film Affair.

This year’s sought-after Works in Progress and Works in Development will introduce 19 fiction projects and 8 documentary projects.


Finnish Film Affair 2020 launches Programme

Maria Pirkkalainen / PHOTO: FFA

Pirkkalainen underlines two high profile Finnish animation projects in development: Malcolm Rocks by top animator Kari Juusonen (Niko & the Way to the Stars) produced by MRP Matila Röhr Productions, and Bear Park co-directed by Turku Arts Academy graduates Leena Jääskeläinen and Kaisa Pentilä for Pyjama Films.

Other fiction projects in development include Lapland War by Aku Louhimies (The Unknown Soldier, Rebellion) and Snot and Splash The Mystery of Disappearing Holes by Teemu Nikki. The director of Euthanizer fame, will also pitch his film in post-production A Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic, recipient of the coveted Eurimages Lab Award at the last New Nordic Films in Haugesund.

Other works in progress worth mentioning include the family film Sihja by Marja Pyykkö, the chiller The Twin by Lake Bodom’s Taneli Mustonen, and 70 is Just a Number by commercially-oriented director Johanna Vuoksenmaa.

For the first time four Nordic projects will also be pitched: the Swedish thriller Knocking, Norwegian live/animation pic Ninjababy, Icelandic drama Quake and Danish psycho thriller Superposition.

Among the documentary films, notable projects include The Last of the Seagulls by award-winning Tonislav Hristov (Making Movies), We Are Animals by Vesa Kuosmanen and Saila Kivelä (Tuffi Films), and The Black Gold by Petteri Saario (Citizen Jane Productions).

The pitching sessions on Thursday September 24 will close with the awards ceremony.

For the first time a €3,000 award will be handed out to the Best Documentary Project, on top of the existing €3,000 Best Fiction project Award.


This year’s main conference theme will be ‘The Future of Film Distribution in the Nordics’, organised in association with Nordisk Film & TV Fond.

The first industry session on Wednesday September 23 will include three sessions, moderated by Andrea Reuter:

  • ‘Nordic Distribution Boost Case Studies’ with practical tips on marketing from development to theatrical release of films that took part in Nordisk Film & TV Fond’s former ‘Nordic Distribution Boost’ scheme.
  • ‘Streamers 01’, with an depth-overview from the UK’s Ampere Analysis of trends in streaming services around the world.
  • ‘Distribution in the Near Future’, with a panel of experts (to be announced) who will discuss marketing and distribution models and possible ways to strengthen the Nordic industry.

The second industry session on Friday September 25 will focus on three areas:

  • Intimacy and safety on sets, with Finnish and international professionals who will detail the role of ‘intimacy coordinators’, revealed recently with the BBC hit series Normal People.
  • New Strategies for European Sales, moderated by UK-based Timo Suomi (AMP International).
  • Representation in Finnish films & TV dramas, a session moderated by writer/director Jani Toivola, first black member of the Finnish Parliament and one of the few openly gay politicians in Finland.

For its 4th edition, the Nordic Flair initiative offering career development opportunities for Nordic talent, will focus on emerging Nordic sale agents and distributors.

The six professionals selected for the training scheme are Denmark’s Sofie Jensen (Øst for Paradis), Agnete Juul (Camera Film), Lauren Valmadre (LevelK), Finland’s Tytti Rantanen (AV-arkki-Centre for Finnish Media Art Finland) Iceland’s Aron Víglundsson (Bíó Paradís) and Sweden’s Emma Caviezel (Draken Film).

“We want to nurture the next generation of sales agents and distributors,” explains Pirkkalainen. “We’re very pleased with these participants, with half of them combining know-how in exhibition and distribution.”

The conference programme will close on Friday with a Masterclass from world-renown foley artist Heikki Kossi, recipient of the 2020 Nordic Flair Award.


Finnish Film Affair 2020 launches Programme

Kossi Heikki / PHOTO: Clas Olav Slotte

Full list of Pitches at the 2020 Finnish Film Affair: Fiction in development:

  • Bear Park by Leena Jääskeläinen and Kaisa Pentilä (Pyjama Films)
  • Helsinki Poets by Juha Fiilin (Sylvana Mysterium)
  • Lapland War by Aku Louhimies (Backmann & Hoderoff)
  • Malcolm Rocks by Kari Juusonen (MRP Matila Röhr Productions)
  • Memento Mori by Pekka Hara (no production company yet)
  • Never Enough White Roses by Miika Soini (Butterworks)
  • Snot and Splash The Mystery of Disappearing Holes by Teemu Nikki (It’s Alive Films)
  • The Squirrel by Markus Lehmusruusu (Citizen jane Producrions)
  • # Lapland co-written by Mika Eirtovaara and Ninni Saajola (Topline Productions)

Fiction in Progress

  • 70 is Just a Number by Johanna Vuoksenmaa (Dyonysos Films)
  • A Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic by Teemy Nikki (It’s Alive Films)
  • A Girl’s Room by Aino Suni (MADE)
  • Sihja by Marja Pyykkö (Tuffi Films)
  • Stand Up (working Title) by Reetta Aalto (Zodiak Finland)
  • The Twin by Taneli Mustonen (Don Films)

Nordic Selection

  • Knocking by Frida Kempff (Läsk, Sweden)
  • Ninjababy by Yngvild Sve Flikke (Motlys, Norway)
  • Quake by Tinna Hrafnsdóttir (Ursus Parvus, Iceland)
  • Superposition by Karoline Lyngbye (Beo Starling, Denmark)


  • The Black Gold by Petteri Saario (Citizen Jane Productions)
  • Eatnameamet our Silent Struggle by Suvi West (Vaski Filmi Ltd)
  • Guardians of Creation by Iiris Härmä (Guerilla Films)
  • The Last of the Seagulls by Tonislav Hristov (Making Movies)
  • The Mission by Tania Moilanen (Danish Bear Productions)
  • Snowball Effect by Pauliina Punkki (Ida Productions)
  • The Trans Syrian Express by Alina Rudnitskaya (Illume Ltd)
  • We Are Animals by Vesa Kuosmanen and Saila Kivelä (Tuffi Films)

For further details on Finnish Film Affair, check: www.hiff.fi