The Finnish Film Foundation (FFF) has awarded $567,000 (Eu450,000) of funding to Finnish director Renny Harlin's come-back to local filmmaking, the $12.6m (Eu10m) Mannerheim, which will be the largest feature film project ever staged in Finland.

The bio-pic stars Finnish actor Mikko Nousiainen as Finland's Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim.

Scripted by Heikki Vihinen and Marko Leino, Mannerheim depicts the life of the Swedish-speaking nobleman, who served the Russian Tsar, before he returned to Finland in 1917 to eventually become president of his country. He died in 1951.

Mannerheim is produced by Solar films' Markus Selin and Jukka Helle. Selin co-wrote and produced Harlin's Born American, also known a Arctic Heart, his 1986 Mike Norris starrer and ticket to Hollywood. Harlin has most recently completed 12 Rounds, which will be released by Fox.

Solar Films has collaborated with the Champion of Liberty Association to realise Mannerheim. Solar Films' co-owner, Nordisk Film, will handle local distribution, with TrustNordisk in charge of international sales.

Besides Mannerheim, the Finnish Film Foundation has allocated $5.8m (Eu4.6m) for nine local features, including another Selin-Helle production, Aleksi Mäkelä's Hellsinki (Rööperi), which was launched domestically six weeks ago and has so far exceeded 200,000 admissions.

Other recipients of FFF funding included Markku Pölönen (Dog Nail Clipper/Koirankynnen leikkaaja) for Suomen Filmiteollis' Rally On (Ralliraita), which is in post-production and Aleksi Salmenperä (A Man's Work/Miehen työ) for Sputnik's Bad Family (Paha perhe).

Mannerheim is ready to shoot, with principal photography scheduled to commence in March in Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Russia. The film will have its world première in Helsinki on January 15, 2010.