The Finnish Film Foundation has supported four features, including two international co-productions, with $1.7m (€1.34m).
The films include the first feature by Arto Halonen, whose latest documentary Shadow of the Holy Book (Pyhän Kirjan Varjo) was nominated for the European Film Awards.
Halonen’s Princess (Prinsessa) is based on the true story of Anna Lappalainen, the Kellosokski Psychiatric hospital’s most infamous patient. Diagnosed as a manic-depressive with symptoms of schizophrenia, she insisted she was a princess and refused to be called by her own name. Eventually the hospital became her castle.
The $1.93m (€1.45) movie will be produced by Halonen and Alf Hemming, for Halonen’s Art Films Production. It is also supported by Finland’s MTV3 television. Princess will shoot between July and September and Sandrew Metronome Finland has scheduled the release for autumn 2010.
Pekka Karjalainen, whose Hysteria (1993) won him a Jussi – Finland’s national film award – will shoot Gimme Some Respect (Vähän Kunnioitusta), a $710,000 (€533 000) depiction of a mentally retarded young woman, who refuses social security and gets a real job. Riikka Poulsen will produce for Meguru Production; Walt Disney Finland will handle domestic release.
The foundation has also given support to Finnish, Estonian and Dutch co-production, Letters to Ingela. The $1.53m (€1.15m) feature will be directed by Sulev Keedus. It tells the story of an Estonian solider who converts to Islam while fighting in the Afghan war. After 15 years living as a Muslim, he returns to Estonia to find the country has changed. Olli Soinio, of Frame Productions is the Finnish partner in the project.
The final film to receive support is the $1.52m (€1.14m) Father, Son and the Holy Cow, which is being developed by Finland’s Snapper Films with Germany’s Black Forest Films, Detailfilm, and Poland’s Café Production.
Radek Wegrzyn wrote the script with Roberto Gagnor-Cezary Iber’s script. It follows Bogdan, who returns to is mother’s farm after losing his wife. His becomes convinced she has returned when one of the cows begins to behave strangely.
Wegrzyn is directing and Bavaria Film International is attached as international sales agent.