Antti Jokinen’s first Finnish film is currently number one at the local box office chart.

The Finnish Oscar Committee have picked Finnish director Antti Jokinen’s Purge (Puhdistua)  – currently No. 1 on the local charts from 76,123 admissions in two weeks – as Finland’s official candidate for the 2013 nomination as Best Foreign Language Feature. The film will have its international premiere at the 17th Busan International Film Festival, which runs Oct 4-13.

Having watched 35 eligible local features, the committee selected Jokinen’s first Finnish outing for its “exceptionally fine storytelling which holds the audience spellbound”. The director’s film debut was the UK-US produced The Resident with Hilary Swank and Christopher Lee in the leads.

Adapted from Finnish author Sofi Oksanen’s award-winning novel, which won, among others, the 2007 Nordic Council Literary Award, Purge is set in Estonia from before the Stalinist deportations in 1949 until after the country’s independence in 1991.

Shot in Estonia, with Laura Birn, Liisi Tandefelt, Amanda Pilke, Krista Kosonen, Peter Franzén and Tommi Korpela in the leads, it follows two generations of women intertwining the stories of Aliide, a villager, and Zara, a victim of human trafficking, linked together by deceit, desperation and fear.

Scripted by Marko Leino and Jokinen, Purge was produced by Markus Selin and Jukka Helle, for Finland’s Solar Films, in co-production with Estonia’s Taska Film. Nordisk Film Finland caters for domestic release, while Denmark’s TrustNordisk handles international sales.