Finnish documentary films and producers in CPH:DOX

February 27, 2024

Three Finnish films made it to the competitive sections this year. The Copenhagen festival takes place March 13–24, 2024.

Image: Once Upon a Time in a Forest, Teemu Liakka / Euphoria Film

The highly anticipated Once Upon a Time in a Forest, by Virpi Suutari, will have its world premiere in DOX:AWARD, the CPH:DOX main competition with only 12 films. It is also part of the NORDIC:DOX competition.

Once Upon a Time in a Forest is a cinematic film about radical young people who are defending one of the last coniferous forest areas in Europe. It is also an unusual love story of a younger generation whose object of love is the Finnish forest. The film won The Al Jazeera Documentary Award when it pitched in Cannes Docs last year. It is produced by Suutari and Martti Suosalo for Euphoria Film, and the domestic premiere is on March 28, 2024.

Another film supported by the Finnish Film Foundation and screening in both competitions is Phantoms of the Sierra Madre. Directed by Håvard Bustnes, the film is a co-production between Norway, Finland, the US and Mexico. The Finnish co-producers are Liisa Karpo and Marianne Mäkelä from napafilms. Phantoms of the Sierra Madre follows three men who are searching for an Apache tribe in Mexico, only to find something unexpected.

NORDIC:DOX and other sections

Two other Finnish films are also among the 10 films in the NORDIC:DOX competition.

The Labour of Pain and Joy, directed by Karoliina Gröndahl, is a world premiere. The film follows two Finnish birth experts, midwife Kirsi and doula (birth support person) Anna-Riitta, who work to improve birth practices and empower birth givers. The film is produced by Kirsi Mattila for Icebreaker Productions.

Still from The Labour of Pain and Joy

The Labour of Pain and Joy

Hard to Break, which will premiere next week in the domestic competition of the Tampere Film Festival, is directed by Maija Heinonen and Krista Moisio. The film follows two Finnish teens suddenly find themselves entangled in the world of addiction and violence in their quest for connection and acceptance. Produced by Oskar Forstén for Polygraf, the film will be theatrically released in Finland on April 12, 2024.

Since it premiered in Toronto IFF in September, Homecoming by Suvi West and Anssi Kömi has proved a festival success. In CPH:DOX, it screens in the section titled Backstory, featuring films that explore historical subjects.

Preemptive Listening, a UK-Finland coproduction, competes in the NEW:VISION section aimed at artists’ films. Directed by Aura Satz, the film joins 20 sound artists who explore and rethink the siren. The Finnish co-production company is Testifilmi.

Finnish films on the CPH:DOX catalogue

Industry event CPH:FORUM

The popular co-production forum had over 620 submissions this year, and two Finnish projects made the selection.

  • Yellow Film & TV produces Burnt Earth, a film about Finnish firefighters traveling to Portugal to help with wildfires. The film is directed by John Webster.
  • Polygraf is pitching Showtime in Helsinki, a new project by Arthur Franck. The archival film focuses on the big security summit in Helsinki in the middle of the Cold War in 1975.

CPH:FORUM projects

Finnish Film Foundation brings a delegation of five producers to CPH:DOX to network and promote their current projects. The Copenhagen-bound group includes Emilia Haukka (Aamu Film Company), Isabella Karhu (Danish Bear), Juha Löppönen (Mouka Filmi), Pasi Hakkio (Wacky Tie Films) ja Sandra Enkvist (Polygraf).

Who’s Attending

Attending the festival from Finnish Film Foundation: International Promotion Advisor Anni Asikainen, Film Commissioner Iris Olsson, Head of Production Matti Paunio and Communications Specialist Marjo Pipinen, see contact info.