New films from Klaus Härö, Jenni Toivoniemi and Virpi Suutari receive production support

March 22, 2023

Finnish Film Foundation has granted over 6.3 million euros in production support in March 2023.

Image: Klaus Härö, Jenni Toivoniemi, Virpi Suutari

The support went to nine feature films, 13 documentary films and one short film. Two feature films and two documentary films, including a new film from Göran Hugo Olsson, are minority co-productions. Four of the feature films received production support in the 50/50 scheme intended for mainstream films with a large audience potential.

One of the high-profile films is Never Alone, a long-time passion project for director Klaus Härö, whose previous film, the English-language drama My Sailor, My Love premiered this spring in the UK, in Ireland and in Finland. Never Alone is set during the war in 1942, a time when Finland was allied with Nazi Germany. The film follows a Jewish man who is trying to stop the state of Finland from handing over Jewish refugees to the Gestapo.

Never Alone is written by Härö and Jimmy Karlsson and it is produced by Ilkka Matila for MRP Matila Röhr Productions. The film is a Finnish-Estonian-Austrian co-production.

Jenni Toivoniemi (Games People Play) will direct Butterfly, a comedy written by Anna Brotkin. It is produced by Miia Haavisto for Tekele. Butterfly is a modern comedy set during a summer tango festival, about a father and his millennial daughter who reconnect.

Virpi Suutari (Entrepreneur, A People’s Radio), an IDFA regular, will focus on nature activists with her upcoming documentary feature The Sparrow (working title). The film is described as a morality play and a love story of a younger generation whose main location and object of love is the Finnish forest. Suutari will produce herself for Euphoria Film.

Feature Films

After Us, the Flood (Jälkeemme vedenpaisumus)
Director: Arto Halonen
Scriptwriter: Ossi Hakala
Producer: Arto Halonen
Production company: Art Films Production AFP
Support sum: 745,000 €

Butterfly (Perhonen)
Director: Jenni Toivoniemi
Scriptwriter: Anna Brotkin
Producer: Miia Haavisto
Production company: Tekele
Support sum: 850,000 €

minority co-production
Director: Kari Vidø
Scriptwriters: Birgitte Lorentzen, Henrik Kristensen
Producers: Julie Rix Bomholt, Mia Elvstrøm Myrälf, Aleksi Hyvärinen
Finnish co-production company: Don Films
Production company: SF Studios Production (Denmark)
Support sum: 165,000 €

After a near death experience Lulu ends up at the hospital and from that moment, everything changes in Lulu’s life. Lulu has a feeling that someone or something is after her. At school Lulu bumps into the infamous yet strangely captivating Mads. According to himself, Mads can see dead people including a girl attached to Lulu. A so-called bonded phantom. But does the girl really exist – and if yes, what does she want?

The Grump’s Love Story (Mielensäpahoittajan rakkaustarina)
50/50 production support
Director: Mika Kaurismäki
Scriptwriter: Sami Keski-Vähälä
Producers: Jukka Helle, Markus Selin, Hanna Virolainen
Production company: Solar Films
Support sum: 500,000 €

Hayflower, Quiltshoe and the Chicken (Heinähattu, Vilttitossu ja kana)
50/50 production support
Director: Reetta Aalto
Scriptwriters: Tiina Nopola, Sinikka Nopola, Emma Nopola, Lenka Hellstedt
Producer: Anni Pänkäälä
Production company: Yellow Film & TV
Support sum: 600,000 €

Kevlar Soul
minority co-production
Director: Maria Eriksson-Hecht
Scriptwriters: Maria Eriksson-Hecht, Pelle Rådström
Producers: Misha Jaari, Mark Lwoff, Lizette Jonjic, Ronny Fritsche, Verona Meier
Finnish co-production company: Bufo
Production company: Zentropa Sweden
Support sum: 150,000 €

Teenage brothers Alex and Robin are intertwined, symbiotic, as if magnetically bound to one another. That is, until Alex falls in love with Ines. His newfound infatuation shatters their protective symbiosis, sending Robin into freefall. When Robin gets convicted for a felony, Alex blames himself for naively letting his first love distract him from his responsibility for his brother, and pours all his efforts into saving Robin. But can you save someone who doesn’t want to be saved? And is it, deep down, what Alex truly wants?

Kolme valepukkia
50/50 production support
Director: Rike Jokela
Scriptwriter: Anna Ruohonen
Producers: Riina Hyytiä, Nora Kuusisto
Production company: Dionysos Films
Support sum: 600,000 €

My Name Is Dingo (Levoton tuhkimo)
50/50 production support
Director: Mari Rantasila
Scriptwriter: Hanna Leivonniemi
Producers: Marko Talli, Anni Pänkäälä
Production company: Yellow Film & TV
Support sum: 600,000 €

Never Alone (Ei koskaan yksin)
Director: Klaus Härö
Scriptwriters: Klaus Härö, Jimmy Karlsson
Producer: Ilkka Matila
Production company: MRP Matila Röhr Productions
Support sum: 800,000 €

It is 1942, and Finland is allied with Nazi Germany at war against the Soviet Union. An old Jewish man is trying to stop the state of Finland from handing over Jewish refugees to the Gestapo.


1 Holy Land (1 heligt land)
minority co-production
Director & scriptwriter: Göran Olsson
Producers: Tobias Jansson, Miia Haavisto, Marja Pihlaja
Finnish co-production company: Tekele
Production company: Story AB (Sweden)
Support sum: 40,000 €

The Andersson Brothers (Bröderna Andersson)
minority co-production
Director & scriptwriter: Johanna Bernhardson
Producers: Annika Hellström, Erika Malmgren, Kaarle Aho
Finnish co-production company: Making Movies
Production company: Cinenic Film (Sweden)
Support sum: 42,000 €

This is a film about the world-famous film director Roy Anderson and his three brothers, depicted intimately and humorously by Roy’s niece and former co-worker, documentary filmmaker Johanna Bernhardson. The three brothers have lost contact, they rarely speak and they have not met since 2012, at the funeral of Ronny, the second oldest brother who died of drug abuse. The remaining brothers’ lives have taken different paths, but they all have one thing in common – they drink too much. Their relationship is tense, but Johanna is determined to unite them again before it is too late.

The Arctic Circle of Lust (Pohjoinen intohimo)
Director & scriptwriter: Markku Heikkinen
Producer: Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen
Production company: Zone2 Pictures
Support sum: 120,000 €

The Arctic Circle of Lust is about the secret sexuality of middle-aged men living in peripheral regions and the ensuing relationship and identity crises that occur when the men are caught red-handed. How does a man who has come to terms with their bisexuality learn to be truthful and faithful to themselves and their partner? Arctic Circle of Lust is an intimate and wholesome family film about regular Finnish middle-aged men, who, in various ways, face a partially unacknowledged and invisible sexual desire – bisexuality.

Burn the Ginger (Syttymispiste)
Director, scriptwriter & producer: Oskari Pastila
Production company: Emerald Gate Industries
Support sum: 90,000 €

Burn the Ginger is a story about the rise and fall of an Australian immigrant in the “World’s Happiest Country”. After becoming the golden boy of the academic, political and business elites sent to promote the Brand Finland abroad, he is thrown away like a wet rag in time of adversity and gets to experience the praised safety networks of the mythical Nordic welfare state firsthand.

Director & scriptwriter: Pihla Viitala
Producers: Elise Pietarila, Oskar Forstén
Production company: Gimmeyawallet Productions
Support sum: 150,000 €

Carmen is the coming-of-age story of a resourceful girl who is passionate about dancing. This dynamic documentary follows a fearless Finnish Romany girl for seven years on her way to adulthood.

Fat Dance (Aika paksua)
Director & scriptwriter: Kirsikka Saari
Producer: Marianne Mäkelä
Production company: napafilms
Support sum: 33,000 €

My Choice (Mun oma päätös)
Director & scriptwriter: Karoliina Gröndahl
Producer: Kirsi Mattila
Production company: Icebreaker Productions
Support sum: 105,000 €

Omid – Hope (Kurkien äiti)
Director & scriptwriter: Iiris Härmä
Producer: Visa Koiso-Kanttila
Production company: Guerilla Films
Support sum: 90,000 €

The 90-year-old nature conservationist wants to see her object of the protection one more time: the last crane of Iran, Omid. Omid – Hope is a film about the relationship between man and nature, the joy of life and the position of women in Western and Iranian culture over the last hundred years.

Director: Olavi Linna
Scriptwriters: Olavi Linna, Oskar Forstén
Producer: Oskar Forstén
Production company: Polygraf
Support sum: 110,000 €

Pariah is a film about power and powerlessness, about truths and myths and the stuff in between and how a stubborn and resilient housewife took on the entire world to make a point.

Director & scriptwriter: Panu Suuronen
Producer: Susanna Lasarov
Production company: Aito Media
Support sum: 110,000 €

The Sparrow (Varpunen)
Director, scriptwriter & producer: Virpi Suutari
Production company: Euphoria Film
Support sum: 120,000 €

A documentary about young people who are defending one of the last coniferous forest areas in Europe. It’s a morality play and a love story of a younger generation whose main location and object of love is the Finnish forest. The protagonists come face to face with the Finnish forest industry and a deeply rooted national ideology of the forest as a foundation for the nation´s economic well-being. As a protest against the deforesting, a new forest movement called Forest Rebellion was born 2021.

Director & scriptwriter: Maija Hirvonen
Producers: Juha Löppönen, Sami Jahnukainen
Production company: Mouka Filmi
Support sum: 110,000 €

Unelmaa kohti
Director: Joonas Berghäll
Scriptwriters: Joonas Berghäll, Hannes Vartiainen
Producer: Joonas Berghäll
Production company: Oktober
Support sum: 100,000 €

Short Films

White Trash
Director: Teppo Airaksinen
Scriptwriter: Melli Maikkula
Producers: John Lundsten, Melli Maikkula
Production company:
Support sum: 100,000 €