This year, the Espoo Ciné Award, which is presented for the third time, goes to Aamu Film Company. Founded in 2001, Aamu has been one of the most internationally successful production companies in the realm of new Finnish cinema. The films produced by Aamu have been prominent representatives of new Finnish cinema at the most significant international film festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Berlinale, and IDFA. Over the span of about twenty years, the company has produced over 30 films, both feature-length and short films, encompassing fiction, documentaries, and television series.
Several new films from Aamu's production will be featured in the festival program. The main Espoo Ciné Award screening will showcase "Mummola," the debut film by Tia Kouvo, which premiered at the Berlinale. The film portrays disturbed family dynamics during a three-generational Christmas gathering. Additionally, the festival will present "Frankie Five Star," a German-Finnish co-production directed by Birgit Möller, making its Finnish premiere, as well as "The Lumberjack's Tale," directed by Mikko Myllylahti, which received recognition at Cannes last year.
This year, Espoo Ciné organized the Your Ciné idea competition for the second time. It is an initiative in support of more diverse cinema and is intended for individuals whose stories are not adequately represented on the big screen. Students and emerging creators whose works have not been previously published are eligible to participate in the competition. The 2023 competition was targeted at representatives of sexual or gender minorities operating in the Nordic countries or the Baltic region. The honorary mentions were awarded to Lassi Hautamäki and Michelle Siriya-Orenius.
The grand prize, a monetary award of 2500 euros, was won by Maaret Louhelainen with her proposal Echo Beach - me ei mennä ikinä naimisiin (Echo Beach - We Will Never Get Married).
Photo: Carla Pekander