From 29 April to 8 May the annual Europe on Screen festival will take place in Indonesia, and this year Finland will contribute with two award-winning films, one of them starring American Hollywood star Samuel L. Jackson, known for “Pulp Fiction” and “Django Unchained”. He plays the President of America in the Finnish drama “Big Game”, directed by Jalmari Helander. Here he is helped by a young teenager, played by Finnish Onni Tommila, in the woods, after his aircraft has been shot down by kidnappers. Plunged into a deadly game of cat and mouse, the boy and the president must team up to survive. Jalmari Helander has already received many awards and acknowledgement upon his film, latest in the Finnish Jussi Awards 2016, where “Big Game” had six nominations, and won the award for “Best Sound Design.”
The 8.5-million-euro budget of Big Game is the largest in Finnish film history. In another victory for superlatives, it has also secured the widest distribution deal ever for a Finnish film in the US.
“It’s been a long road to get here, to be able to do Big Game, which is a totally different Finnish film than anyone has ever done,” Jalmari Helander said in 2015.
“There were a lot of people along the way saying that it isn’t possible, but here I am .. I think it’s really good for people to see that it’s also possible to do something that is not the usual way of doing things. It might open doors for other filmmakers from Finland to be able to create something different,” he added to finland.fi
Onni Tommila, who plays the boy to rescue the President, is the nephew of Jalmari Helander. He was casted by his uncle for the movie, and like his uncle, Big Game was his first film ever. According to Samuel L. Jackson, the back then 13 year old Finnish first time actor was a little nervous.
“He was great. He’d done Jalmari Helander’s first film, and there was a family dynamic there. He came to work, every day, ready to work and was really prepared. He was a little nervous on the first day, and I helped him get over that by saying, “Look, man, we’re here to have fun. I’m an actor in this movie, just like you. I’m not a big movie star. I’m just a guy doing a movie with you. We’re the same. So, let’s go. Let’s have some fun,” said Samuel L. Jackson in an interview to Collider.
Being lost in the woods and having no power, only a meaningless title, Samuel L. Jackson didn’t think his President role was very “presidential”. “It’s an interesting little film for kids who are tweeners, in that particular place where they want to be something, but they don’t believe, or people around them don’t believe, that they can. And here’s an opportunity to see somebody who might be in the place that they’re in, and it’s set in the middle of a big adventure story,” he told in an interview to Collider.
The movie was released 19 March 2015 in Finland, and on 26 June 2015 in the US.
Finland will also contribute with Absolution, directed by Petri Kotwica, to the Europe on Screen film festival 2016. It is a drama, where me meet Kiia and Lauri on their way to the hospital, Kiia being in premature labor and holding the wheel, but the car hits something. Lauri assures his wife nothing happened, and after Kiia gives birth to a baby boy at the hospital, she befriends Hanna, whose husband is in coma. Apparantly, her husband is the victim of a hit-and-run driver.. Kiia helps Hanna without revealing her role in the accident, but when the truth finally dawns, will it be too late to forgive? Finnish actors Laura Birn, Mari Rant asila, and Eero Ah star this drama.
Big Game will be screened in Tangerang on 30 April and in Jakarta (open air screening) on 7 May, and Absolution will be screened in Jakarta on 3 and 6 May 2016.
All screenings are free.
Sources: www.europeonscreen.org, www.collider.com,
All photos are from www.europeonscreen.org