February 13, 2018

Ikitie scoops best Nordic film award in the US

The Finnish film is continuing its road to success.
The Finnish film is continuing its road to success.
Andres Teiss / Matila Röhr Productions

The Eternal Road (Ikitie), the story of one man’s struggle for survival amid political tumult in 1930s Finland, has won the Valhalla Award at the 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The jury acknowledged that the film “told a fascinating story about an unknown period in history, featuring excellent performances, a gripping narrative with wonderful cinematography and production design”.

Winning the award is a great honour, rejoices Ilkka Matila, the producer of Ikitie.

“This is a great honour for us because we are talking about one of the most important film festivals in the United States,” he tells. “Ikitie’s success is an indication that we have made a film of high international quality. This is the outcome when the entire crew succeeds.”

Ikitie is the silver-screen adaptation of a novel by Antti Tuuri. Starring Tommi Korpela, Sidse Babett Knudsen and Irina Björklund, the film tells the story of a man (Korpela) who is abducted by nationalist thugs and transported – along a road known as Ikitie – for execution to the border between Finland and the Soviet Union.

The protagonist manages to escape his captors and flee across the border to the Soviet Union, where he experiences fleeting happiness and unimaginable horror.

Ikitie was used by radical nationalists to transport communists and people suspected of communist sympathies to the border of the Soviet Union. Drawing attention to untold historical stories such as this was an important part of the centenary of Finnish independence in 2017, says Pekka Timonen, the secretary general of Finland 100.

“The fates of forgotten Finns on Ikitie are touching and thought-provoking,” he comments.

This is the second time the film has been in the headlines this month, after its global sales were acquired by Stockholm’s Eyewell, which is also taking the film to the Berlin Film Festival.

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