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Press release 12.01.2011: Princess nominated for world´s largest film prize

Arto Halonen’s film Princess will compete against seven other films for the world’s largest single cinema prize, the Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film at the Göteborg International Film Festival. The amount of the prize has been increased tenfold since last year, to one million Swedish crowns (about 112 500 Euros), making it reputedly the world’s largest trophy for a single film. Princess is the only Finnish film nominated for the prize. Three of the nominated films come from Sweden, two from Norway, and one each from Denmark and Iceland. 

The Göteborg International Film Festival is Scandinavia's largest film event, and one of the largest festivals in the world, with an audience of 200 000 visitors per year. The festival dates are January 28 to February 7, 2011, and the Dragon Award will be presented at the official ceremony on February 5, 2011. The jury for the prize will be chaired by Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic, winner of the best foreign film Oscar and the Cannes Film Festival Screenplay Award for his 2001 film No Man's Land. 

Princess has already made a strong impact internationally. In December, Princess and Katja Küttner (née Kukkola) were honored with the Best Actress Award in the highly competitive Tallinn Black Night Film Festival EurAsia (the festival’s main competition). Earlier, Princess celebrated its world premiere in August 2010 at the Montreal World Film Festival, an A-list competitive festival, appearing in the competition series for feature-length debut films. Princess was also the opening film for the Norwegian International Festival in Haugesund, as part of the New Nordic Films event. Currently the film is touring the United States via the well-known film critic Harlan Jacobson’s Talk Cinema program. The tour has already shown Princess in New York, Boston, Chicago, and the Napa Valley. Next, the tour will continue to Philadelphia, Washington DC and Minneapolis. 

In Finland, Princess has been a great domestic success. It was the seventh most-watched theatrical film of 2010, and during its ongoing cinema release it has already collected more than 281 000 spectators. For her lead role in Princess, Katja Küttner received the 2010 award for Best Actor (including both male and female actors) from the Finnish Acting Guild. 

Director Arto Halonen has also received a number of prestigious awards related to Princess. These include the 2010 national prize from the Finnish Association for Mental Health, and the 2010 Civil Action Prize from the Finnish Federation for Social Welfare and Health. In addition, the City of Helsinki has awarded Halonen the 2010 Cultural Prize. 

Princess' story is also featured in a book, written by Ilkka Raitasuo and Terhi Siltala and published in August by Like Publishing. Since its release, the book has quickly become one of the best-selling nonfiction books in Finland, with over 20 000 copies sold to date. 

Princess is based on real-life events and a real person. Cabaret dancer Anna Lappalainen, drifting from one foster home to another, ends up in psychiatric care. She claims to be "Princess," a member of the English royal family from Buckingham Palace. Although Princess herself numbers among the patients, helping others becomes her life's mission. Her court is comprised of her lady-in-waiting Christina von Heyroth, and a group of fellow patients. Her jurisdiction extends all the way to Kellokoski village and the manager of the local bank. From the psychiatric hospital, this broken woman finds her true home and builds a family. The film's roles feature the cream of Finland’s leading actors, including Katja KukkolaKrista KosonenSamuli EdelmannPirkka-Pekka Petelius and Peter Franzén

The other films nominated for the Dragon Award are: King of Devil’s Island (Kongen av Bastøy), directed by Marius Holst (Norway); Truth About Men (Sandheden om mænd) directed by Nikolaj Arcel (Denmark); Brim, directed by Árni Ólafur Asgeirsson (Iceland); Apflickorna (She Monkeys), 
directed by Lisa Aschan (Sweden); Happy Happy (Sykt Lykkelig), directed by Anne Sewitsky (Norway); Odjuret (Savage) directed by Martin Jern & Emil Larsson (Sweden); and Jag Saknar Dig (I Miss You) directed by Anders Grönros (Sweden). 

Göteborg International Film Festival: 
http://www.giff.se/ 

Dragon Award nominated movies – full list: 
http://www.giff.se/us/public/the-festival/dragon-award.html 

International Federation of Film Producers’ FIAPF's festival listing: 
http://www.fiapf.org/intfilmfestivals_sites02.asp 

Talk Cinema: 
www.talkcinema.com 

Press material:
www.filmikamari.fi
 
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Further information: 
Vilhelmiina Vilhunen, Art Films Production AFP Ltd 
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