Press release 26.11.2010: Film director Arto Halonen has been awarded the City of Helsinki Culture Prize 2010.
The City of Helsinki Culture Prize 2010 was awarded yesterday to director and producer Arto Halonen. The prize, awarded by the city's board of culture and libraries, is worth 10 000 euros. The explanatory notes for the prize mentioned Halonen's remarkable artistic career, not just in Helsinki and Finland, but also in the European documentary field. As a founder of DocPoint - Helsinki International Documentary Festival, Halonen's influence has been important in developing and publicising documentary film.
The explanations also noted the exceptional success, both critical and commercial, of Halonen's latest film Princess, its topical choice of subject matter, and how the film grapples with society's shortcomings in a multifaceted and sensitive way.
According to the prize jury, the quality of Halonen's films is also indicated by his various other prizes and commendations, such as the Finland Prize 2005 and his selection for membership in the European Film Academy. In 2008, the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival honoured Halonen as one of the most significant developers of European documentary film. For instance, Halonen's documentary film Shadow of the Holy Book is one of the most widely distributed Finnish documentary films of all time. The film has been screened at around 100 international festivals around the world, and has gathered numerous awards, such as the Grand Prix at the International Human Rights Film Festival in Paris.
For his latest film -- Princess, his first dramatic feature -- Halonen has been awarded in autumn 2010 the The Finnish Mental Health Association's Mental Health Prize, and The Finnish Federation for Social Welfare and Health's Civil Action Prize, which was given to a representative of the cultural industry for the first time in its history.
The City of Helsinki Culture Prize has been given out since 1963, and was now presented to a film director for the third time. In 1987 the prize was given to Edvin Laine, and in 1996 to Kaisa Rastimo.
Vilhelmiina Vilhunen, Art Films production AFP Ltd