Protagonist Pictures has come on board to handle worldwide sales on Dome Karukoski’s latest project Tom of Finland, a drama about the life and times of iconic Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen. Aleksi Bardy wrote the screenplay for the film which tells the life story a man who would become known around the world by his signature ‘Tom of Finland’.
The cast of the film will be announced at the Berlin Film Festival and production is due to start in the spring in Gothenberg, Sweden. After harrowing experiences serving his country in World War II, Touko Laaksonen, now a decorated officer, leaves behind his sexual encounters with other soldiers only to find peace-time Helsinki rampant with persecution of the homosexual. He finds solice in his liberating drawings. Finland puts the pressure on every man to get married to a woman and have children. Laaksonen’s escapades with men become clandestine. In his homoerotic art he creates a new realm of muscular men, free of inhibitions. This hero’s work fanned the flames of a gay revolution.
“This is the story of a man ahead of his time, bravely standing up against a world virulently against the right to live as you are – to be homosexual with sexual fantasies,” stated Karukoski. “The story shows how literally one person can create change in the world, even with something as simple as a pencil.”
Bardy, Miia Haavisto and Annika Sucksdorff of Helsinki-filmi are producing the film. Gunnar Carlsson of Anagram Väst in Sweden, Miriam Nørgaard of Fridthjof Film in Denmark, and Ingvar Thordarson and Sophie Mahlo of Neutrinos Productions Germany will serve as co-producers, in collaboration with in Mike Downey and Sam Taylor of Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) UK.
“We would be delighted to work with Dome Karukoski on any film, but on a film portrait of the brilliant Tom of Finland, it is especially exciting,” said Protagonist chief exec Mike Goodridge. “This is a film about an iconic and inspirational figure which will find audiences all over the world.”