Helsinki, February 20th, 2009
After the world-wide success of Christmas Story, The Finnish Film Foundation (FFF) has awarded a historical $1 million (€800,000) of advance funding to director Juha Wuolijoki's second feature Hella W, produced by Snapper Films.
Based on an original screenplay by Outi Nyytäjä, a Finnish intellectual and literary legend, Hella W is set in the most defining decades of European history – 1920s to 1940s.
The drama-thriller recounts the true story of Hella Wuolijoki, the internationally acclaimed businesswoman, playwright and politician, who is determined to leave her mark on the European psyche – in more than one place.
In the beginning of the 1920s she had already made millions, wrote several politically hazardous plays and was under careful observation of, among others, British Intelligence, the Soviet Union and the Finnish secret service.
As the events of the Second World War started to unfold, Hella W found herself in a situation with seemingly no correct choices. She faced the same task as the Finnish agent put on her tail: to find out who she really is, and what she is hiding behind the multi-faceted mask of Hella W, the celebrated writer, millionaire, rejected politician and failed mother.
Wuolijoki's feature debut, Christmas Story, also produced by Snapper Films, was the top-grossing Finnish film of 2007 and sold to 100 countries with theatrical distribution in several territories including China, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Estonia and Canada. Simultaneously with the film's theatrical re-release in 2008, Christmas Story became the first-ever Finnish DVD release to sell platinum.
HELLA W is supported by the Finnish Film Foundation, Yle TV1 and the MEDIA programme. Scandinavian distribution is handled by Sandrew Metronome.