I worked as script editor on this hit Finnish film over a period of six months, in 2009 (to shooting script). I worked from English translations of each draft, particularly focusing on character (engagement, relationships and functions), structure and tone - with the aim of helping to enable the writers tell the story in the most compelling, effective and dramatically satisfying way.
Released in Finland on 10 September 2010, PRINCESS has been an enormous financial and critical success in its home country, topping the Finnish box office for five weeks, winning numerous awards, including Katja Küttner's Best Actress Jussi ("Finnish Oscar”), and chosen for prestigious international film festivals. PRINCESS also received high praise from audiences during its special screenings in New York, Boston and other select US cities, as part of US film critic Harlan Jacobson’s Talk Cinema programme selection.
The English-language remake rights were picked up by LA-based W2 Media at AFM 2011. The project is now with AMBI Pictures Group (October 2014).
Writers: Arto Halonen, Pirjo Toikka, Paavo Westerberg | Director and Producer: Arto Halonen
Year of Production: 2009 | Country: Finland | Language: Finnish - with subtitles
ABOUT THE FILM
PRINCESS tells the moving story of an individual, judged to be ill by society, whose lovable personality heals and captures the hearts of those around her. As she heals her surroundings more effectively than the prevailing healthcare system, society attempts to suppress this individual’s inner light.
Set in 1940’s Finland, PRINCESS is based on real-life events and a real person. Cabaret dancer Anna Lappalainen (Katja Küttner - née Kukkola), drifting from one foster home to another, ends up in psychiatric care and soon the hospital staff and her fellow patients see that she’s suffering from severe delusions. 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 mission. Her court is comprised of her “lady-in-waiting” Christina von Heyroth (Krista Kosonen), and a group of fellow patients (Peter Franzén and Pirkka-Pekka Petelius, amongst others). Her jurisdiction extends all the way to Kellokoski village and the manager of the local bank (Tapio Liinoja). From the psychiatric hospital, this broken woman finds her true home and builds a family.
The hospital staff, however, can’t agree on whether empathising with Princess’s delusions is the best thing for her. Doctor Grotenfelt (Samuli Edelmann) is a supporter of modern treatment methods, and a new invention, lobotomy, is making its way to Finland.
PRINCESS stars the cream of Finland’s leading actors, and is the fiction film debut of the award-winning documentary filmmaker, Arto Halonen (director of SHADOW OF THE HOLY BOOK, PAVLOV’S DOGS and THE MAGNETIC MAN).
BOX OFFICE SUCCESS
Released 10 September 2010, PRINCESS spent five weeks at the top of the Finnish box office – knocking TOY STORY 3 off the top spot, and keeping highly anticipated films like EAT PRAY LOVE and RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE from first place.
To date, 300,000 people have seen the film (Finnish population: 5.4 million), and it has grossed over $3,000,000 at the Finnish box office.
PRINCESS was the 7th most-watched film in Finland in 2010, and is already projected to be the 4th highest grossing Finnish film of the last 5 years, and one of the top 10 highest grossing Finnish films of the past decade.
Katja Küttner was awarded the Best Actress prize at the Jussi Awards (the Finnish Oscar equivalent – 6 February 2011). She also won the Best Actress award at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, and was voted Film Actor of the Year, by her Finnish acting peers.
Since the film’s release, director and producer, Arto Halonen has been awarded the City of Helsinki Culture Prize, the Finnish National Mental Health Prize and the Finnish Federation for Social Welfare and Health's Civil Action Prize.
PRINCESS was nominated for the Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film, at the Gothenburg Film Festival.
FESTIVAL COMPETITION AND APPEARANCES INCLUDE:
Montreal World Film Festival
International premiere – selected for competition
Norwegian International Film Festival, Haugesund
Chosen as one of the two opening films
Espoo Ciné International Film Festival
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
Katja Küttner winner of Best Actress award
25th European Union Film Festival, Canada
November & December 2010 - Screenings in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver
Art Films Production Website