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Helsinki International Film Festival introduced a competition

The 21. Helsinki International Film Festival - Love & Anarchy launched a competition after operating for 20 years as a non-competitive festival. The Finnkino Prize is a nation-wide distribution contract, given to one of the ten nominees. The winner of the first Finnkino Prize is the Jordanian film Captain Abu Raed (dir. Aman Matalqa).

The audience competition for the Finnkino Prize is arranged in co-operation with Finnkino, the biggest distribution company in Finland. The audience voted for their favourite film from ten nominees shown at the Helsinki IFF.

Captain Abu Raed tells the story of an elderly airport janitor, whom the kids in his neighbourhood mistake for a pilot. Abu Raed doesn?t correct the misunderstanding but uses the situation to tell the poor and abused kids amazing stories about the far away places, that he has never been to. Captain Abu Raed is the first feature film by Aman Matalqa (b. 1976).

Captain Abu Raed also won the Audience Award for World Cinema (dramatic section) at the Sundance Film Festival, earlier this year, and is Jordan?s choice for Oscar Nomination.

The Finnkino Prize winner will be announced at the beginning of the Helsinki IFF's Closing Film, The Class, (dir. Laurent Cantet) and at the screening of the Surprise Film, Rachel Getting Married (dir. Jonathan Demme), on Sunday the 28th of September at 6.30 p.m. Captain Abu Raed will be released theatrically by Finnkino on the 19th of December.

Helsinki IFF took place in Helsinki from 18.-28.9. The 21st edition of the festival had more visitors than ever before. In total more than 48 000 tickets were sold. The previous record, 45 500 tickets, was from the previous year's festival.

Broader programme, more screenings and advanced online ticket sales helped to make the festival bigger than ever before. The opening film, Coen-bros' Burn After Reading was sold out in a couple of minutes. Other audience favourites included the Love & Anarchy gala screening of Wong Kar-wai's Ashes of Time Redux, Blindness, A Complete History of My Sexual Failures, Gomorrah, The Wackness, Helvetica and the closing film The Class. AJ Annila's Sauna was the best selling Finnish Gala screening ever.

Some of the festival films are screened this week in Tampere, Lahti, Jyväskylä, Hämeenlinna and Kajaani. The Love & Anarchy Tour consists of about twenty films from this year's festival programme.

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