Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen scooped the Prix Fipresci, or European Discovery prize at the European Film Awards on Saturday for his debut feature film 'The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki' (Hymyilevä Mies in Finnish).
The film has already been watched by more than 50,000 people, and has won several other awards at festivals around Europe. It is also Finland's candidate for the best foreign language film at the Oscars.
Kuosmanen and producer Jussi Rantamäki picked up the award at a prize ceremony in Wroclaw, Poland, where Kuosmanen praised distributors for their work spreading the film.
"We all know how hard it is to distribute art house cinema today, even in Europe," said Kuosmanen. "We have been very lucky with my producers to sell this film in every country in Europe, about which we are very happy."
"But I also feel very sorry for the distributors because soon, when they are actually releasing the film in their country, they have to face the fact that they are working with a film that is a Finnish debut film in black and white about a boxer that nobody knows."
"So I am very sorry for that and I am very happy to receive this award for them because it helps when they can say 'yeah it won this award'. So it makes it easier to get attention for our film. So thank you for this."
The prize jury is the European Film Academy, which has 3,000 members. The last time it went to a Finn was in 1992, when Aki Kaurismäki won it for his film La Vie de Bohéme.