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Finnish filmmaker adds Zurich award to growing list of accolades

Finnish filmmaker Juho Kuosmanen landed another major international film honour when he nabbed the Golden Eyes award in the international feature film category at the Zurich Film Festival Saturday night. His film, "The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki", previously snagged a prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and was shortlisted for a nomination in the European Film Awards.

Hymyilevä Mies
A scene from Juho Kuosmanen's "The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki". Image: Kuokkasen Kuvaamo

Juho Kuosmanen emerged winner of the Golden Eyes award in the international feature film category at the Zurich Film Festival Saturday night.

Kuosmanen’s film, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, beat 13 other titles to capture the cash prize of 23,000 euros and a distribution deal.

The black-and-white movie is a re-telling of a true story, the prelude to the 1962 world featherweight title championship face-off between country baker Olli Mäki and American reigning champion Davey Moore.

Kuosmanen had previously the top prize in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ category following its screening at the Cannes Film Festival in May this year. The film was also a nominee for the Golden Camera award at Cannes, and received another nomination for Best Film by an Emerging Director at the Munich Film Festival.

Finnish Oscar nominee

The Olli Mäki story is one of 50 titles listed for a nomination in the European Film Awards. Kuosmanen is in elite company – he’s competing against the likes of internationally acclaimed Spanish screenwriter-producer-director Pedro Almodóvar, recommended for the film Julieta.

The nominees will be selected by the 3,000-member European Film Academy and will be announced on November 5 during the Seville Film Festival.

Finland has officially nominated the Kuosmanen film to compete in the Best Foreign-Language Film category at the upcoming Academy Awards due to take place on February 26.

Kuosmanen has managed to sell the rights for the film to countries such as the USA, the UK, Germany and France.

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