One night at a hot-dog stand in Finnish Lapland, the commitment-phobic party animal Aurora meets Iranian Darian. Darian needs to marry a Finnish woman to get asylum for him and his daughter. Aurora turns him down, as she is planning to move to Norway, away from her miserable life. However, after meeting his sweet daughter, she agrees to help him. As Aurora introduces numerous women to Darian, the two of them grow close. When the perfect wife candidate comes along, Darian and Aurora are faced with a difficult choice: pretend to be happy or finally stop running.
This is what the jury had to say:
Across Europe, the far right is cashing in on the fear of immigration. Within this climate, director and screenwriter Miia Tervo’s first feature film – a heartfelt story of contemporary pain and joy – Aurora is a healthy antidote to intellectual atrophy. With humanity and compassion at eye level, but without moralism, it shows the equal humanity of flawed people struggling for survival in an urban environment in the far north.
Screenwriter/director – Miia Tervo
Miia Tervo (born 1980) is a writer/director from Finnish Lapland. Her short films have been screened around the world and received numerous accolades. The Little Snow Animal was nominated at the European Film Awards 2010 and won Best Student Documentary at Palm Springs, Santra and the Talking Trees was bestowed an Honorary Mention at IDFA’s Nordic Panorama section, while Clumsy Little Acts of Tenderness won Best Script at the Heart of Gold International Film Festival, Australia and the Audience Award at the 2015 Vevey International Film Festival.
Aurora is her debut feature film. The film opened the Göteborg Film Festival in 2019 and has been screened at a dozen other festivals, such as South by Southwest in Austin, Oslo Pix, and the Edinburgh Film Festival. It was nominated for the Eurimages Audentia Award.
Producer – Max Malka
Max Malka (born 1986) works as a producer for Helsinki-based Dionysos Film. She graduated with a Master of Arts in film production from Aalto University. The producer met director Miia Tervo at film school and collaborated with her on the short film Little Snow Animal (2009). Malka’s production credit includes the children’s film Tatu & Patu, which was the third best-selling Finnish film in 2016, and the web-series Nerd: Dragonslayer666. The series became a phenomenon among youngsters in 2017 and won the Finnish TV Award for Best Children and Youth Series.
Tervo’s debut feature film Aurora has attended more than a dozen international film festivals.
Original title: Aurora
Director: Miia Tervo
Screenwriter: Miia Tervo
Principal cast: Mimosa Willamo, Amir Escandari
Producer: Max Malka
Production company: Dionysos Films
Running time: 106 minutes
Domestic distribution: Nordisk Film
International sales: Level K