Sauna is AJ Annila's second genre film after his Finnish/Chinese Kung Fu movie Jade Warrior. It is a horror film about sins and forgiveness, bathing in the Finnish sauna culture, in the no-zone between Christianity and paganism.

The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2008 and continued its festival tour with 30 different destinations. It won the Main Prize the Riga International Fantasy Festival in March 2009 and the Special Jury Prize at the Brussels International Fantasy Festival a month later. It was acquired by several English language territories including the US (IFC Films).


Year 1595. The long war is finally over. Brothers Knut and Erik, members of a commission marking the border between Finland and Russia, commit a terrible sin when they leave a young girl to die a horrible death. As they cross an uncharted swamp, the girl returns to haunt them, her face pouring endless filth. Seeking forgiveness, Knut and Erik step in...

Director - Aj Annila

Born in 1977, AJ Annila graduated from Tampere School of Art and Media in 2002, with a thesis on Hong Kong action films. His first feature, the Kung fu fantasy film Jade Warrior (2006), was the first-ever co-production between Finland and China. Sauna is his second feature. Annila is currently developing for Blind Spot Pictures a ‘Ninja Musical', and Adrift produced by Dimension Films.

Scriptwriter - Iiro Küttner

Iiro Küttner is an accomplished writer who has been working on a dozen film and TV productions in Finland since the beginning of the 90's. Top Finnish directors he has been associated with include Jukka-Pekka Siili, Saara Saarela, Pekka Lehto and AJ Annila for whom he wrote Jade Warrior (2006) and Sauna (2008).

Producer - Tero Kaukomaa

Tero Kaukomaa has over 20 years experience as a producer. His company Blind Spot Pictures is one of the most prolific and successful in Finland, with strong ties across Europe. Award-winning filmmakers he has been working with include Auli Mantila (Geography of Fears), Aleksi Salmenperä (Producing Adults, A Man's Job), AJ Annila (Jade Warrior, Sauna) as well as Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark) and Jan Troell (Everlasting Moments). Since 2002 Kaukomaa is based in Zürich, Switzerland. He co-owns the Helsinki-based production company Bronson Club.

Producer - Jesse Fryckman

Jesse Fryckman runs the Helsinki-based production company Bronson Club, founded in 2007 with producer Tero Kaukomaa. The company specialized in multi-platform productions and feature films. AJ Annila's Sauna is his first feature film. New projects include the innovative theatrical sing-along children's animation film Ella and Aleksi.

Key production information

Original Title - Sauna

Director - AJ Annila

Scriptwriter - Iiro Küttner

Producers - Tero Kaukomaa, Jesse Fryckman

Production company - Bronson Club

Film length - 80 min

Finnish distributor - Sandrew Metronome Finland

International sales - Bogeydom Licensing