Marko Leino, based on a novel by Leena Lander
Markus Selin (Solar Films)
Synopsis - The Home of the Dark Butterflies
The principal character of the movie is Juhani, haunted and oppressed by a traumatic childhood experience. After being bounced between foster homes and temporary families for six years, Juhani ends up in a Boys´ Home, The Island. The place is run under the laws and regulations of the superintendent, Olavi Harjula, who is ruthless in his administration. Besides the seven boys and Harjula, the only other inhabitants of the Island are the superintendent’s wife and their two daughters, along with Tyyne, who’s in charge of the livestock and the catering. The isolated community is a world of its own.
The movie forces the spectators to ask themselves; how long do you have to keep paying for past mistakes and deeds? When can you forgive yourself and be set free? Or can you? And are you responsible for other people’s actions?
About the film
'The Home of the Dark Butterflies' is based on Lena Lander’s best-selling novel published in 1991, which was short-listed for the Finlandia Prize. In a rare move, rights to the Finnish novel were acquired by a Hollywood company and Markus Selin, head of Finland’s leading production house Solar Films, was finally able to get the film rights back in 2000. The script-driven producer waited another six years for the right script version, written by Marko Leino ('Me & Morrison'). The young Finnish director Dome Karukoski ('Beauty and the Bastard') was brought on board because he shared with Selin the same vision and desire to shoot 'Home' in an “old-fashioned way” says the producer.
'The Home of the Dark Butterflies' focuses on the 14 year-old Juhani (Niilo Synäoja), who has been oppressed and haunted by a traumatic childhood experience. After being bounced between foster homes and temporary families for six years, he finally ends up in a remote shelter for troubled youth, known as ‘The Island’. The place is run under strict laws by the ruthless superintendent Olavi Harjula (Tommi Korpela). Besides Harjula and seven boys, the only other inhabitants of the Island are the superintendent’s wife Irene (Kristina Halttu) and their two daughters, along with Tyyne, in charge of the catering. As the situation on The Island grows unbearable, Juhani is forced to deal with difficult issues such as forgiveness and responsibility. “What attracted me to the story of 'The Home'... is the strong characters and the idea that even if you’re locked in a prison or an institution, your mind can always be free, and in the movie, there is always hope,” says the producer.
Dome Karukoski said about his film: “Despite hardships and negative feelings one must always try to go on, to get up after being knocked out. That is what this movie tries to say through the stories these dark butterflies, these boys who have been knocked to the ground. Naturally, I want to reach out to a beautiful world in my own way, by trying to give the audience a little smile, a glimmer of hope.”
Released last January in Finland, the film is still playing in the Top 20 and has sold over 130,000 tickets. 'The Home' started its international festival run with Moscow where it screened in the Perspective competition programme in June 2008.
Dome Karukoski – Director
Born in 1976 in Cyprus, Dome Karukoski moved to Finland when he was five. His mother is a Finnish journalist and his father US actor George Dickerson. He studied filmmaking at the University of Art and Design of Helsinki. His graduation film 'Beauty and the Bastard' directed in 2005 went on winning several awards such as the Audience Award at Finland’s Jussi Awards and the Best Debut at Norway’s Amanda Awards in 2006. 'The Home of the Dark Butterflies' is his second feature film. The director has just finished shooting his third film 'Forbidden Fruit' which will premiere in Finland in February 2009.
Marko Leino - Scriptwriter
Born in 1967, Marko Leino has written novels, plays, poetry, children’s books and screenplays and his works have been translated into French, German, English and Hungarian.
His career as a writer kick-started when his first collection of short stories “Miehen tehtävä” (‘A Man’s Job’) was awarded with the Kalevi Jäntti Prize. His psychological crime novel ‘Suspicion’ was selected as one of the most important literary works of 2004, by Finland’s newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, and film rights were acquired by Solar Films.
Leino’s collaboration with Markus Selin and filmmaker Aleksi Mäkelä gave Solar Films some of its biggest box office hits such as 'Matti - Hell is For Heroes', and 'V2Dead Angel'. The three have teamed up again on the upcoming thriller with the working title ‘Hellsinki’, to be released in 2009.
Leino also wrote the screenplay for Finland’s biggest theatrical hit of 2007: 'A Christmas Story' based on his own novel of the same title.
Markus Selin - Producer
Born on March 16, 1960, Selin is the closest that Finland has to a Hollywood mogul. His first steps into film production came in the mid-1980s when he teamed up with his friend Renny Harlin on the English-language thriller 'Born American'. After a few years in Hollywood where Harlin had settled, Selin came back on home turf and founded Solar Films in 1995.
Since then, his company has become the most successful production outfit in Finland in the fields of drama and entertainment. Aleksi Mäkelä’s 'Bad Boys-A True Story' (2003) and 'Vares-Private Eye' (2004), Aku Louhimies’ 'Frozen Land' (2005), and Mäkelä’s 'Matti-Hell Is for Heroes' (2006) were all number one at the Finnish box office each respective year and in 2007, 'V2 Dead Angel' was number two. A proof to his eclectic taste, Selin produced the English language horror film 'Dark Floors in 2007', parallel to 'The Home of the Dark Butterflies'.
Selin is currently in post-production with the Kummeli comedy The Subtenant, in production with Mäkelä’s new thriller Rööperi-Alan miehet (‘Hellsinki’) and in pre-production with one of the most ambitious Finnish film in years: 'Mannerheim', to be directed by Renny Harlin in January 2009.