I Wonder Pictures is teaming up with Finland’s It’s Alive Films for The Player

Italian company I Wonder Pictures has co-produced Finnish comedy The Player ahead of its release at Haugesund’s industry sidebar New Nordic Films.

The company will also handle local sales. The project is directed by Teemu Nikki and produced by It’s Alive Films’ Jani Pösö.

“I consider Teemu Nikki to be one of the best European directors. He’s brilliant, productive and never ceases to surprise,” said Andrea Romeo, General Manager and Head of Acquisitions, I Wonder Pictures diversity.

“I think his cinema is increasingly appreciated around the world and also in Italy. His films always address important issues while maintaining the perfect balance between black comedy and auteur cinema. It is also a great pleasure for us to work with a producer like Jani and a company as renowned as It’s Alive Films.”

The Finnish duo have just been nominated for the Nordic Council Film Awards, also in Venice, for their previous film The Blind Man Who Didn’t Want to See Titanic.

Her 2017 release Euthanizer was selected as Finland’s Oscar entry, while children’s film Snot & Splash is already in the works and promises to deliver another dark twist as its protagonists take a break from their vacation and save need to keep the world from being sucked into a black hole.

In “The Player,” about “the cheapest driver in the hearse business,” gambling meets unlikely friendship when two men – “Tom of Finland” Pekka Strang and Jari Virman – find themselves in a dead end.

“It’s probably the best film we’ve made so far,” said Jani Pösö, noting his and Nikki’s characteristic “entertaining approach to deadly serious subjects.”

“The main character, played by Pekka, is addicted to gambling. He has a brain but no heart, and his only friend discovers that his brain only works at 15% capacity. It’s based on a true story that Teemu read about: A man was living a normal life, had a headache, went to the doctor and discovered it. We call him the 85% Brainless Man.”

The film will talk about gambling or addiction in general from Strang’s character’s perspective.

“I wanted to do a comedy about an addict. About a man, Risto, who lies, steals and uses everyone around him and whose only friend is a man with no brains, Arto. And of course I wanted to surround them with death, so I made them hearse drivers,” adds Nikki, who also wrote the story.

The player

Photo credit: Jari Salo

“Risto destroyed his life all by himself and Arto lost his family, his job and his home because he suddenly became a prankster. Every morning they wait for someone to die to get money so Risto can play.”

Then they come across an underground casino where the game of Russian Roulette is played. Your new job is to take care of the players’ corpses.

“The film is going to be another pitch black comedy that will make you laugh and cry,” he says.

“I would even call it a super pitch black comedy. With some action thriller elements. These guys end up playing with their own lives!” Pösö remarked, adding that the project was “different but the same” for the company.

“You could say that we tend to have abnormal projects and normal projects, and this one is more or less normal. But here too we try to find new ways of telling a story.”

“We know how serious Pekka and Jari are about their work. They really want to develop their characters, so Teemu made them do it very early on. Normally you never have time to rehearse – we’re not in Hollywood. Though they probably don’t have the time either.”

But the new project also has a bittersweet side. Her longtime collaborator, cinematographer Jyrki Arnikari, passed away in the summer, and The Player was his final credit.

“He was a friend and a kind of mentor to us. It’s sad, but I’m glad we were able to do this together,” Pösö admitted. While the team has already shot a demo, principal photography will begin in October, with the premiere slated for 2023.

“We hope it’s just the first co-production with I Wonder Pictures,” Pösö said.

“It’s a new chapter for us and our way of making films. And it feels good.”

https://variety.com/2022/film/festivals/teemu-nikki-alive-the-player-1235348516/ I Wonder Pictures is teaming up with Finland’s It’s Alive Films for The Player

Charles Jones

Charles Jones is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Charles Jones joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: charlesjones@24ssports.com.

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