The Finnish film Little Wing (Tyttö nimeltä Varpu in Finnish) has won the 2017 Nordic Council Film Prize!

Directed by Selma VilhunenLittle Wing tells the story of 12-year-old Varpu (Linnea Skog), who is rapidly approaching motherhood while her mother, Siru (Paula Vesala), refuses to grow up. One night, Varpu has had enough of her horse-riding friends and her mother. She steals a car and drives north in search of the father she has never met. Finding him awakens something in both Varpu and Siru, and they begin to realise the roles they play in each other’s lives and in the world.

Little Wing is Selma Vilhunen’s feature debut. Earlier this year she released her documentary Hobbyhorse Revolution and is currently working on a new film called Stupid Young Heart. 

The motivation for the jury’s choice is the following:

“In Little Wing Selma Vilhunen manages to capture big and fundamental emotions using very small gestures, and proves that she has a sensibility as a director and screenwriter beyond the ordinary. She cleverly plays with how girls and young women are often treated on film, and every time the audience senses and expects a threat to the main character Varpu, Vilhunen lets her – both literally and figuratively – steer away from the clichés. Soft and capable, Varpu roams a world where the characters are allowed to be real people who are both good and bad, and where their surroundings are simply a setting but never a theme. In Little Wing the jury found moments of pure energy and cinematic gold, and we want to see more.”

You can read our interview with Selma about Little Wing here.

The other films nominated were Parents for Denmark, Heartstone for Iceland, Hunting Flies for Norway, and Sami Blood for Sweden. You can watch all the trailers for the films, and learn more about the award, here.

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.