Dome Karukoski in Jussi Award 2011.
29 December 1976 |
Thomas "Dome" Karukoski (born 29 December 1976) is a Finnish film director. He is considered to be one of the most successful Finnish film directors with over 30 festival awards and having directed four feature films that have sold more than 100,000 tickets – the rule-of-thumb measure for a blockbuster in the territory.
Life and career
In 2009, Karukoski was invited by the President of Finland Tarja Halonen to attend Finland’s Independence Day Ball at the Presidential Palace. This is considered to be a great honour. The President invites artists, athletes, academics and public figures who are highly acclaimed in their profession and have been able to export Finnish culture.
In 2013 The U.S. magazine Variety named Dome Karukoski in its list of 10 Directors to Watch. This was the first time a Finnish director made it onto the list which covers the whole world. He is also the only known Finnish director to win the main award in all of the National Finnish Film -Awards: Jussi-Award for Best Film Lapland Odyssey in 2011, Venla-Award for Best Tv-series with Suojelijat and The Golden Peak -award for Best TV-commercial in 2011 with "MTV3 MAX: Man's road"
His debut feature Beauty and the Bastard (Tyttö sinä olet tähti) showed at the Berlin International Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival in 2006. The film, which stars Pamela Tola, concerns young people in Finland who are caught between conventional careers and more alternative forms of living. The film's score contains contemporary Finnish pop music, particularly hip-hop and rap.
Karukoski then won the Norwegian National Film Prize Amanda sponsored by Canal+ & Svensk Filmindustri AB for best Nordic Debut-Film. Beauty and the Bastard was also nominated in 8 categories for the Finnish National Film Awards: Jussi Award including nominations for Best film and Best director. The film won the Audience Award and the prize for Best Music.
His second feature film The Home of Dark Butterflies premiered in Finland January 2008. It’s a drama about Juhani, a 13-year castaway sent to a home for boys on an island. The Home of the Dark Butterflies was nominated in 10 categories for the Finnish National Film Awards, and this time Karukoski won the prize for the Best Director.
Karukoski’s 3rd feature film Forbidden Fruit premiered in February, 2009. Forbidden Fruit is a coming of age story about two religious girls who are a part of a religious sect called the Conservative Laestadianism. Forbidden Fruit raised a wide discussion of the rights of women among the sect. The film had its world premiere in February 2009 in the Competition of the Gothenburg Film Festival. After that the film was shown in prestigious film festivals, such as Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and Shanghai International Film Festival winning over 15 festival awards. Forbidden Fruit received theatrical distribution in France and Poland. Karukoski was again nominated for the Best director award in the Finnish national film awards.
Dome Karukoski's fourth film is Lapland Odyssey. It is a comedy about three unemployed men setting out to find a digital TV terminal in Lapland. The road trip comedy premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and became the number one box-office film of the year 2010 in Finland  beating such titles as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Sex and the City 2 and Alice In Wonderland. In France the film was distributed widely in cinemas with the title Very Cold Trip. In the German and Austrian cinemas the title was Helden des Polarkreises which is a direct translation from the films Finnish title Napapiirin sankarit which in English means the Heroes of the Arctic Circle.
In August 2011 Karukoski was announced to be the new director in the film about Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, after Hollywood director Renny Harlin had left the project. Mannerheim is seen as the greatest war hero in Finland. The film has struggled for years to get its 15 million dollar budget together. If completed, the film would be the most expensive Finnish film ever.
In 2010 Karukoski wrote and directed a fictional short film Burungo together with actress Pamela Tola. The film handles poverty and the sexuality of young girls in the slums of Nairobi. The word Burungo means both girl and commodity in the street language Sheng which is spoken in the slums of Nairobi which is the capital of Kenya.
His fifth film was Heart of a Lion. A film that tells the story of a Neo-Nazi who falls in love with a woman who has a black son. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013. Heart of a Lion premiered in Finland October 18th and was an instant success at the box office. With over 200 000 admissions it became Karukoski's second biggest grossing title defeating films like Gravity, Thor and Now You See Me. Karukoski was again nominated for the Best Director award in the Finnish Film Awards. With this nomination he is the first Finnish film director ever to be nominated for all of his first five films.
Karukoski has a rare talent of making films both for the audiences and the film critics. After Beauty and the Bastard was released in Finland, Markus Määttänen, one of the most acknowledged film critics in Finland called Karukoski "The saviour of Finnish cinema".
In Finland Dome Karukoski is a household name being a regular guest in radio and TV talk shows. He caused a small ruckus in the Finnish National Film Awards in 2009 when he kissed the prime minister of Finland on the cheek while receiving the Audience Award for the Home of the Dark Butterflies. His comment during the aftermath was: "People in Finland should kiss more".
Karukoski is the son of a Finnish journalist Ritva Karukoski and an American actor George Dickerson. He was born in Cyprus. Karukoski has been very open in public about his childhood when he was bullied heavily in school between the ages 7 and 14. The bullying started after he moved to Finland from Cyprus. Because of his experiences he has taken part of numerous events and projects that are against bullying in schools.
- Beauty and the Bastard (Tyttö sinä olet tähti) (2005)
- The Home of Dark Butterflies (Tummien perhosten koti) (2008)
- Forbidden Fruit (Kielletty hedelmä) (2009)
- Lapland Odyssey (Napapiirin sankarit) (2010)
- Burungo (2011)
- Heart of a Lion (2013)
- Suojelijat (Episodes 2 and 5, 2008)
- Veljet (2008)
- Jenni Vartiainen: Tunnoton (2007)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dome Karukoski.|
- Dome Karukoski at the Internet Movie Database
- Beauty and the Bastard website
- Forbidden Fruit from the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival website
- Lapland Odyssey from the Finnish Film Foundation website