New perspectives and yet unseen stories

WHY TUFFI?

  1. Tuffi was a female circus elephant that became famous in Germany in 1950 when she bolted in a moving suspended monorail wagon in Wuppertal. She trumpeted wildly, ran through the wagon, broke through a window and fell into a river. Tuffi survived the 5-meter fall and died as late as 1989.
  2. Tuffi is the Finnish word for tuff, a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash.
  3. Small sized but giant in courage and tenacity. Feminine version. “Toulouse Lautrec was totally tuffi in the art world and in his personal life.”

VENLA HELLSTEDT

Venla Hellstedt / Tuffi Films

Venla Hellstedt studied literature and film in London and gained an MSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In UK, she worked in a number of documentary, drama and news productions for BBC, ITV and the Discovery Channel. Venla returned to work in her native Helsinki in 2009, after nearly 14 years in the UK, and has since worked as a producer of many award-winning Finnish films and international co-productions. Two of the films that she produced have received the national film award for the best documentary. In 2012, the documentary film Dance of Outlaws was awarded at Locarno IFF. In 2018, her first feature film production as a Producer, Stupid Young Heart premiered in Toronto IFF and received the Crystal Bear in 2019 Berlinale Generation 14+ competition. She has taken part in several international film professionals’ courses, such as EAVE Producers’ Workshop and Crossing Borders.

IMDB

ELLI TOIVONIEMI

KIRSIKKA SAARI

Kirsikka Saari is screenwriter and director based in Helsinki. She was Oscar nominated for the short film Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?. She has written the script for the feature film Stupid Young Heart (dir. Selma Vilhunen), which won Crystal Bear in the Berlinale 2019 and Jussi prize for the Best Screenplay. She has also published a novel Stupid Young Heart. Her first play Depression Comedy premiered in the National Theatre in 2017. Her works as a screenwriter-director include a collection film Force of Habit, which premiered in the Gothenburg Film Festival 2020, and awarded short films After the Reunion and Super Comfort. Her most recent work as a screenwriter-director is a comedy series Carpe F**king Diem! (2020). She has graduated from Helsinki University and ELO Film School Helsinki / Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

IMDB

JENNI TOIVONIEMI

Jenni Toivoniemi is a writer-director. Toivoniemi’s debut as a director, short comedy The Date (2012), won several awards including International Short Fiction Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival and a Special Mention at the Berlinale Generation 14+ in 2013. She has directed several short films, of which The Committee (2016), written and directed together with the Norwegian Gunhild Enger, premiered in Locarno 2016 and The Door (2017) was selected for the national competition of the Tampere Film Festival in 2017. Toivoniemi has also written theatre plays, an audio play and a feature film Korso (2014) together with Kirsikka Saari. Their latest collaboration, children’s film Sihja – Fly With Me will premiere in 2020, as well as her feature film Games People Play.

IMDB

SELMA VILHUNEN

Selma Vilhunen is an Academy Award nominated director and screenwriter of both fiction and documentary films. She is also one of the founders of the production company Tuffi Films. Her latest film Stupid Young Heart won the Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019. Her feature documentary Hobbyhorse Revolution won the Best Documentary Film Prize at the Finnish National Film Awards (Jussi Awards) and got nominated for the European Film Academy’s Young Audience Award in 2018.

Vilhunen’s feature debut Little Wing, written by herself and produced by Making Movies, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2016 and won the Golden Camera Taodue Award for best first or second feature at the Rome Film Fest 2016. The film has also received the Nordic Council Film Prize in 2017. Previously she has directed the short film Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? which received an Oscar nomination in 2014.

IMDB