Selma Vilhunen’s debut feature Little Wing (Tyttö Nimeltä Varpu) has been awarded the 14th Nordic Council Film Prize, against stiff competition from Parents (Forældre), Heartstone (Hjartasteinn), Hunting Flies (Fluefangeren) and Sami Blood (Sameblod).
In Little Wing, 12-year-old Varpu is rapidly approaching adulthood whilst her mother, Siru, refuses to grow up. One night, Varpu has had enough so steals a car and drives north in search of her father. Finding him awakens something in both Varpu and Siru, and they begin to realise the roles they play in each other’s lives and the world.
The jury said in their deliberation: “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.”