UPDATE NOV 18, 2013
UPDATE NOV 10, 2013:
TOM the Movie crowdfunding has ended. Thank you everyone for supporting the movie! We didn't exactly meet our goal, but don't worry! Every cent donated will go to actual pre-production of the film.
See you soon!
TOM the Movie tells the story of how the artist Touko Laaksonen, who needs to hide his sexuality, becomes an international gay icon, Tom of Finland. The movie is an international independent feature film produced by Finland based Special Film Company. The movie will be filmed in the summer 2014 and released worldwide in the early 2015.
This movie needs to be as uncompromising, passionate and bold as Touko's art was. To make a striking picture that Tom's men everywhere can be proud of, we need to look beyond traditional sources of funding. Crowdfunding has proved its power to make independent and daring stories to come true. That's why we have decided to rely on the awesome community surrounding our production to ensure complete artistic freedom to re-create Touko's fantasies on screen.
Until the year 1971, being gay in Finland could land you in jail for years. There was a boy born in 1920. In his childhood he drew pictures of naked men. While drawing, he wore only leather boots. As a young man he fought in the war and had sex with his fellow soldiers, both Finnish and German. During his adulthood he lived a double life: by day, a talented advertising artist and a pianist, by night a genius creator of erotic drawings. We remember him through leather, huge muscles, even larger cocks and humour -- empowering the masculine gay man. You know the artist Tom of Finland. Now meet Touko.
The movie is set in the 50's, when Touko became Tom. The era is an unspoken chapter in Finland’s history. Thousands of homosexuals were arrested in police raids and house searches, people were sentenced to jail for years, and those caught had their names published in the newspapers. Many couldn't cope with the shame of being exposed and committed suicide. We want to make the truth about our history known and tell everybody that no-one needs to be ashamed of who they are anymore.
Touko himself is an interesting character in a society where homosexuals are often stereotyped as people who have more in common with the opposite gender, than their own. Touko was a decorated war hero, a pianist and composer, a sophisticated, travelled man and a successful advertising artist. For the young women of Helsinki, he was the most eligible bachelor in town. This masculinity and immense charm, coupled with his modesty, is something that really fascinates us.
We want to expand the boundaries of the Finnish movie industry, both in style and content. We do feel that to be true to Touko’s story the language of the film has to be Finnish. However, we are making a visually stunning film where action speaks louder than words. We are making a movie that doesn't look or feel like it was produced in a small northern country. We like to sum the style of the film with the words "Boogie Nights meets The Pianist".
The movie is an unauthorized biographical film about Touko Laaksonen and the Tom of Finland Foundation is not involved in the project. We want to make sure that the film is faithful to Touko’s character and his life, thus we have consulted his close friends while working on the script. They have told us that Touko would be proud of the story and the overall style of the film. They’ve also told us that he would have had a good laugh reading it. That means a world to us.
Olli Rahkonen as Touko Martti Manninen as Veli
OLLI RAHKONEN - Touko Laaksonen / Tom of Finland
After several appearances in television series and short films, Olli made his debut on the big screen as the male lead of the acclaimed feature film, 3 Simoa, in 2012.
MARTTI MANNINEN - Veli, Touko´s lover
Martti has received praise for his leading role in the play, Blood Brothers, at the Tampere Theatre. He has starred in various short films and will get his acting degree from Tampere University in 2014.
We are highly passionate new wave filmmakers of Finnish cinema. We feel it's a shame that in many ways, Touko's art is still a taboo. We want to change this by making a bold, exciting and sexy movie, something that has not been seen in Finnish cinema before.
We have burning, passionate love for the subject. We have a dynamite first draft of the script. When finished, it will blow your mind. TOM the Movie teaser has been watched by more than 200 000 people who all want to see this film. Our social media is buzzing with roughly the population of Lithuania. We have gathered a team of top-notch professionals from all walks of life committed to the project. The team has already been working for a year to make the film happen. The things we've done so far include background research, script writing, finding suitable partners for the cause, shooting the teaser, building websites, launching a crowdfunding campaign and organising an exhibition celebrating Touko’s art.
To make Touko's fantasies come alive we need your support. Think about a crowded circus tent with trapeze artists having sex in the air as the audience roars in applause. That's Tom. That's what we want to bring to you. With your help we will make it happen.
The money raised from this campaign will go to funding pre-production. We want to create Touko's world as authentically as possible. That means endless hours of working on polishing the script, weeks of scouting locations both in Finland and abroad, seamstresses working for months to make clothes, designing sets and drawing storyboards to create a unique visual style, actors training intensively for the roles, casting for the smaller parts, etc. All this work needs to be done before we start shooting in the summer 2014.