FilmSharks has picked up world sales rights to Finnish children’s film “Snot & Splash: The Mystery of Disappearing Holes.”
“It was a bidding war. They got offers from everybody,” said FilmSharks CEO Guido Rud.
“Snot & Splash” (“Räkä ja Roiskis”) is produced by It’s Alive Films – founded by director Teemu Nikki and Jani Pösö – and set for distribution in its native Finland (Scanbox), Scandinavian sub distribution by Sweden (Folkets Bio) and Norway (Norsk Filmdistribusjon), and Italy in the spring (I Wonder Pictures).
Poland’s Orka and Post Control Helsinki are also on board.
“We are very proud to be working with one of the most creative of Finnish production companies. Most great scripts and ideas are coming from Finland right now. It’s one of the hottest creative hubs,” adds Rud.
The deal was signed during the Locarno Film Festival, where the film premiered as part of Locarno Kids Screenings.
The adventure comedy marks a new step for It’s Alive Films, known for Oscar submission “Euthanizer” – where “the village pet-snuffer grows increasingly disdainful of human life,” wrote Variety – “The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic,” lauded in Venice, or Canneseries winner “Mister 8” about a woman sharing her life with seven men. That is, until the next one comes along.
“Teemu had a kid and went: ‘I am ready to do this’,” laughed Jani Pösö.
“We already made ‘LoveMilla,’ a sci-fi comedy about love, robots and bodybuilding for tweens. We thought: ‘If we can make this kind of content that matters and travels, why not make it for kids, too’?”
Nikki added: “I wanted to make a family film in my own style, which means it’s a film for humans. Not just ‘small humans,’ otherwise known as kids.”
In the film, brothers Snot and Splash are on a mission: they are trying to catch a thief who is stealing holes in the sleepy town of Mouthwater. But there is much more at stake, as the entire world could be sucked into a collapsing waste disposal system.
“It was the case also in the original books: there are strange things happening in a normal town. I mean, we have a demented dentist [played by Pekka Strang] who has invented all this cyberpunk technology. But otherwise, it’s perfectly normal,” says Pösö, referring to the works of Juice Leskinen the film is based on: a writer, but also a well-known Finnish musician who got the biopic treatment in 2018 “The Ragged Life of Juice Leskinen.”
“We had to let go of many good ideas, because it would have been too much. Luckily, our screenwriter Ilja Rautsi is very good at keeping chaos at bay, same goes for Teemu and me. It’s about the holes, but then also about kids allowing themselves to be kids and the power of imagination. Also, the mayor [of Mouthwater] is dumping all the trash on the neighborhood town! In a way, you could say it’s based on real stories.”
“At last, a film for the whole family from the people who brought you ‘Euthanizer’ and ‘Night of the Living Dicks’,” jokes Rautsi, who directed the Romero-spoofing short. He is also behind the Sundance discovery “Hatching,” which he co-wrote with Hanna Bergholm.
“Leskinen’s books are low on plot but high on verbal puns, so the fun challenge was to come up with a clear throughline while adapting to the pace of this constant stream of ideas. The absurd tone dictated everything, basically, and my lofty goal was for every joke to be smart enough for kids and dumb enough for adults,” he noted.
The team decided to embrace practical effects in the film.
“You could move the robots with a remote control, you could touch the ‘hole-stealing’ device. Actually, the device spoke Italian,” says Pösö, also opening up about its unusual soundtrack.
“The music is composed by 12 young composers from all over Europe. It’s a project called Soundtrack Europe, led by Italian composer Marco Biscarini. It was recorded in a baroque church in Rovigo and it was an incredible experience.”
He would like to continue following Snot and Splash, he says.
“The question is: Should we do a sequel and a series? Now that this world has been established, there is a good team in place to make another one.”
Future remakes are also being considered.
“Snow is exotic, but holes aren’t. Every country has holes,” he adds.
“I hope this film will stick around for a very long time and that kids will want to see it again. They are the only sane people in the film and it’s the short-sightedness of adults that’s causing all the problems. The new generation? They see right through it. Which, in a way, makes it a very positive story.”
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