AUDIENCE AWARD: U.S. DRAMATIC, PRESENTED BY ACURA, U.S. GRAND JURY PRIZE: DRAMATIC
Oliver, 11, (Esa Nikkilä) loses his parents in a car accident. He refuses to mourn and instead, starts investigating the cause of the accident. As he investigates, he meets Joonas (Kari Hietalahti), an alarm system salesman, and an unexpected friendship evolves.
Over one summer Oliver also gets to know two extraordinary older men, Jaakko (Esko Salminen) and Rafu (Sulevi Peltola), who run an old cinema together.
Despite the film’s gloomy starting point, Boy Upside Down is a warm and positive survival story full of quick twists and turns, and proof that life goes on, even though sometimes the going gets tough.
Juha Lehtola, born 1966, is a film and theater director and writer. Having also directed for TV, his work includes, amongst others, a TV mini-series based on the novel Harjunpää and the Hunger for Love (Harjunpää ja rakkauden nälkä) and the made-for-TV movie Woman in the Meadow (Nainen kedolla). He has also written several TV movies for director Matti Ijäs and has worked as one of the directors for the TV series Tehdas. Juha Lehtola has directed a number of plays for the Finnish National Theatre and KOM-teatteri and is also a long-time lecturer at the Theatre Academy Helsinki. His plays have been translated into English, Hungarian and Polish, amongst others. Lehtola has received the Prix Italia award, the Critic’s Spurs award given by the Finnish Critics’ Association and four Venla Awards, the Finnish equivalent of the Emmy Award.