The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Maki has been put forth by Finland as its official submission for the Foreign Language Oscar race, the Finnish Film Foundation has announced. Directed by Juho Kuosmanen, in 16mm, the black-and-white boxing drama/love story premiered in Cannes in May and won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section. It’s next bound for Toronto’s Discovery strand.

The original screenplay is by Kuosmanen and Mikko Myllylahti and is inspired by real events. It tells the story of Mäki, the first Finn ever to fight for boxing’s world featherweight championship. Distracted by thoughts of a new love, he lost the match humiliatingly in the second round by knock out in front of a packed stadium. According to Mäki it was the best day of his life.

Finland’s B-Plan Distribution released it locally on September 2. International sales are handled by Les Films du Losange; Mubi acquired U.S. rights in June.

The Happiest Day is Kuosmanen’s first feature. He won a Cinéfondation prize in Cannes in 2010 with the medium-length The Painting Sellers. The main cast includes Jarkko Lahti, Oona Airola and Eero Milonoff.

The Finnish jury called the movie “elegant” and a “local true story that the talented filmmakers have lifted to a universal level while also infusing the touching and accomplished film with humor.”

Producer is Jussi Rantamäki for Aamu Film Company.

Here’s the running list of this year’s submissions to the Foreign Language race:



  • 2016 Foreign Language Film Oscar Submissions

  • AustraliaTanna – Bentley Dean/Martin Butler
    Belgium – The Ardennes
  • CroatiaOn The Other Side – Zrinko Ogresta
  • CubaThe Companion – Pavel Giroud
  • FinlandThe Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Maki – Juho Kuosmanen
  • GeorgiaHouse Of Others – Rusudan Glurjidze
  • GermanyToni Erdmann – Maren Ade
  • HungaryKills On Wheels – Atilla Till
  • RomaniaSieranevada – Cristi Puiu
  • Saudi ArabiaBarakah Meets Barakah – Mahmoud Sabbagh
  • South KoreaThe Age of Shadows
  • SwedenA Man Called Ove – Hannes Holm
  • SwitzerlandMy Life As A Courgette – Claude Barras
  • VenezuelaFrom Afar – Lorenzo Vigas
  • SwedenA Man Called Ove – Hannes Holm