Tom of Finland, the critically acclaimed film from well-regarded Finnish director Dome Karukoski about the life and work of local artist Touko Laaksonen, has been picked up by Kino Lorber, which grabbed all North American rights. Karukoski is about to make a name for himself in this country as he was just hired to direct the Keanu Reeves, Isla Fisher-starring dramedy The Starling.

The film is set to have its North American premiere at the upcoming Tribeca Film festival and is, not surprisingly, also in high demand among LGBTQ U.S. festivals. The theatrical release date has not yet been set.

The biopic of the artist known as Tom of Finland has been released only in its home territory, where the picture has been a critical and box office success story. It has taken in about $1M there.

A trailblazing figure in post-World War II erotic art, Laaksonen drew thousands of fantasy-filled, homoerotic images of intensely masculine (and muscular) men, often liberated from the moral codes of their times. Quickly spreading throughout the world, these images went on to play a significant role in the transnational gay liberation movement that continues to make strides to this day, also becoming iconic symbols for generations of LGBT people worldwide.

The deal was negotiated between head of worldwide sales Vanessa Saal for Protagonist Pictures and Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber.

Karukoski has six features to his credit including The Grump (2014), Heart Of A Lion (2013) and Lapland Odyssey (2010).

The film was produced by Finnish production outfit Helsinki Film, with a screenplay by Aleksi Bardy. The cast includes Pekka Strang, Lauri Tilkanen, Jessica Grabowsky, Taisto Oksanen, Seumas Sargent, Jakob Oftebro and Niklas Hogner.

Aleksi Bardy, Miia Haavisto and Annika Sucksdorff of Helsinki Film produced the film. Gunnar Carlsson of Anagram Väst in Sweden, Miriam Nørgaard of Fridthjof Film in Denmark, and Ingvar Thordarson and Sophie Mahlo of Neutrinos Productions Germany were co-producers, in collaboration with Mike Downey and Sam Taylor of Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) UK.