TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


White Hunger

Mikko Kuparinen



Finland, 1867. Harvests have been bad already for a couple of years. Now it is a deadly cold winter and food is in short supply. In the countryside, poor mother Marja (32) and her two children set out to trudge through snowbound forests to beg for food, leaving Marja’s husband behind – while still alive, he is too ill to walk. Meanwhile, in Helsinki there still is food but the privileged people are considering building a wall around the city, so that the poor would not roam in. Their minds are also occupied with different kinds of difficulties than worrying about the poor. Swedish doctor Teo (36) is secretly in love with the prostitute Cecilia (25), about to flee the city with a rich businessman. Teo decides to do everything he can to get Cecilia for himself and that decision may cost him his life. Marja and Teo, while different from each other, both try to fulfill basic human needs in extreme conditions. Eventually, their stories clash together, in a way nobody could have seen coming.


When I read the novel "White Hunger", I immediately knew I wanted to turn it into a film. It was a page turner and a really emotional experience. I felt I could truly connect with the inner conflicts of the main characters and understand their emotional core.

I was happy to find out that the book has been well received also outside Finland. It has gotten rave reviews in every country it has been published and even a nomination in The Man Booker Prize longlist.

A mother has to make the most difficult decision in her life. An impossible situation anyone can relate to and none of us would want to be in. Then the privileged city doctor is like any of us. We feel we are sensible human beings who are worried about things that are wrong in the world, yet hardly a few of us would like to see refugees camping on our own street.

The famine of "White Hunger" happened 150 years ago, but the same dynamics take place today. Circumstances force people to go on the move and to surrender themselves to the mercy of strangers.

"White Hunger" will be an intimate, naturalistic and raw movie with a cinéma-vérité approach. It will be a female-led, Scandinavian survival story, set in a unique cold Nordic landscape.


Deadly cold winter forces the poor farmers to beg for food, while the upper-class cares about its own comfort.
Mikko Kuparinen

Film Director

production notes

directed by
Mikko Kuparinen

produced byLucy Loves Drama
Hernesaarenranta 3 L
00150, Helsinki

in co-production with
Göta Film – Sweden
Beofilm – Denmark

total production budget
€ 2.000.000