In one of the past year’s most acclaimed gay films, award-winning filmmaker Dome Karukoski brings to screen the life and work of one of the most influential and celebrated figures of 20th century LGBTQ life.
Known to the world as Tom of Finland, artist Touko Laaksonen shaped the fantasies of a generation of gay men with his proudly erotic and taboo-shattering drawings of testosterone filled, muscle-bound men. But who was the man behind the leather? This stirring biopic follows his life from the trenches of WWII and repressive Finnish society of the 1950s through his struggle to get his work published in California, where he and his art were finally embraced amid the sexual revolution of the 1970s. Tom’s story is one of love, courage and perseverance, mirroring the gay liberation movement for which his leather-clad studs served as a defiant emblem.
Karukoski is one of Finland’s most commercially successful and critically acclaimed filmmakers. In 2013, he was chosen as one of Variety’s Top 10 Directors to Watch (worldwide) and his six feature films have garnered a total of 33 nominations at the Finnish National Film Awards. There, Karukoski has been nominated for Best Director for all six of his feature films and has won the prize twice for Home of the Dark Butterflies and Lapland Odyssey.
Speaking of the film, Karukoski said “This is the story of a man ahead of his time, who bravely fought for his right to be who he was – a gay man with gay fantasies. I hope the film shows how one person can create change in the world, even with something as simple as an artist’s tools. It is a long-overdue portrait of a celebrated artist but it is also, at its heart, a love story. Touko Laaksonen lived a truly incredible life that I am honored to share with the world.”