Oscars: Finland Selects 'The Fencer' for Foreign-Language Category

Courtesy of Newscom
Klaus Haro

Klaus Haro's drama is about an Estonian sportsman on the run from the Soviet secret police.

A thriller based on a true Cold War story of an Estonian fencing champ on the run from the Soviet secret police, Klaus Haro's The Fencer has been selected as Finland's nomination for best foreign-language Oscar.

Based on an original screenplay by Anna Heinamaa, the film, which premiered in Finland in March, tells the story of fencing master Endel Nelis, who finds himself teaching children in a remote small town while on the run. When the kids push for their fencing team to take part in a national competition in Leningrad, he realizes exactly what he wants to do with his life.

The film, which stars Mart Avandi, was produced by Kai Norberg and Kaarle Aha for Making Movies Oy. International sales are being handled by the Little Film Company.

The nominating jury, made up of film professionals, praised the movie for "its classical and solid storyline," the Finnish Film Foundation said in a statement. It added: "The film manages to find optimism, humanity and beauty in a tragic historical era."

Haro was last selected to be nominated for an Oscar in 2009 for Letters to Father Jacob, a drama about faith and human frailty.