Hymylievä Mies

Finland, Germany, Sweden


Everything is set for Olli Mäki to become the first ever Finn to be the world champion in featherweight boxing. His manager Elis Ask – a former boxer himself – has prepared everything for them to reach fame and fortune. All Olli has to do is lose weight and concentrate. But he has a problem – he has fallen in love with Raija.

Director's Statement

The basic mood in THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI is light. Although it’s a story about an existential crisis and finding oneself, it is crucial to the narrative that we don’t wallow in the mud but instead, fly like a kite. The prosperity of my graduation film, THE PAINTING SELLERS, put me in a rather distressing situation. After it had won the 1st prize in the Cinéfondation selection of the Cannes FF and I was promised, as part of the prize, that my first feature film would have its international premiere in Cannes’ official selection, I was regarded as a “promising young director” in Finland. I remember sitting at my writing desk, mumbling and thinking about what exactly I had promised and whom. Of course, I also found it very flattering, but as the time went by, I started to feel more anxious about the fact that there were people out there, people I did not even know, expecting me to do things that I was not prepared to do. I had burdened myself with the idea of meeting expectations, which I started to feel under my skin. I was able to reason that the burden of keeping the customers satisfied was merely in my own head, but still, the truth was that my creativity and capacity to get excited about filmmaking had hit bottom.

The idea for THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI came along as a solace to this distressing situation. The film is inspired by a true story, and Olli Mäki is still a well-known Finnish boxer today. At the very beginning of his professional career, Olli got the chance to fight against the ruling featherweight world champion at the time, the American Davey Moore. And then, in front of a packed stadium, he lost the match humiliatingly in the second round.

Later on Olli Mäki would say it was the best day of his life.

Director's Biography

Born in 1979, Juho Kuosmanen is a Helsinki-based filmmaker. His previous short films have won several prizes at acclaimed festivals including Cannes’ Cinéfondation and Locarno. He graduated from the ELO Helsinki Film School of Aalto University in 2014. Along with his studies, Kuosmanen has also acted and directed stage theatre and worked closely with the avant-garde opera ensemble West Coast Kokkola Opera.

2008 - CITIZENS, short
2007 - ROADMARKERS, short

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Juho Kuosmanen

Written by: Mikko Myllylahti, Juho Kuosmanen

Produced by: Jussi Rantamäki

Cinematography: J-P Passi

Editing: Jussi Rautaniemi

Production Design: Kari Kankaanpää

Costume Design: Sari Suominen

Make-Up & Hair: Salla Yli-Luopa

Original Score: Miika Snåre, Laura Airola

Sound Design: Pietu Korhonen

Cast: Jarkko Lahti (Olli Mäki), Oona Airola (Raija Jänkä), Eero Milonoff (Elis Ask)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Discovery - Prix Fipresci 2016
  • Feature Film Selection 2016