Tom of Finland one of one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century LGBTQ culture is finally making it on to the big screen. A new biopic by Award-winning Finnish filmmaker Dome Karukoski is about to have its U.S. premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival where it will play in the International Narrative Competition.
Touko Laaksonen (aka Tom of Finland) was a decorated army officer, who returned home after a harrowing and heroic experience serving his country in World War II, who then found life in Finland during peacetime equally distressing. He found post-war Helsinki rampant with homophobic persecution, and gay men around him were being pressured to marry women and have children, and he found refuge in his liberating art: homoerotic drawings of muscular men, free of inhibitions.
However it is only when an American publisher sees them and invites Tuoko over to the West Coast that his life really takes a turn. Finally being able to walk free and proud in Los Angeles, Tuoko dives head first into the sexual revolution, becoming an icon and a rallying point. His work – made famous by his signature ‘Tom of Finland’ – became the emblem of a generation of men and fanned the flames of the worldwide gay revolution.
Laaksonen died in 1991 aged 71 but his work not only remains popular today but it has become officially recognized and accepted by the mainstream art community and pieces of his work can be found at Museum of Modern Art in NY and the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA.
The movie is expected to have a theatrical release in select cities later in 2017.