Tom of Finland director pledges to release the drama film in Russia: 'We'll distribute a pirate version'

Many will be aware of Tom of Finland's iconic gay erotica, but with the release of a new film the art is set to reach a whole new audience. The emotional biographical film, directed by Dome Karukoski  stars Pekka Strang as Touko Laaksonen, a Finnish World War II veteran, whose experiences as a queer man in post-war Europe influenced what would becoming some of the most easily recognisable queer art in the world. In an exclusive interview with Attitude, Karukosku said that when he began making the film in 2011, he had no idea how important it would become by the time of its release six years later. Shortly after work began on the project, the treatment of the LGBT+ community in neighbouring Russia became highly publicised, and it remains an incredibly volatile issue today. "It's a tragedy that when we started making this film we didn't have to tell a political story. In 2011 we were just telling a story about Tom of Finland, but in 2017 it is a political film, explained Karukoski. "It's important it's shown as widely as possible and if we need to distribute a pirate version in Russia, we will," he added defiantly. Tom of Finland is released in the UK on August 11. You can read the rest of Karukoski's interview, as well as chats with Sasha Velour, our 2017 Pride Award Winners and cover star Gavin Hennigan, in August's issue of Attitude - out now. Buy in printsubscribe or download. More stories: Watch the new trailer for coming of age gay drama Beach Rats Gay man tears up discussing the impact Britain’s anti-gay laws have had on his life – WATCH