An initiative of the EU MEDIA Programme with the support of the Italian Government Since 1992 MEDIA Salles has been promoting the European cinema and its circulation at theatrical level
One-way ticket to Mombasa

Original Title

Menolippu Mombasan
Director Hannu Tuomainen
Genre Comedy / Drama
Country of origin Finland / Norway
Language spoken Finnish
Year of production 2002
Admissions 102,211 (Finland)
Vironkatu 11
FIN-00170 Helsinki - Finland
Phone +358 400 475 285
Fax +358 2 748 2360
Domestic distribution

Box 7064
Sørkedalsveien 10D
0161 Oslo - Norway
Tel: 23 36 66 80
Fax: 23 36 66 81

Phone: +358 99742 04 430

Domestic release 6 September 2003
Sales agent

Döbelnsgatan 24
SE-113 52 Stockholm - Sweden
Phone +46 8 673 9981
Fax +46 8 673 9988
Website :

Contact: Mr Michael Werner, Sales Director
Direct phone: +46 8 673 99 80


Laon International Film Festival for Young People 2003, France (Grand Prix), Festival International Reel To Real International Film Festival for Youth and Families 2003, Vancouver, Canada (Best Picture Award from the Youth Jury), Prize at Fabu Film Festival 2002, Sandnes, Norway (First Prize and Audience Prize), Children and Youth Film Festival JUST FILM 2003, (Part of the Black Nights Film Festival) Tallinn, Estonia (Main prize of the Youth Jury), Prize at MEDIA Salles - Eurokids Award 2003, Giffoni, Italy.

This film is one of the Giffoni Film Festival selection for the participants at "Focus on Europe - Kidflix Special".

Official website


List of Distributors
Country Distributor Phone
Finland Nordisk Film +358 99742 04 430
Sweden Nordisk Film +358 99742 04 430
Norway Nordisk Film +358 99742 04 430
Denmark Nordisk Film +358 99742 04 430
Estonia Nonstop sales +46 8 673 99 80
Iceland Nonstop sales +46 8 673 99 80



Pete, a skilful 17-year old amateur guitarist in a school band, loses his consciousness in the middle of the band's gig. The diagnosis is tough: the doctor cannot say for sure whether Pete will live to see his 18th birthday. On the hospital ward Pete meets his new room mate Jusa, a master of black humour who grew up in a borstal. One night, encouraged by Jusa's 18th birthday vodka, the boys decide to take night leave. Jusa has a fixation, connected to a song with the same name, to see the hot beaches of Mombasa before he might die. Pete instead wants to go and confess his love to Kata - his dream girl from school. The guys bungle their way through Finland towards Kata's summer job in Lapland with two tickets to Mombasa in Jusa's pocket. Jusa with his Freedom!-attitude leads them from one trouble to another. In Jusa's company Pete tastes the kind of life that he never experienced in his safe middle-class home - and how much fun there is around.


Interview : Hannu Tuomainen - director of MENOLIPPU MOMBASAAN

When and how did you decide to make films ?

I got the first idea for ONE-WAY TICKET TO MOMBASA eight and a half years ago. Almost too long-time-ago…Naturally in-between I have worked with other projects, like producing couple of short films, some directing and works in TV, not to mention the huge project, POIKA JA ILVES (Tommy and the Wildcat), my first feature as producers, which took three years of life.

In my previous shorts, I have had a theme of the end of childhood, as well as the life of teenagers in-between of youth and childhood, and felt that I should complete this in-a-way-trilogy, and tell a story about the changes when one turns from 17 years to 18, from youth to adulthood.

When in period of thinking of what kind of story might describe this painful but rewarding period of life, I was in a car accident. I fel a sleep while driving, found my self inside pure white snow not knowing where I was or what had happened. Physically I was ok, but few days later came the shock: I had almost died, and I had forgotten the meaning of every day, every moment. And thereafter the few weeks I re-evaluated my values, my … well, everything.
And this intensity of every moment I had not felt since I was young. When I was 17-18. There I had found the foundation of the story of MOMBASA, where a nice, middle-class, easy going teenager, Pete, finds out he has cancer - and no doctor can say how much time there is left.

You did some short films, you worked for the tv and you did your first feature film. Are all these experiences and evironments really different ?

Yes and no. In all these, the bottom line to me is to tell a story. Though, in a feature film, the length of the package of 90 minutes is unique. Every second has to have really a motivation, and every inch of the screen has to be filled with meaning - and entertainment at same time.

In a feature, compared to TV (shorts are for also TV, mainly), I also feel the responsibility of giving the audience a special ride they should be willing to go out and see, willing to pay, and be happy afterwards they got it. In TV, the programs are send out anyway, but in cinema, it has to delivery.

And furthermore, in cinema, I feel that I can really communicate with the audience, catch them (if skillful enough) emotionally, give them something, really share something.

What are the positive and negative aspects when you're a director in Finland ?

Positive side is that the branch is small, and things are not that complicated as might be in bigger countries. Well, that is of course two sided edge, since everybody knows everybody basically, and sometimes there is not enough space to cross expectations. And the worst thing is the since of audience, or market. Only 5 million people speak Finnish, and the language is a big issue in international distribution, if you wish to work with main stream stories, like I do. The primary audience is limited as well as the budget one is able to work with.

What is the film MENOLIPPU MOMBASAAN about ?

The story is about Pete, 17-year old ordinary school boy, suddenly loses his consciousness. The diagnosis is tough: the doctor cannot say for sure whether Pete will live to see his 18th birthday.

On the hospital ward Pete gets Jusa for a roommate, a master of black humour. One night, encouraged by Jusa's 18th birthday vodka, the boys decide to take night leave. Jusa has a fixation to see the hot beaches of Mombasa before he might die. Pete instead wants to go and confess his love to Kata - his dream girl from school.

The guys bungle their way through Finland towards Kata's summer job in Lapland, with two tickets to Mombasa in Jusa´s pocket. In Jusa's wild company Pete tastes the kind of life and fun that he never experienced in his safe middle-class home.

Once up north Pete confesses his love, but not his illness, to Kata. Departure to Mombasa is due soon. Pete will have to face the decisions of his life. Thematically it is a trip from being 17 to grow up to 18. And about carpe diem, nomather of age.

How did you choose the actors?

There are no educated professionals at this age group of +/- 18, so you just have find the right character to play a certain character. I test shot over 500 youngster, with an eye to first, if the person to play the role has something similar to the character in the script. And then, if he or she is able to relax in front of camera, not to act, but just be. And fotoscenique. And most important, if I can sense charisma.

You are also the co-writter of the script, do you think that it gives something more to the film ?

That you're probably closer to the story? When the director is involved in the script, he is involved all the way. With this project I also noticed the danger of getting lazy: to be blind that you have once thought it thorough, then as if it was there. No, director has to turn the ideas of script to visual story telling, full fill every picture that is shot.

During the making of the film MENOLIPPU MOMBASAAN, was there a moment that you prefered ?

I love screen writing, that is - I think - the most difficult, but also the most rewarding stage in a project. And actually, most important. Though, the intencity you are inside in the story during the shooting period, is something really special.

And afterwards, mayby most importantly, in the first screening, sitting amoung real audience and hearing them laughing, getting involved with the story and characters - and mayby some tears falling down …

To your opinion, what is the finnish movie industry situtation nowadays ?

Improving all the time. I still remember mid 90s when national audience hated Finnish films. There has been a big attitude chance among film makers, as well as financiers. We feel that the films should be made for audience. This may sound stupid, but this was not the situation some years ago.
What we still need, and should really fight for, is to increase the national subsidy support to the level of our Nordic neighbouring countries. We are a shamingly far from them.

What are the three finnish films that someone should absolutely see ?

This is difficult...ok, Mikko Niskanen´s Eight Deadly Shots… then…

What are your current and future projects ?

Besides directing and script writing, I love producing. Now I have just started a one year commission as teaching producing as lecturer in the Finnish film school, at University of Art and Design. So far during my 10 years of career, I have been lucky, or block head, enough to do what I really want to do, is this is one of those things. After that, I´ll see how ONE-WAY TICKET TO MOMBASA has done with audience and then decide what to want next.

Interview by Vincent Lefrançois - 2002