What Became of Us: The Attack of the Amateurs!

October 3rd, 2009 by Essi


On Wednesday was the premiere of a Finnish indie movie What Became of Us. This was actually the second screening of the film in Finland since it was also shown to a sold out theatre in Love & Anarchy film festival a couple of weeks ago. The Zombies were invited to the premiere and after seeing the movie I felt compelled to spill my guts about the experience.

First off you should know that What Became of Us is a no-budget movie that is completely independently made. There is no distributor, no professional actors or even professional film makers involved. Regardless of this What Became of Us is one the best Finnish movies I have seen in years. It is not even in comparison to most of the so-called professional films that are produced in Finland each year. And do you know why? The answer is simple; the movie actually manages to move, make you laugh and surprise you. This is unfortunately more than I can say about most Finnish movies.

It was clear from the beginning that the movie is made with love and true passion for film making. Even the opening speeches felt different and I could have listened them for hours. The true power of the movie comes from the amazing script, combined with great acting and of course the directors ability to tell a story. It’s the perfect example that you don’t always need money to make a great film, after all it’s about telling stories and telling them well.

What Became of Us is a movie about friendship. It’s a tale of gathering of the former elementary school classmates. At the climax of the story is the class reunion, set on a cruise ship. In the chilling night even the most kept secrets of the past are revealed by the salty sea wind. Only the debt of gratitude of one bullied young man can save the classmates from certain death. Check out the trailer below.

The film is directed by the multi-talented Miika Ullakko, who is also responsible for writing the script and playing one of the lead characters. The movie is more or less a sequel to his award-winning first feature film Graffiti Within, that was also made independently and with only 2000 euros or so in 2006. Here is the trailer, unfortunately I couldn’t find one with english subtitles.

For the past few days I’ve been asking myself what is the difference between an amateur and a professional film maker? The description for amateur from Wikipedia says: “An amateur is generally considered a person attached to a particular pursuit, study, or science, without formal training or pay. An amateur receives little or irregular income from their activities, and differs from a professional who makes a living from the pursuit and typically has some formal training and certifications in the domain. Translated from its French origin to the English “lover”, the term “amateur” reflects a voluntary motivation to work as a result of personal interest in the activity.”

Of course these are just words and pointless titles per se, but as long as you a considered an “amateur”, finding a distributor for your film can be very difficult. If your movie isn’t funded trough governmental money, you don’t exist basically. Even if you have made the best movie of the year, you can’t get help for example making a film print to send to festivals, or you don’t get considered for the Finnish Oscar, the Jussi Award. This doesn’t seem quite right…

I admire the spirit and determination of the film makers and actors involved in What Became of Us. I for one am inspired and a bit more hopeful about the future of Finnish cinema.

Unfortunately I don’t have any news on when or where you could see this movie, but as soon as I do, I will be sure to post it here. Until then visit the official site for more info. And stay tuned for more coverage on these guys and their plans for the future.

(Via ZombieRoom – btw, we just refurnished and redesigned the blog a bit, go and have a look!)

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One Response to “What Became of Us: The Attack of the Amateurs!”

  1. Robukka says:

    Speaking of independent creative successes anxious to find an audience and a living:
    I have just seen the most phenomenal animated movie I feel compelled to share. Amazingly it is a real one-man production (save for some vocal talents).

    “Archon Defender” by David T. Krupicz from Canada
    http://archondefender.blogspot.com/ (he links to Your blog so it could be that you are already familiar)

    Well I ordered the DVD only to find out that he just released it on YouTube, the whole 65 minutes.