Archive for the ‘The Arts’ Category

“The arts is a broad subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines.” says Wikipedia. And who are we to argue with the collective wisdom of mankind.

Timo Vuorensola interviews Nicolas Alcala, director of The Cosmonaut

April 30th, 2013 by Timo Vuorensola

The Cosmonaut, a Spanish film about Lost Cosmonauts, will have its’ premiere on May 14th. Iron Sky team has been tracking down the production process of this crowdfunded science fiction masterpiece for a several years now, and we are all hyped about the upcoming release.

I had a chance to screen the film in advance, and I can tell you, it’s definitely worth the wait; an instant modern indie scifi classic, right up there with Moon and, well, I’d like to think Iron Sky as well!

We are urging Iron Sky fans, friends and followers share their enthusiasm, that helped us to make Iron Sky such a successful film worldwide, to The Cosmonaut as well. Best way to help out the film is to spread the word (sharing the link to their homepage, for example) and if you are in US, go see the film in one of the Tugg screenings – and if none are available in your area, you can easily create your own The Cosmonaut screening to a theater near you! Just go to Tugg.com and click Create Event on the top right corner of the screen!

The Cosmonaut Trailer (In all your screens – May 18th 2013) from Riot Cinema on Vimeo.

But, as it’s always with films, crowdfunded-, sourced- or plain good old “normal” films (whatever that means), the director is the one who lays down beat, the style and the feel of the film. Meet Nicolas Alcala, a 25-year-old Spanish filmmaker, a film school reject and a university dropout, who rather spent his time making his dream come true – according to his own words, “doing The Cosmonaut was so much fun and a lot more interesting.”

What was the biggest thing that made you realize you want to make this film?

Probably the first time I went to Star City, the real place where all the cosmonauts have been training to go to space since the sixties. It was a hidden city for many years and even now it’s not that easy to get in. Being in that place, which is frozen in time, with all those big training facilities, the military part, all the mockups, the cosmonauts walking around to buy bread at the bakery, or with their kids, the museum… it’s a very special place and I realized there was a huge story to be told about it.

Star City in the distance

You’ve had a long and windy production; what were the highlights and lowdowns you think you’ll remember the rest of your life?

Phew, so little space to write them all! It’s been a roller coaster. When you read all those stories about difficult shootings in films like Fitzcarraldo, Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner… They sound like fun. It’s not so much when all the hell breaks loose on you – but hey, it’s always nice to have enough stories to write one of those books by yourself. I wouldn’t change a single second of the last four years.

The best moment? The first time we saw the ending credits and we realized we’ve made a real film after all. And all the talks and master classes I’ve been lucky to be invited to, that relation with the audience is very special.

The worst is probably the moment when our russian co-producer dropped out a week away from the shooting taking with him 150.000$… but it wasn’t so bad since we asked for help to our fan base and we managed to raise 170.000$ in 3 days.

Talking about crowdfunding and -sourcing – what were the pros and cons of those methods, would you use them in the future, and what’s your take on the future of crowdsourced and/or -funded films?

PROS:

I have made a film.
I have made the film I wanted to do.
I have made it with complete (and I mean it) creative freedom. Not a single producer/distributor/investor up my ass telling me what and what not to do.
I have made it with 5000 new friends I made along the way, who were there for me through the good and the bad moments, and who will talk about their movie much better than I will ever be able to.

And all this allowed us to not only make the film we wanted to, but also to be able to skip the intermediaries if we needed to, to be able to negotiatie in our terms many times and to distribute the film the way we wanted.

All of this ROCKS.

CONS:

Melville once said that your first film should be made out of your own blood. That was definitely our case.
It has been the most difficult challenge of our lives. It has been painful and exhausting and nasty some times.

I would use it in the future but I think it shouldn’t be the basic funding for the film. It should be used to raise a community of people, fund like a 10% of the film and be able to make cool stuff for your fans and raise awareness. Our problem is that since we were going to license the film with Creative Commons and distribute it for free and on a day & date release… every other way of traditional financing came apart and we had to manage with only the crowdfunding funds, which are difficult to raise.

I think, in the future, crowdfunding will be a small part of film budgets and a big one if you are really famous like it happened with Veronica Mars and Zach Braff.

So, if The Cosmonaut is the love child of Tarkovsky and Kubrick, who are the rest of the closest relatives?

There is no way to answer this without looking like an asshole… so I’ll go for Wong Kar Wai and Aronofsky.

Russian space exploration is often easily being overshadowed by American achievements in films. Was this one of the themes of the film?

The first reason to make this film were there characters and the relationship between them. The second was a thing that interested me a lot: the solitude of a man lost in space, hundreds of thousand of kilometers away from home, knowing he is not coming back. Then came all the historical context once I started reading about the Soviet Space Race, which I feel have been totally overshadowed by the American side of the story. There are a lot of fucking epic stories from the soviets and I felt it was a great field to explore.

In the end, not much of the stories ended up in the film, which is focused on the characters, but they are on the 34 transmedia webisodes that we produced, which tell more about how the cosmonauts train and prepare for their missions, and give clues of one of many conspiracies that might have happened without us even knowing.

The Soviet Moon landing

What was the decision behind making the film in English language, rather than in Russian?

When you make your first film, you usually go Kevin Smith -style: 3 characters, a couple of locations, 3 to 4 weeks, your home town – you know, easy stuff, to be able to control as many variables as possible.

I went for a period film, set in Russia, shot in Latvia and Moscow during 11 weeks, with literally more than a hundred locations, with a tenth of the budget you will need to shoot the 90 minutes of the film and more than 200 of the transmedia pieces we shot.

Going for the Russian language, finding the russian actors, having a translator on set, not being able to direct them – that might have been too much for us at that time. So we decided to make it in English and make the film as international as possible.

What’s your take on the Torre Bert recordings, you think they were a hoax?

I think some of the them were probably made up or at least shined up a bit but, hey, who cares? The Cordiglia brothers story is so incredibly amazing that deserves all the credit. I can’t understand why nobody has made a film about them yet. It has everything: young passionate guys in the sixties, secret agents, conspiracies, dead cosmonauts, groupies, love…

Would you participate to Mars One -mission, the mission where you’d be sent to Mars to build a colony and live your life there, but would never have a chance to return back to Earth?

Not in a million years :)
There is a quote in my film which I really relate to, even though all the love I have for space:

Stas – So… you didn’t came to work here because you loved your work?
Yulia – I hate space. There is so much to see down here…

Reading through a crystal ball, I can tell you your near future: you will be running around the world in festivals with the film and being invited to gazillion crowdfunding-, sourcing- and transmedia seminars as a speaker. But what do you envision, how would you ideally see your career grow? Would you rather go towards Hollywood, or focus creating the career here in Europe?

Thanks but no thanks. I love going to seminar and so on, but what I really want to do is films. I believe in this great idea of “one for them, one for me”. I would love to do films in US, which is a little bit more oriented towards the big audiences, and then smaller and more personal films in Europe. At the same time, working in transmedia stories for my own, or someone else’s films. And having fun.

The Iron Sky team wishes the best to The Cosmonaut team for the release. You’ve done a big job so many others only dream of, and I can assure you, the upcoming year is going to be all about reaping what you’ve sown.

Next, we’re going hunting Hitler!

May 28th, 2012 by Timo Vuorensola

While Iron Sky is still very much coming out in all corners of the world, it’s also time to take a little look into the future. Blind Spot Pictures has released its’ future plans, and this is what the slate of upcoming releases looks like!

First and foremost, the leading production we’re jumping into is a time travel action film I Killed Adolf Hitler, which tells a story of a hitman couple sent back in time to assassinate – you guessed it! – Adolf Hitler! The script landed on my lap already quite a long time ago, and unlike many of the scripts that I’ve had the privilege to read, this one was simply terrific. It uses the scifi element of time travel in a very innovative manner, and I got excited about the idea to create the most realistic Hitler in film history, to create him as a full-CG face reconstruction. The story is a great, action-packed drama with bunch of deadpan comedy moments, but underneath it all it produces an epic love story which was the thing I really fell in for with the film.

I Killed Adolf Hitler is a story written by a US writer DC Walker, based on Norwegian comic book artist Jason‘s Eisner-award winning comic book with the same name. Blind Spot has taken the lead in the production, and it’s a co-production between UK (Studio Eight Productions), Finland (well, us) and Germany (Niama Film). We’re looking at a budget that’s a bit bigger than with Iron Sky.

To be honest, I had no intention to do another Nazi-topic film as the one right after Iron Sky, but hell, you rarely get a script that good, and instantly fell in love with it. Wer’re hoping to move forward with the film quite quick, since the story is already in great shape, so it won’t take another millennia to get it to theaters.

Another production we are working on is the scifi series I’ve talked about already during the Iron Sky tour, called Deus X. Discussing with Samuli and the guys, we had the realization that series format scifi is going through a very hard time at this moment, and we’ve always had a big dream to start working on a series. The idea for Deus X is quite simply a religious war in space. We haven’t really released too much about the back story, other than it’s a story on a big war that’s going on over an anomaly in space that’s believed to be the very Heaven itself. Here’s a nice little piece of concept art we created for it – again, awesome work by Jussi Lehtiniemi (the art director of Iron Sky). We’ve also set up a Facebook page where you can log on and start following for now. Bear with us, there’s not much info out there, but will follow.

Both of these productions will end up eventually to Wreckamovie as well, with a bunch of urgent tasks attached, but – again – bear with us, we are a small team and we’re just trying to lift this huge bag of massive stones on our shoulders :)

And, on the topic of Iron Sky - yes, there’s more where that came from, absolutely! We had so much fun with the Moon Nazis, that we want to make more stories on them! And the good news is that we are going to – and not just one, but two things! Iron Sky prequel and an Iron Sky sequel!

To begin with the prequel, it’s been bugging me that we were never able to tell exactly *how* did the Nazis end up on the Moon, and *what* they’ve been doing there all these 70 years. We’ve of course planned a lot of it, but to make it real and make it something really exciting, we’ve decided to begin to work with an Iron Sky prequel series that’s shedding light on these topics. It’s also introducing a bit of background for some of the characters, and will generally be one damn fun ride with the favorite villains from the Far Side.

The sequel itself is a much bigger production, and to assure you, it’s not something we came up after seeing how successful Iron Sky was, but an idea that had been there actually for quite a long time, from the early days of the script development for Iron Sky. We’re keeping a lid on this one quite tightly, but it takes place a bit after the events of Iron Sky, and will be one massive film once we get it to its feet. But with that one, we want to give it good amount of time to develop, so it won’t be hitting the theaters any time soon!

And that’s not all. AJ Annila, who made also films like Jade Warrior and Sauna, is developing the new survival thriller Human with Blind Spot – a story about a wolf that gets bitten by a human, and turns into a man. Yeah, a werewolf story in reverse! And Aku Louhimies has just wrapped shooting Finnish crime drama Never Forever, which will hit the theaters later this year.

So, a lot on our plate at the moment, and a big leap forward, but hell – that’s what we’ve been doing ever since Star Wreck, and will continue on that road. And again, to repeat – I’d loved to have all of you long-time supporters, but as well newcomers, to join the journey. There’s more Nazi – and other – arses to kick, let’s get down to business with it!

Oh, and the Energia guys are still firmly involved – they have just merged with some creepily talented professionals also from Finland and changed their name to Troll VFX. Blind Spot Pictures and Mjölk together with Samuli Torssonen teamed up to form the company and they are working on VFX on advertisements and for sure on all the above-mentioned films! Their webpage is here!

Things looking nice, summer is here, everyone’s losing their winter weariness and we’re doing great in theaters with Iron Sky!

Iron Sky Theatrical Trailer released!

February 8th, 2012 by Timo Vuorensola

Exactly one year ago we wrapped the Iron Sky principal photography in Gold Coast, Australia. It was a very hot day – like it always is, during February – and we had shot a very long day that had unfortunately extended beyond the agreed limits. It was Peta‘s (Sergeant – Vivian Wagner) birthday, or had been the day before, and we had celebrated that by shooting a full one third of the script in one day, all of which had been completely revised the night before. When I finally climbed on the bridge of the U.S. flagship and popped open a champagne bottle after the last shot had been shot, I felt exhausted.

But I had no idea of the year that was to follow. Endless hours sitting in edit, fretting about CGI, about money, about sound, about music… about everything that was to follow. I thought that the biggest job was over. Well, it wasn’t. Iron Sky is a film that shaped during the post production process probably much more than any film made in Finland ever has.

Now, after exactly one year of that day I was standing in front of the remaining cast and crew, and thanking them for the excellent work they had done, I’m happy to present you the official trailer for Iron Sky. Hope you enjoy it.

The concept of the trailer was to try to find the balance between story, action, comedy and drama – just like the film itself. It’s not always easy, since Iron Sky is not a “one-liner” -film, and the comedy relies in the overall work instead of endless row of ridiculous moments. I’m really happy with how the trailer turned out, and Laibach‘s music brings nice boost to it – they’ve composed every bit of the music in the trailer, and before you go all YouTube on me, the song in the end is B Machine from the album WAT, a cover of Siddharta’s original song.

Iron Sky is not a stranger when it comes teasing and trailing the audience. In 2008 we released our first teaser, rather a 2-minute demo of the look, feel and the basic concept than a proper teaser, since not one shot of the film was shot, and the script was still under construction big time.

Teaser 1 was very important for us, it immediately became a YouTube hit, and showed us that the concept and the look and the feel we are aiming for, interests people. The next year we cooked together a Motion Poster, because that was the hot shit in 2009 – nowadays, you don’t see them too much around, but we felt like we wanted to be ahead the curve. Motion Poster did it’s job, and was quite impressive although very simple, and accompanied with our newly-released second teaser poster took it’s rounds in the Internet.

During 2010 we decided that whatever happens, we need to get the damn cameras running, or we would be ridiculed out of the Internet, so we organized a shoot where we decided to shoot one scene of the film, and release in a teaser format. Although original idea was that we would use the material we shot and created for Teaser 2 in the film itself, it turned out that we never did. But it was important to get something out, and the assets we created for the teaser were revamped and used in one way or another later in the film itself.

We started shooting the film itself in late 2010, and finished early 2011. For Cannes (May 2011) we knew that we’d need to put together a new teaser, but now we had a good bunch of actual material we could actually show. We toyed around with several versions for trailer, and even released one version of the trailer for our Sneak Peek audience, which – to our luck – shot it down immediately as too silly, too revealing and just too… not-cool. They were right. So we trashed it, and made a completely new thing, the third teaser, the one with the harrowing “We Come In Peace” -shout and slogan in the end, courtesy of Tero Kaukomaa, who had the idea that it would become a great slogan. It did, and the teaser was really cool, with loads of Udo Kier muttering about Meteorblitzkrieg. It was quite an artsy one, but worked well for us.

Now, as the film is ready, and the actual trailer is out, we’ve gone a full circle. We decided to use the B Machine song again (we already did in Teaser 2) because the lyrics and the style just fits perfectly to the world of Iron Sky, and it’s an awesome, awesome song.

Our aim is to get this trailer out there, and really go and compete our cousins in Hollywood with 10-20 times our budgets. So whatever you think of the trailer, please spread it! Let’s get million views on the trailer before anyone can even realize it’s out there, and from there we’ll march past Battleships and other Scifi megabudgets that are heading our way!

Fight the Goliath, Spread The Word! Let us rule under the Iron Sky!

147 Days To Go: Iron Sky According To Udo Kier

November 9th, 2011 by Timo Vuorensola

I traveled from Melbourne to Los Angeles, which was quite a heavy trip indeed. Riding with Air China Southern first from Melbourne to China (9,5h), and from there to LA (13h), including 3,5h stopover and 3 hours in immigration… Arriving to our joint I felt like I was driven over by a panzerwagon… Anyway, now that I’m here, I’ve been recovering from the time difference, had some meetings and has been doing ADR with Udo Kier. Udo was also kind enough to invite me over to the premiere of Melancholia, a film which I absolutely adored and was completely blown off by it’s excellency, and I even got to meet quickly with lovely Kirsten Dunst <3

Here's one quite a hefty Director's Diary from my great day doing ADR with Udo, where he shares his own view on the story of Iron Sky, and even comes up with quite a good opening for the sequel!

This episode music was provided by a great goth synth pop band from Sweden called Trocadero Strike Force - and they have shared their EP – awesomely named as “Awesome In A Box” – for free on their website. Check them out here!

Also, special thanks to Janne Tamminen for helping me out with the kamerawerks.