Timo Vuorensola doesn’t need long introductions. He’s known especially for directing movies and being a member of Älymystö.
Mesikämmen decided to ask few questions from Timo. In the following interview Star Wreck, Iron Sky, Laibach, Älymystö, Nazi UFO’s, Nazi’s in movies, Sarah Palin and her supporters, Pekka Siitoin, and many other subjects are covered.
Ladies and gentlemen, Timo Vuorensola speaks!
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If this interview could take place anywhere, anytime, real or imaginary, where would we sit now making this interview?
I’d pick some nice, cozy pub in Tharbad, Cardolan. That’s in Middle-Earth, of course. And year would be around 1650 Third Age.
Who are you, what do you do? What did you do before Iron Sky that made you a celebrity?
I’m some kind of a all-round-random-shit -guy who just ended up focusing on film. I’ve been interested in anything, from writing to music, from graphics to marketing, and have done a many jobs on each of those fields. I used to be a telemarketer before I started filmmaking and financed my ass during the the making of my first film, Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning.
What made you start Star Wreck-movies? Were you a typical Star Trek-fan?
I wasn’t the brains behind Star Wreck-series, before I met him, Samuli Torssonen from Tampere who had been working on Star Wrecks all his life. I joined in first as an actor to Star Wreck V: Lost Contact -short film, and he asked me – because I was always loud and buzzing about the set – to direct the second. I hadn’t directed anything of that scale before, but decided to take the “job” (not like anyone was paying…).
Regarding Star Trek, I hand’t seen even one full Star Trek episode before I started working on Star Wreck, and didn’t get around to watch the series until years after I had already finished my work on Star Wreck. Maybe it was good, brought the film a bit above the typical fanwank level of fan films on the Internet.
Who are your favorite Star Trek characters and why? The first or the next generation? Deep space nine?
Now that I’ve seen every episode of Star Trek (me and my girlfriend took a 1,5 year Star Trek marathon, watching every episode (729 episodes) and every movie (11 movies then), I find myself a “first generation” -guy, meaning the Original Series is the one that speaks loudest to me, although every other series have had their awesome bits. And out of all the characters in Star Trek, I’d go picking Kirk, Spock, Data and Archer. They all are interesting, stand-alone characters that really bring incredible flavour to the series.
What are your all time favorite movies and directors, top 10? Why these directors, movies?
Top-10 is rather hard, but let’s give it a go:
1. David Lynch – For the freedom of expression.
2. Ridley Scott – For the science fiction mindset.
3. James Cameron – For the beyond-this-world visions.
4. Stanley Kubrick – For the best films I’ve seen in my life.
5. Gus van Sant – For the challenging topics he tackles with such ease.
6. John Cameron Mitchell – For the best film I’ve seen in my life (Hedwig and the Angry Inch).
7. Peter Jackson – For being the guy I want to be one day.
8. Darren Aronofsky – For the darkness, and the light at the end of the tunnel, that turns out to be a train of horrors roaring at you.
9. Steven Spielberg – For my childhood.
10. Terry Gilliam – For taking us on a ride out of this world.
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Iron Sky and things related
Where were the seeds of the Iron Sky planted? I recall some mentions about sauna…
Yeah, we were sitting in a sauna, a bunch of us, and friend of ours, one of the writers of Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning suggested we should do a film about Moon Nazis. He had been reading bout this conspiracy theory and thought it might turn into something interesting. First we of course were just laughing about it, but the more we thought about the topic, read about it and researched it, the more we realised there could be a story there.
Turun Hengentieteen Seura made notions about sending metaphysical magical signals into the collective field of human consciousness as the real origin for Iron Sky. What is the truth about the matter? Did you feel some odd itching in your head when the idea came to you?
Yeah, but we believed it to be just dirty nerd sweat exiting our bodies in the heat of the sauna, but apparently, well, that’s what it was then.
What do you think of the Nazi-UFO-mythos in general? What do you think, is there is any base to Nazi’s having had man-made UFO’s?
Absolutely, there’s quite a lot of photographic evidence of a saucer-shaped ships being tested by Nazi scientists and later these researches found their way to USA where they were taken even further. I assume the problem eventually was that there was no way to create an energy source that could take the advantage of the saucer shape, and the research was abandoned, after Roswell accident, and all the focus was put into building a space rocket based on V2 technology.
Your take on UFO’s in general?
Whatever saucer-shaped there’s flying it’s man-made. I’m also a firm believer in life outside of our solar system, even ponder it’s possible to think there could be a form of intelligence, but I highly doubt we’ll ever have any contact with anything more than few worms buried in Mars and weird fishy things in Europa. So, in that way I believe we Earthlings should use our imagination as wide, far and crazy as possible in imagining conscious life out there, since we’ll never find it out anyway.
Why does Nazi aesthetics appeal to the people? What’s the reason behind their appeal to the people nowadays? What do you think of Nazis? Was was the worst and the best in them in your books?
Strength and cool come from strong will and great taste in the visuals. Unfortunately, what’s driving these is an ideology that’s so badly rotten inside it’s not worth celebrating. But Nazi cool can be thanked only by Hollywood film industry, which put these soldiers in pedestal and made them demigods of evil. Mankind loves evil, so we love nazis. What’s always forgotten, and what’s very sad is that Nazis were not ‘evil’, they were just pathetic ignorant mislead shitheads. But you can’t really make a multi-billion branch of entertainment industry based on hunting pathetic ignorant mislead shitheads, they are not fun. Evil is much more fun. Making nazis evil you make them entertaining and making them entertaining you make people want to watch them and pay for them.
What I believe how Nazis should be treated is to be revealed as the pathetic ignorant mislead shitheads they are, so no more people want to follow them, because, who wants to identify being a pathetic ignorant mislead shithead?
I recall there has been some problems in getting the movie distributed, etc. Tell us about that. It must have dealt with the Nazi-dimension of the movie, right?
In the beginning, people were very worried about how we will approach the topic of Nazism, given its’ strong negative baggage, so we did get a lot of interest but a lot of “no thank yous” in the end. It took years of convincing for people to understand that this is a comedy, that it’s dismantling the Nazi mythos not appraising it, and that it’s not making fun of the victims of the Nazis. After this was managed to be slammed into the heads of people, getting the distributors was a bit easier, but for a small marginal european scifi film, it’s never easy.
Eventually, we succeeded, selling the film to theatres in over 60 countries with DVD and VOD finding its’ way to even more. The film is somehow still coming out here and there; just last weekend Hungary released the film to theatres, so there’s some serious longevity in the film.
Have Sarah Palin supporters contacted you regarding the movie? What have they said?
It took them about six months to really form an intelligible response to the film, and it contained a lot of death threats, curse words and Euro-bashing. It was probably one of the best times I’ve had as a filmmaker, reading as some right-wing nutcase found out about Iron Sky, tweeted about it and then the whole republican media on Internet went nuclear.
How you got Laibach to make the soundtrack to Iron Sky? Were they instanty all in for it or was it a matter of negotiations or some such process? Were you a Laibach fan before the movie, an NSK-citizen?
I’ve never been an NSK citizen, but was a big big fan of Laibach since I first found out about them, and was listening to them constantly as I was working and writing Iron Sky. It was one of the initial goals for me production-wise, to get Laibach to do the music, and although contacting them and the initial negotiations were not easy, as soon as we got a chance to meet and talk what the film will be, and how it will be like, they decided to help. And when Laibach is on board, they are on board 150%, and will pull in every resource and bit of energy they have to create something extraordinary.
What do you think of the reception the movie has got? How do you feel about it?
Reception has been mixed. I usually think it’s divided into those with IQ under 100 or above 100. Those above seem to be more likely to get it, those under seem to have hard time getting their heads around it. And, well, of course there’s the film critics, but then again, who cares of them anyway? I’m happy the right people find the film, and I’m happy it has created a huge, intense following that’s going to help us making the sequel, and I promise even the sequel won’t even try to make everyone happy.
What do you think of the movie yourself? What could have been done better, what ended up perfect?
I’m proud and happy of it. Looking back, the more I see what choices we made during the production, the less I think something could’ve been done different. Films are more than sum of their parts, and the magic happens not only as it is written, but also in certain time and space, where no other end result could’ve come out. I could go back and chance this and that, but I fear it would result in a worse film. To me, Iron Sky is perfect as it is, with all its’ flaws, and I wouldn’t really go changing too much. I would’ve liked to stay in the Moon Base a bit more, but we really had to get going with the story around 29 minutes, when we leave the base for the first time.
The movie must have brought you into many interesting situatons. Do you have some special stories to share with us about those? The most surprising, memorable, weird situations?
I’ve had great time with the film’s release. Travelling to tens of film festivals all over the world you get to meet the most amazing people, most interesting world views and end up into strangest situations. Let’s just say I’ve understood that there’s no glamour in film, but there’s something very wicked, dark and perverted in the world of film that’s rather interesting. Weirdest people I’ve met are usually the UFO freaks thanking me for a great documentary.
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What is Älymystö all about?
Älymystö an industrial noise project me and Mr. Haapanen set up some 12 years ago. Our intention was originally only to do few songs and one live show, but it grew out of its’ proportions, and although we haven’t released a lot, and haven’t toured like animals, we’ve established a small niche of which we are proud, and which we are also expanding on nowadays.
What made you interested in industrial music? The biggest influences? Top ten best industrial albums – or other kinds of albums, if you prefer to broaden the question?
Industrial music is also a glance into the dark side of electronic music and metal music, sort of like looking under the hood of what this shit is made of. It has beauty in the crust, rot and malfunctions, and it’s very digiprimitive in its’ nature. Top ten industrial albums listed here:
Laibach: Opus Dei.
Ministry: Psalm 69.
Die Krupps: II.
Alec Empire: Futurist.
Front Line Assembly: Hard Wired.
NON: Music for Iron Youth.
You ”sing” and write lyrics for Älymystö. What inspires your lyrics? What do you want or aim to express via them?
Usually sexual frustration, religious frustration, murder fantasies and some kind of a compilation of these elements.
If you would be either a musician or a movie director (not both) which one you would be?
The best Älymystö album to date, and why that?
Atomgrad is our only full-length album so far, and I’m proud of it. It has a very unique atmosphere that’s unrepeatable.
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What do you think of Pekka Siitoin? What do you think was the best and the worst in the man? What do you think of him, in general?
I think Finland needs these strong personalities, whatever side of the imaginary ‘fence’ they stand. We tend to be a society which ridicules and abhors anyone with unique personality and see standing out as a negative trait. I’m talking of Pekka Siitoin, but also of Spede Pasanen, Lenita Airisto, Jörn Donner and Matti Nykänen to name a few. All of these are interesting people, some are creepy, some just plain insane and some considered intellectuals. What I like about them all is that they give a nice kick in the ass of us Finns, forces us to think beyond the “kahvia-ja-pullaa” universe we so easily float in. So, I don’t agree with Pekka’s views at all, but I respect his uniqueness.
Did you consider having Pekka Siitoin as a character in Iron Sky at any point? Do you consider doing so in the sequel of the movie that is in planning?
Yes, actually we did, at least partially. In the very first draft of Iron Sky, there was supposed to be a character called Pekka Lehto on the Moon, playing much similar character as Klaus Adler is now. His name comes from a Pekka Siitoin – Seppo Lehto -mash-up, and he was to be a crazy son of a bitch nazi, main antagonist of the film. This was a bit before Johanna Sinisalo joined us, though.
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Keys of success, future, etc.
As a creative and successful person, what kind of advice you would give to persons wishing to create something like Star Wreck or Iron Sky? What are the ingredients of success, of making it all come true today? What you would have done differently if you would have had some advice in the early stages of your process? Or is is all just ”try and see”-kind of process?
I like to say that there’s really nothing you can take or achieve to have the qualifications to make a feature film, other than making it. So, I’d suggest evaluate your life and think, would you be willing to do years of work without being paid to become a filmmaker. Most wouldn’t, and that narrows it down to those would. Then, making a film itself is obviously the main task, and only very few really get to finish. And out of those who finish, even smaller portion are willing to do the work it takes to make a film.
First film doesn’t have to be great in every respect, but it needs to show you have the guts to finish a feature film, you have some kind of a vision on what you are doing. So, instead of talking about it, start making a film. And instead of skipping the corners, spend years on it to make it as good as you humanely can. Then, release it and see what happens.
What you would like people to know about you that they haven’t got to know about you thus far via mainstream media?
I’m an egoistic asshole. It helps repositioning me in the field of who’s a great guy and who’s not. I am.
What kind of plans you have in for your near future when it comes to Älymystö, movies?
Right now I’m working on two feature films – Jeremiah Harm, a scifi actioner and Iron Sky sequel. There’s also talks about more films to which I’ve attached my ass to, one of them being I Killed Adolf Hitler, then there’s Deadrise and a bunch of others.
What makes you happy?
Right now, Oranssi Pazuzu. In general, when I’m right and people listen to me and things click. What makes me sad is when I’m wrong but people still listen to me and things fall apart. Both happen at equal intervals.
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Thank you for the interview, Timo!
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Iron Sky official webpage.
Iron Sky in Facebook.
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Reich of the Black Sun.
We come in peace.
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