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“Crowdfunding is becoming more common and better defined”

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Tero Kaukomaa • Producer


- In the run-up to the first edition of Brussels’ Frontières Market, Cineuropa talks to Finnish producer Tero Kaukomaa, who is preparing the sequel to his genre hit Iron Sky

Tero Kaukomaa  • Producer

On the eve of the first edition of Brussels’ Frontières Market, Cineuropa talked to Finnish producer Tero Kaukomaa – awarded Finland’s Producer of the Year 2012 for Timo Vuorensola’s Iron Sky [+see also:
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interview: Tero Kaukomaa
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interview: Timo Vuorensola
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– about the challenges of the new genre-film financing panorama. Having also worked on non-genre films – Lars Von Trier’s Palme d’Or-winning Dancer in the Dark, among others – with his production company Blind Spot, Kaukomaa gives a valuable insight into today’s industry. 

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Cineuropa: What are the biggest improvements and differences that have been made between the production of Iron Sky and that of Iron Sky 2?
Tero Kaukomaa: The biggest difference concerns the distribution. Our problem with the first Iron Sky was that we managed to create a worldwide community, quite a strong, active and large one, but we didn’t manage to make the film available globally at the same time. It was something I knew beforehand was going to be a big challenge, and I was disappointed to see how difficult it was. That is what we are now trying to overcome with Iron Sky 2. This time we have enough power to guarantee and organise a global, simultaneous release. We are still at an early stage, developing the script and preparing the financing, but it is in good shape. We are now building new tools for the collaboration with the audience – mainly crowdsourcing and crowdfunding possibilities. My aim is to finance the film in such a way that I can create my own principles for distributing more effectively.

Do you think crowdfunding is the solution for financing such projects?
It is one of the solutions. Crowdfunding is becoming more common and better defined, but it is still not suitable for many of the projects in the market. In this way, it is still limited, but it is something that works for a certain kind of project – as it did with Iron Sky. Through that, I’m also trying not to bind myself to a distribution deal, like we had to do with the first film. The common distribution deal limits the possibilities of creating a global release. One of the big questions is how to finance the film in order to do that. I’m putting a lot of effort into creating an interesting crowdfunding campaign, and on the other hand, I’m not signing any traditional distribution deal if that doesn’t fulfil our needs for distribution.

What about the importance of post-production?
It is important. First of all, those films are very post-production-heavy; we’re doing a lot of visual effects, and it is a big part of the whole production. The shooting is really important, of course, but then you can enhance everything later. At the post-production stage, you gather the material and you can start the communication with the audience, by showing them what you have done. But before getting to that stage, you need a budget in order to get through the production, which is still something that you need to guarantee before you can even start the film. 

Is there a big difference between producing genre films and producing non-genre films?
There is a big difference in terms of finding your audience. The genre-film audience is much more identifiable and reachable through the internet. You can find these communities who like them. It’s more challenging to get international attention for a Finnish drama, for example. 

Does public support play an important role in genre-film production?
That may be one of the challenges when talking about genre films. In many countries in Europe, public funding for genre films isn’t well positioned when compared to traditional films. In Finland, where I come from, and Scandinavia in general, the situation is better than in other countries, such as, for example, Germany. I know it’s quite a challenge for many producers to get the funding. It’s also getting better there, so I have the feeling we’re going in the right direction. We have been good frontrunners in Scandinavia. 

What is the idea behind Nordic Genre Invasion?
It started at the last Cannes, with a group of five producers we’ve put together to create synergy. We had a joint office at the festival, and that was the start. The basic idea was to create a marketing brand and a distribution platform – which I also call a “distribution avenue”. Nowadays, technically, you can already distribute your own films, digitally, on the internet, but the question is the marketing – how to draw attention to it, as there are thousands of films out there. In Nordic Genre Invasion we want to achieve that sense of a brand, to make a strong mark by letting the projects help each other, to gain more visibility. It’s a marketing brand, and the idea behind it is to encourage collaboration between Nordic projects, producers and filmmakers.

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