After Tale of a Lake, Marko Röhr is preparing Tale of a Lapland Mountain
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- In 14 weeks of domestic release, Finnish producer Röhr’s first full-length documentary has risen to number one on the local all-time chart
Mainly involved in production, with 38 films to his credit, Finnish producer Marko Röhr – co-owner of Helsinki’s MRP – Matila Röhr Productions – has also started directing, and his first full-length documentary, Tale of a Lake, which was launched domestically on 15 January and is still among the top 15 films in the chart, has beaten all previous performance records for local documentaries.
Co-directed by Kim Saarniluoto, the MRP – Matila Röhr production deals with the thousands of lakes that Finland is known for, ranging from crystal-clear springs to the basins of the big lakes, revealing a new world of underwater nature, told through old tales and beliefs based on myths and legends in Finnish mythology.
“The success of Tale of a Lake is quite extraordinary – last time a documentary film even came close to these admissions in Finland was before the time of VHS in the 1970s,” said Katarina Nyman, managing director, distribution at Nordisk Film Finland, which recorded 131,745 admissions for the film in early March.
Then it topped the recent documentary charts, ahead of Jukka-Pekka Siili’s 2013 documentary on famous Finnish hockey player Teemu Selänne, and Kim Saarniluoto and Ville Suhonen’s Tale of a Forest (2012). Now, having sold 162,716 tickets and still going strong, it has also beaten Romano Vanderbes’ This Is America (1978) and Torgny Wickman’s The XYZ of Love (1972), which reached 139,357 and 143,100 admissions, respectively.
“This big interest shows how dear we Finns hold our nature and our lakes, and how important it is for us to know our people’s old beliefs and myths – our roots,” explained Röhr, who is already preparing a follow-up for MRP – Matila Röhr, Tale of a Lapland Mountain, which will go into pre-production later this year, to be ready for 2019.
“There has never been a feature documentary focusing on Lapp nature, filmed in Finland’s truly last and most mythical wilderness: the mountains, lakes and rivers of Lapland. One of the biggest challenges will be getting all the equipment up there, where there are no roads or other accessible paths. On the other hand, I am so happy that we can be sure of having snow all the time when filming,” he concluded.