“In documentaries we have more creative freedom than in the fiction world”
Industry Report: Documentary
Pasi Hakkio • Producer, Wacky Tie Films
The Emerging Producer from Finland talks about how he tries to make films about themes that are important and relevant to him
An interview with Pasi Hakkio, producer for Irish company Wacky Tie Films and selected for the 2023 Emerging Producers programme. Read her EP profile here.
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you see documentary cinema as an instrument of social and political change?
Pasi Hakkio: I have never really decided to produce documentaries. It just happened that the first ideas I liked and got funding for were documentaries. Also, our location outside of the film capital region makes it easier for me to create documentaries than fiction films. Nowadays I really like how in documentaries I am allowed to be part of the creative process through the entire making of the film. I also think that in documentaries we have more creative freedom than we would have in the fiction world. In the first place I make films for people to enjoy watching them. Of course I want to make them about themes that are important and relevant to me. But that is also the case in fiction films. I guess they have formed our understanding of the world even more than documentaries.
Where do you find audiences for your films?
I see that the audience for the kind of content we are producing is very fragmented but also global. In the first place, we are not thinking about the audiences. We just try to make films that we would like to watch ourselves. We are not trying to make something for everybody, but something that is the most important content for someone. That has also worked best for us so far.
We also have to be very happy that documentary films still play a big role on the Finnish Broadcaster YLE where quality documentaries are attracting large audiences. Our big advantage is that YLE was one of the first broadcasters, who made the online platform their priority. That has taught us a lot about how we can get the audience select our content online.
What films have you seen recently and would recommend watching?
My kids are now one and three years old. I recommend to people in the same situation watching short films – very short films!! Luckily I have people around me who are not so far in life and can keep me updated and SEE also longer formats.
What projects do you have underway (including fiction films and other projects
We are just about to premiere with Lynx Man [+see also:
interview: Juha Suonpää
film profile], a documentary by Juha Suonpää. Even if I am living in the middle of the pristine Finnish forest, Juha has managed to show me the forest and the life there in a way that I have never seen. In traditional nature documentaries we are looking at animals, but in our case they are also looking back at us. Juha has worked his whole life around the theme of human-predator relationship. No wonder that, when he heard about a man who can talk with lynxes – the biggest wild cats in Europe living on his yard– he needed to make a film about their common life. Now eight years later Juha has not yet seen any lynx, but that has not stopped us from making a film about them.
I also have a longer relationship with experienced short film maker Risto-Pekka Blom. We have just finished filming his fiction short film Lasse Falls, Oh No! It is a comedy about the relationship between sports, nationalism and power. Although our story takes place in the 1970’s, we are actually referring to today’s world – the world where football is played in Qatar, F1 driven in Russia and Olympic games held in China. I guess that is also what I mean by saying that it is not only documentaries which should be seen as a tool for political and social change.
I also have a long-term project to become the best football goalie in our town. It is not so easy anymore, since even if I am emerging as a producer, as a sportsman I have already entered the senior league. Another project is to reduce car trips by cycling at least 3000 km during next summer. It would also be great to catch at least one fish during this ice fishing season.
EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2024 edition is 31 March 2023.
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