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PRODUCERS ON THE MOVE 2023

Emilia Haukka • Producer, Aamu Film Company

“There is sustainability in continuing your relationship with the same talent”

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- As her company grows, the Finnish Producer on the Move eyes more diverse stories

Emilia Haukka • Producer, Aamu Film Company

Finnish producer Emilia Haukka, co-owner with Jussi Rantamäki of Aamu Film Company, has delivered the likes of Compartment No. 6 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juho Kuosmanen
film profile
]
and The Woodcutter Story [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mykko Myllylahti
film profile
]
, or Berlinale offering Family Time [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Tia Kouvo
film profile
]
. As the company welcomes new talents, Non-Binary Bones by August Joensalo and Jojo Erholtz’s My Mothers are already waiting their turn. Haukka has been selected as the Finnish representative at the European Film Promotion’s Producers on the Move programme at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. 

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Cineuropa: How long have you been with Aamu Film Company now?
Emilia Haukka:
I joined Aamu back in 2015, when The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juho Kuosmanen
film profile
]
was just going into production. Back then, I was a production coordinator. I stayed on, and it was through this mentorship with Jussi that I really learned the craft. Last year, The Woodcutter Story premiered in Cannes’ Critics Week. I call it my “graduation film,” because it was the first production I led. Then, a year ago, I became a partner. We are increasing the company’s capacity when it comes to production, we are opening up to the possibility of having new talents joining us. I have been scouting them for quite a while now. 

Yours is a production company that’s already known outside of the country, mostly because of these Cannes successes. I wonder if knowing that influences the way you think about new projects?
I have grown into being a producer in this atmosphere and this way of working. I have to say it also reflects what I am interested in personally: we really pay attention to the person behind the film and that gut feeling that has led them all the way here. Supporting and nurturing that vision – that’s the Aamu style. And something I have picked up as well. 

With Jussi, we have slightly different tastes, which is why I think there will be more diversity in our content. Queer cinema has always been close to my heart — being a queer person myself — so that’s really showing in the talent and the projects I am starting to work on now. I want to expand this perspective of love and intimacy, and bring in more diverse stories, but I also get excited quite easily. Whenever someone is passionate about their project, that gets me. 

Would you say this is a good moment for these types of stories in Finland? For every rule breaker, I still see a whole lot of rather traditional dramas.
It’s a very good moment to do that. Finnish films are being extremely successful. There are known names, like Aki Kaurismäki who is heading to Cannes’ official competition again [with Fallen Leaves [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
], but these past two years brought a really diverse group of filmmakers and films. I am thinking about Girl Picture [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alli Haapasalo
film profile
]
or Hatching [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hanna Bergholm
film profile
]
, which really opened up genre films made in Finland. There is a wave and a push for new styles, and space for someone like [Fucking with Nobody [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hannaleena Hauru
film profile
]
director] Hannaleena Hauru

At the moment, I have three projects in different development stages and in Cannes. I am especially looking for partners for Aino Suni’s second feature film after Heartbeast [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
: Abyss. It’s our first collaboration together and she is a visually bold, brave filmmaker who really doesn’t shy away from darker, difficult, even toxic topics. I am hoping to find partners for it, as well as a sales agent. 

Recently, the company also decided to move into series production, which is a big step. Starting with Juho Kuosmanen’s Yours, Margot.
Knowing Juho’s style, it’s going to be very touching and a very beautiful drama. Then we have Eva-Maria Koskinen’s Monster, while Hannaleena and Samuel Kujala have been developing a TV concept around deepfakes and what they can do to the human psyche. Still, this move hasn’t been intentional — at Aamu, we never have some specific format or genre in mind. It really comes from the talent we are working with. With Yours, Margot, for example, it was clear that a TV show would give us more time to explore all the layers and nuances of the story. 

Do you still remember what you liked about producing, at the very beginning? How has that changed?
I have been reflecting on that for a while. What was my initial inspiration 10 years ago? At Producers on the Move, they even asked us: “Why did you want to be a producer?” I guess it has something to do with this community that forms around each project. All these people with completely different concepts and skills, coming together to craft an idea into something concrete. I never get tired of it. 

The idea of a community seems to be ingrained into your company. Even despite this planned growth, you still collaborate only with a small selection of filmmakers.
We recently talked about what success means to us. Our films premiered in Cannes [with Compartment No. 6 winning the Grand Jury Prize] but these filmmakers still want to come here, to our Helsinki office, sit down with a cup of coffee and tell us about their next idea. There is sustainability in continuing your relationship with the same talent. Today, when we are all thinking about how we can use the resources we already have, making less projects but of better quality is an option that just works for us. 

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