We were supposed to release Iron Sky The Coming Race in February 2018, as promised in the trailer released in 2017. But now, the release date has been moved to January 2019. So what the hell happened there? Is everything alright? What have you guys been doing the last year? Picking your nose?
Yeah, well. Not picking our noses, but indeed, we’ve had some downtime. Many of you have been waiting for the film for a while, so it’s better we – that’s Timo Vuorensola, the director, and Tero Kaukomaa, the producer, tell in detail what happened and why the current release date is one that we can guarantee.
Timo: Back in 2015, when we shot the movie, everything was pretty much alright; the film was financed, we managed to shoot the film and stay in budget, even squeezing few shooting days from the total count, and we moved on to post production just as planned.
Tero: The truth is that we had quite a lot of financing challenges already during the shoot as our financing was very tight and the cashflow was not very strong. The main reason for the challenges was the fact that our financing was very complex, with over 20 parties in the game. Also, couple of parties who were supposed to be part of the financing didn’t sign and some others reduced the amounts which were discussed before. This was during pre-production time and I had to choose if we postpone the start of the shoot to find more money, or to take the risk and start. As I was afraid that some of the other parties might leave – for whatever reason – if we do not close the financing, I decided to go for the shoot. We were able to do that by deferring all our own fees as part of the financing.
So we started the shoot with practically no buffer for surprises, which you easily face during the shoot. Therefore, I was extremely relieved that we could complete the shoot faster than estimated and in the budget. That was the best Christmas present I could wish for, to have the footage in the can for a great movie. For me, that’s the moment you start to feel confident that nobody can stop you. But, obviously, some new serious challenges were waiting behind the corner.
Timo: In the beginning of 2016, things started to turn sour. We lost one of the key financiers of the movie, leaving us with a gaping hole of over two million. This was partially our reason, though. We were unfortunately late with our delivery. After putting together the first assembly cut after the shoot, our VFX budget nearly doubled, as it happens in so many cases like this, which is followed – and was, in our case as well – by a rigorous fight to get the shot count to match to what we had budgeted, since throwing more money into the problem just wasn’t an opportunity for us. This took time, longer than we had scheduled for, and eventually we had to admit that we’re not going to make our first delivery date. Delays happen in film post productions all the time, but sometimes it means that some entity has to re-think their strategy and the new release plan didn’t fit theirs, and they left. Amicably, but irreversibly.
Hastily, we started to look for new money to fill the hole, but as one might guess, it’s not easy to find over 2 million.
Tero: All of us producers were running after a solution, but at first, nothing seemed to work. Status was, that the film, which had already once been financed, was now looking for new money. This itself was a big turnoff for many investors. But, we were in luck. AJ Annila, who directed two of my earlier films, Sauna and Jade Warrior, had completed his latest film The Eternal Road, produced by my fellow colleague Ilkka Matila. One sunny morning I went to see his film in the press screening. I was very curious to see the film as I like AJ’s work a lot, and he hadn’t been doing films in a while. I was totally blown away. The film was a masterpiece. I immediately messaged to AJ that you have made the best Finnish film ever, and then I called to producer Ilkka to congratulate for the film. In that discussion Ilkka mentioned about the Finnish investors, who were part of the film.
Thanks to Ilkka (Ilkka, I still owe you the beer I promised), two days later I was on the phone with Ari Tolppanen. Ari is a guy who used to own a cinema in Helsinki back in the eighties, which he sold to Finnkino and started Capman, an investment company which went also to stock exchange. Now, Ari had retired from Capman and went back to his roots and started investing in movies. He and his colleague Mikko Leino saw the rough cut of Iron Sky The Coming Race and liked it, and suddenly we had a potential solution in our hands. Until…