BEGINNING OF THE 4 YEAR STRUGGLE: THE EASY PART
Finnish film maker Kimmo Kuusniemi tells all about his part in the new Korpiklaani documentaries, Made In Russia and Live In Japan…
RULES OF FILM MAKING: The first rule: “Never get involved in films that don’t have a budget.”
“I didn’t realise the mad journey I was about to sign up for when I met Jonne (Järvelä, Korpiklaani vocalist) at my brother’s garden in 2016. Jonne asked me if I wanted to make documentary about Korpiklaani. When I heard that Korpiklaani were going to have a long extended tour through Russia and Siberia I was sold. There was no budget, so according to rule number one, walk away. Which of course I didn’t as the excitement of the road trip overpowered the sensibility, which is a common problem with creative people… After unsuccessfully trying to get the record label to fund the film et cetera. the only way I could see to do this was by Crowdfunding. I had never done this before so even this sounded exciting. The band didn’t want to take the risk of crowdfunding so as well as everything else I decided I would do the crowdfunding myself.
And so I broke the second important RULE OF FILM MAKING: ‘Never take personal risk financing a film’”.
CROWDFUNDING THAT FUNDED THE CROWDFUNDING ADVERTISEMENT
“Eugene (O’Connor, Co Producer) and I did a very extensive advertising campaign for the documentaries. When the crowdfunding ended we realised that the money raised didn’t even cover the work and time we put into the Crowdfunding advertisement. We did not get the money to finish the film but instead we did find some very loyal and supportive Crowdfunders who believed in the films as much as we did. Not everything is measured in money”.
JAPAN, YOU LIVE AND DON’T LEARN AND MORE RULES OF FILM MAKING BROKEN
“During post production on the Live in Russia film the band were going on tour in Japan and the plan was to get me there to film another documentary. Japan has always been my top ten list of destinations to visit. I have made commercial films for Japanese markets before but never had chance to visit. So very tempting”.
RULES OF FILM MAKING: “Never make the same mistake again”.
“Once again I broke the first rule of film making: ‘Never get involved with films that don’t have a budget.’ So now I had done it twice in one project. As planned with Jonne I again set up a crowdfunding project for Japan. Just when the campaign was online I was forced to cancel it for reasons which are most bizarre. Against all the odds I still ended up on tour in Japan with Korpiklaani and Waltari. In Osaka I also met Piotr from Polish death metal band Vader. Last time we met was in Poland twenty five years ago, when I made their first music video for MTV Europe”.
HOW TO FINISH DOCUMENTARIES WITHOUT BUDGET; DOCUMENTARIES ARE ALL CONSUMING BEASTS TO FINISH
“Then the hard work of editing all this footage together began. I spent a lot of time to editing the Russia film into a loose three hour version. At the same time I was trying in vain to find extra funding through sponsors et cetera. At this point I had to stop as I had already used all my rainy day savings and needed to work on commercial films to balance the accounts. Then film editor/musician Sophia LA stepped in to save the day. Sophia was really excited about the material and wanted to trim my three hour version into the final documentary. She spent a long time editing and did a fantastically brilliant job on it but the film was still in it’s first finished version two hours forty seven minutes long. She also had reached her limits on working with the film”.
JAPAN, WHAT TO DO WITH JAPAN? CROWDFUNDERS STEP UP!
“Made In Russia was now finished as a long version and could be shown to the Crowdfunders who liked it so much that some of them were willing to donate to help funding so we could start work on the Japanese film. This gave us a much needed moral boost to get the Live In Japan film edited. Making films and music is a very lonely place; you don’t get much support until you have finished. Here we are talking about projects that took four years to get published. So the support from Crowdfunders was very important and gave me a reason to finish my films, while all the time I was working on the commercial side of film making to balance my books”.
DVD FORMAT IS DEAD, TV DISTRIBUTION IS DYING, WE LIVE IN THE MATRIX
“The next problem was how to release these films. All my documentaries have been globally distributed through my International TV Distributor. He was basically interested in this these films but was doubtful about the interest from the international TV companies as Korpiklaani are not Metallica or Iron Maiden. During the four years these films took to finish, DVD’s have died a sudden death”.
COVID-19 TO RESCUE
“Then came COVID-19 which changed everything. The Film and Music Businesses ground to sudden halt. It was time again to get back to these films and finally get them out. I shortened the Made In Russia film to thirty nine minutes,Set up the websites and we were ready. Now the new exciting option to release documentaries is your own VOD (video on demand) channel. Not the same as Amazon or Netflix but you are your own master”.
DID I LEARN ANYTHING FROM THIS PROJECT?
“No, I would do the same mistakes again. The journey through Russia and Siberia was life altering, a once in a lifetime experience and something I will never forget. Great memories are worth the pain”.
Watch the trailer to Made In Russia HERE