Back in 2010, in issue 18 of Now or Never!, shooting on the upcoming Finnish sci-fi comedy film Iron Sky hadn’t even started, yet it was already creating much anticipation. Tug Wilson spoke to the film’s director, Timo Vuorensola, about his approach to film making, the film’s message and Nazi design. The film premiered on the 11th February 2012 at the 62nd Berlin Film Festival, and came to the UK in April, so why not revisit the interview whilst you eagerly await your chance to watch the Fourth Reich romping about of the dark side of the moon...
Invading Moon Nazis, Udo Kier as Moon Fuhrer and Laibach providing the soundtrack. This all sounds too good to be true, can you cope with the pressure of getting this right?
Given the build up surrounding Iron Sky, one might get lost thinking how to answer to those expectations, but that’s the wrong way to think. I believe in our script and our cast, and that they will exceed people’s expectations. It’ll be a killer film, surprising and it will deliver the goods.
Moon Nazis are bad, obviously, but are there any other political messages to be gleaned from Iron Sky?
The political message is to listen to what lies your leaders are pouring on you, to what they are actually saying. We are not that far away from WWII times and the circumstances that led to the birth of the Nazi regime, and the same thing is happening all over the world as we speak, just because people stop thinking with their own brains and follow like sheep.
Your first feature film, Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, was impressively shot for almost no money. Iron Sky has a projected budget of 6.5 million Euros, aren’t you tempted to pocket the money and shoot this one in your living room too?
To be honest, I haven’t seen a dollar of that money beyond a small salary I get monthly. The producers guard our finances so carefully that it would be impossible for me to pocket any money, even if I wanted to. We have loads of outside investors, fan-investors, sales agreements and soft money in the same kitty, so we need to be very careful with the budget. And still… it’s never enough. One could pour a billion dollars into a film, and spend it without a moment’s hesitation. It’s a bottomless pit. The trick is how to make every dollar seem like hundred dollars on the screen.
The team behind Iron Sky comprises many of the same people that made In the Pirkinning; with pre-production drawing to a close soon, how has the dynamic changed? Are you all still as excited and driven as when you made that film?
I always think how Iron Sky is different from In the Pirkinning, and always end up with the same answer: it’s not. We still rack our brains to come up with clever, visually satisfying and fun ways to get around problems that would normally be considered completely out of our budget reach - the only difference now is that we travel much more to do it.
I’ve heard that Iron Sky is a collaborative team effort, with a deliberately egalitarian approach. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working this way?
It’s very important to know that Iron Sky is in no way an egalitarian production, it’s a pure creative dictatorship led by me, and me alone - if you attempt a project like this, deciding everything in consensus, the result is total chaos at worst, and bland crap at best. The collaborative effort comes from people helping me to realise my vision, but I’m in no way obliged to listen to them if I feel their ideas don’t fit my bigger picture. Working collaboratively gives you resources, ideas and possibilities that would otherwise be out of your reach, and it’s a sexy subject in today’s social media world - although to us it’s the only way to work, since that’s the way we’ve been working long before anyone even invented the phrase “social media”. Disadvantages are usually the amount of noise that builds up, and finding the gems from amidst the rubble.
Iron Sky has actively sought input, investment and publicity through the internet community. You already have an award winning author as screenwriter and most of your funding has been secured through traditional avenues; so how much value do you place on contributions from fans?
They are the beef of the whole thing, otherwise filmmaking would be more or less boring to me. I made Star Wreck with fans, and couldn’t even think of being able to invest so much of interest into making this film if there was not the possibility to work with people from all around the world, from all fields of expertise.
The Nazis had some very alluring iconography, are you having a lot of fun adapting their designs into a futuristic vision?
It’s definitively a great building block to work on, and not just the iconography but even more how people respond to it nowadays, and how “natural” it was in the Third Reich.
Finally, any plans or ideas for future productions?
There have been plans to do the next Star Wreck definitely, and I do have several film ideas in my head - even a possible sequel to Iron Sky.
Iron Sky should be completed late next year with a theatrical release shortly after. To request a screening at a cinema near you, or to follow the progress of the production visit www.ironsky.net