Monday, 19 September 2011

14 Action!

On location is a bit like sailing: one/third euphoria, one/third boredom, one/third terror. Our team has had its share of all three. Eki and Antti might have their own list, but the following are some of my favorites.

Marihuanaland (2011)
Oakland, CA (“Marihuanaland”): one of the five most dangerous cities in the US, people asked why we were going there.  I said because it´s the capital of cannabis in the US if not the world.  Or more specifically, Oaksterdam University, the trade school that teaches you everything you need or want to know about marijuana is. O.U. was the bait that got us hooked. I was there for three months setting up interviews and locations. The guys came for a week.We met everyone we wanted to meet in the cannabis business, loved shooting the beautiful art deco city, the locals couldn´t have been nicer, we weren´t scared once and the crew had only one serious spat. As usual we kissed and made up.

Chasing Esa-Pekka (2008)
London, England (“Chasing Esa-Pekka”): the budget included a car and driver, so we buzzed around all over the place. We got to work with the BBC, shoot at Royal Albert Hall and from the top of the giant ferris wheel on the South bank. We interviewed composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen at his favorite pub. It was August, the weather gods were on our side. Not a drop dropped. One day, while waiting for Eki and Antti, a cute guy asked me if he could buy me a cup of tea. I thought, this is my kinda town.

Frank & Alvar (2005)
Los Angeles, CA (“Frank & Alvar”): it was amazing to shoot Frank Gehry´s Walt Disney concert hall when it was almost brand new. We also got to film at his studio, which for me was a real high because he´s my favorite architect. But best of all we filmed my old house (before I moved to Finland) in Venice Beach. 

10 Finnish Architects (2003)
Noormarkku, Finland: (“10 Finnish Architects” – Villa Mairea): The house that Alvar Aalto designed for his friends and one of his most personal works. We got to roam all over the place (a big estate with lots of other buildings that belong to the family). Today it´s a museum and loaded with the couple´s works of art: Degas, Picassos, etc.  They looked so natural in their setting that we kept asking ourselves “Are they real?” After the shoot (it was a hot day in August), the crew stripped and dived into the pool to cool off. We felt like lucky squatters swimming in a work of art.

Lucia - A Christmas Story (2008)
Helsinki, Finland (“Lucia”): Eki was totally blasĂ© about working on this project, until I told him the story of the young virgin in the 3rd century who gets burned at the stake because she refuses to marry her pagan suitor. He said, “Now that´s a story that interests me.”  We decided to intersperse the modern day celebration (14th of December) with a silent film (in the style of a silent 1930s movie. We filmed the action in front of a blue screen (first time for LMP) and later Eki computer animated the 3rd century Roman backgrounds, including caves, where starving Christians were hiding out. It was like a giant party. There was a constant supply of coffee, cold drinks, sweets and the lasagna lunch was first-rate.

Passion Fashion (1993)
Summer Islands, Finland (“A Useful Art”, “Passion/Fashion” and ...):
We filmed “Useful Art” about American patchwork quilts, indoors and outdoors at my house on an island not far from Helsinki. It took one day and was our first project together. It was so much fun I told Eki I wanted to do another.  By this time he thought I was nuts. “Passion/Fashion” about a vintage clothes and car collection took two days. It was catered by my husband Klaus, who thought Eki was a smart guy when he heard him say “Shut up Maggy!” (it became his mantra). The third (un-named) project never got made. It was an elaborate three day shoot, with a real film star. The crew partied till the early hours. And shot their own “Blair Witch Project” in the woods. Eki: “Where is that footage?”

Lesson 19: To keep the crew happy & hard-working serve good grub.

Next week:  15.  Questions & Answers

1 comment:

  1. Maggy,
    Here is a link to a storefront school in Brooklyn that has a class in making documentary films, as well as making ketchup. As they call it "community-driven crowdsourced education." Have a peek
    You can use the ketchup for the blood and guts scene, although choc. syrup works better.