The Iron Sky Universe – a mission to bring film into the 21st century

In 2010 I was invited to the Hamburg FilmFest to hold a workshop about alternative film financing. There I met Jarmo Puskala and Pekka Ollula, two guys from Iron Sky and some other emerging or soon to be filmmakers. At that time, the Iron Sky team was still looking for producers to finance their movie, apart from the money they raised through Crowdfunding and merchandising over the years. Meanwhile, the movie premiered nearly two years ago and was well received by the audience. When I came across the link to a recent fundraising-campaign they are running at the moment, I spontaneously asked Jarmo via Facebook to give me a quick update. He was in a train on his way to Cannes and so we had enough time for a quick chat. Here’s what we talked about:

Wolfgang: A few years ago we met at the Hamburg FilmFest. At that time you were still looking for producers. Meanwhile Iron Sky hit the theaters and screens in many countries and was quite successful. What projects are you working on at the moment?

Jarmo: I’m working on the Iron Sky Universe company, our main project is the film sequel The Coming Race, in addition we’re planning a tv/web series that would be a prequel to the first film and expanding to other media like games.

We’re also involved with the Nordic Genre Invasion, which is a project to promote genre films from the nordic countries.

Wolfgang: So you’re building a story around the Iron Sky idea, making it a transmedia experience?

Jarmo: Yes. We want to create a kind of a neo-pulp universe in which to base stories in. In the first film, we experimented with expanding the scope, releasing three comics and even some games, which unlike the comics weren’t directly in our control.

Wolfgang: Your fans are always deeply involved into the development, production and financing process. How can they be part ot the „universe“ now?

Jarmo: Right now we are doing a round of financing for the development of the franchise. We’ve teamed up with a equity crowdfunding startup called Invesdor to offer shares in the company owning and developing Iron Sky. People can buy shares for € 25,- per share., with the minimum purchase of € 250,-

Wolfgang: Apart from that, how do you manage your crowd and their wishes? Can you describe how the communication between your fans and the Iron Sky team works?

Jarmo: That’s something we’re planning on developing further. At the moment we mainly communicate through facebook and youtube and our mailing list, which we’ve used to find extras for filming, arrange parties for fans around the world etc. Crowdsourcing is also something, which we love and have used extensively. We want to take that to another level with the sequel.

Wolfgang: Are you’re still using Wreck a Movie for managing that process?

Jarmo: The future of is in the air right now. There’s a great community, but the service hasn’t evolved in a long time – the current owners have been so busy with other projects. So either it needs a jump start or we’ll have to integrate crowdsourcing on our own website.

Wolfgang: Right now you’re heading for Cannes. What’s your main objectives there?

Jarmo: My main objective is to keep our fans and new shareholders updated with what’s going on with us at the festival. Let’s see if the gods of WI-FI will smile upon us and make it possible. Tero and Timo are there to present the script to potential partners. And of course it’s the place to network, with nearly every filmmaker on earth heading there.

Wolfgang: Are such events still important? Especially for a project like yours, where you tell the fans that they can „decide how films will be distributed in the future“?

Jarmo: One could say, if they liked coming up with platitudes, that Cannes is the social media of the film industry. It’s important to stay connected to others faced with the same questions as being the lone wolf is the hardest road.

Wolfgang: Well, thanks for the interview. I am sure we’ll here more about Iron Sky and further projects soon and wish you good luck at the festival.

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