All those who are interested in Finnish Heavy Metal and how it developed – this is the film for you: “A Heavy Metal Civilisation” . The story is told by those who made it, e.g. Marco Hietala (Nightwish/Tarot), Gas Lipstick (former HIM, now Flat Earth/Hallatar), Lauri Porra (Stratovarius), Eicca Toppinen (Apocalyptica) and many other great names of Finnish heavy metal. The documentary was put together by the filmmakers and multimedia journalists Cristina Ornellas and Maila-Kaarina Rantanen – and this dynamic duo tells us more about the documentary and themselves:
Please tell me a bit about yourselves – who are you, what brought you to Finland and how did you get into Heavy Metal music?
Maila: I am half-Finnish half-Brazilian, born in Rio de Janeiro, and lived the beginning of my childhood in the only Finnish colony of Brazil, called Penedo. Finland has always been part of my life. In 1996 I came to spend 6 months with my relatives in Finland, and it was the best time of my life. I was already a metalhead, and Helsinki seemed to be the perfect place on the planet for a metalhead. Moving here later was a natural consequence. I got into metal when I was 11 years old. A friend took Blizzard of Ozz to my home, and when I heard Randy Rhoads solos in Mr. Crowley, I burst into tears, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. That’s how it started.
Cristina: Well, I’m from Brazil and moved to Finland to study 7 years ago. The wish to live in a different culture and to feel a certain level of identification with the local habits made me choose Finland. I have been into Heavy Metal since I was a child, and Finnish bands were also part of the culture I identified myself with!
How and where did you 2 meet? Did you cooperate before, or do you have plans for more projects like this?
We meet through Facebook and had dozens of familiar friends from Rio de Janeiro, but only got to meet in Finland after being here for a while. Since we both had a background in journalism, we started our partnership, producing some Youtube content. It worked out so well that we thought: why not create a real film? And the idea of the documentary took shape. We don’t have a business together. We do different things for work, even though both are in the multimedia area, but we are friends. Having our film licensed on Yle Areena’s site (Yle is Finnish national TV, the ed.) makes it feel like a mission accomplished to our partnership.
Have you studied Heavy Metal at Helsinki university (because you can indeed study the topic Heavy Metal here)? How did you get into those studies, and how was it? Are you still studying?
Maila: No, I have a vocational degree in music and also a bachelor’s in International Relations with minor on communication. In 2020 I’ll finish my master’s in Communication Management. Digital media and communication is my thing. In Brazil, I had my own rock/metal web magazine.
Cristina: No, I actually came to Finland with an already completed graduation in Fashion and experience in Music Journalism after writing for some music magazine and sites like Spin (from the American music magazine).
Was it film making or Heavy Metal that got you into this project?
Both! Before we met, we both worked in the music field in different ways. The idea of making a documentary about Finnish Heavy Metal with an international approach came as a natural idea to us.
How did you get the idea for this project and how long did it take from idea to realization?
Cristina: To me, the kickstart was an old wish to do something inspired by metal music, after watching “Headbangers Journey” (by Sam Dunn) years before and thinking, “I’ve always wanted to do something like that!” Years later, after meeting Maila, we created the doc.
Maila: We realized the YouTube channel wasn’t attracting the exact audience we expected. At that time, around 2015, the audience was too young for the content we wanted to produce. Changing the focus of the project to a real deal documentary was a natural thing. We had the ideas, the possibilities, the knowledge to produce, so why not?
Was it difficult to meet all those participants? How did you choose your interview partners?
Surprisingly the more influential the name was to the scene, the easier it was for them to join the documentary. To be honest, younger bands seem to have more of an attitude. Some didn’t bother to participate, not missed, though, since we got everyone we really wanted for this film and were 200% satisfied with the outcome and what they brought to the final result! To choose who was going to be there was basically asking ourselves, “Who helped to pave the way that brought Finnish metal to an international level? That made it what it is today?” We made a list and started to look for the contacts.
Was there anybody you would have liked to meet, but it didn’t work out?
Ville Valo was, for sure, a name we wanted to talk to. At the time, they were just finalizing the HIM farewell tour, and almost no interviews were given, so we didn’t take it personally. Everyone else we wanted got in!
What was the most difficult aspect about this project – equipment, talking to people, editing?
Indeed, the financial aspect, since we had no sponsor at all, did this 100% from our pockets. We invested in professional equipment, but we couldn’t afford a set that gave us the creative freedom to film the way we dreamed of. BUT those things didn’t stop us, and we are actually very proud of ourselves because, with the resources we had, we accomplished a significant project of good quality. We made it happen! We were also fortunate to have a friend to join as an editor, Bruno Leo Ribeiro, excellent post-production professional!
How and where can people check out the documentary?
For now, in Finnish territory, it’s available at YLE AREENA (leading TV broadcaster in Finland) and Amazon Prime for the UK, and the USA. We have Amazon permission to put the film in Prime Japan and Prime Germany, but we need subtitles in these languages. Unfortunately, we cannot afford to pay for the subtitles, but if a good metal soul from these countries wishes to help these translations, get in touch with us, and these countries can be the next!
Are there any public screenings in the near future?
Soon we hope to have it at some festivals. Stay tuned for updates and follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
Our email for contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Link for Prime UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07YP15BX6
Link for Prime USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YNZZRR6
Link for YLE Areena Finland: https://areena.yle.fi/1-50497810
Link for the trailer: https://youtu.be/qDzL9lTA6F0
(photos provided by “A Heavy Metal Civilization”)