Director's blog

3.6.2015

“Jesus of Vancouver”

DOXA Documentary Film Festival at Vancouver was a perfect location for the international premier of Monsterman.  North America is the birthplace of super heroes and mythical figures, which ignited the creative imagination of Mr. Lordi as a boy. During my one week stay at Vancouver I encountered many inspiring things that sparked my imagination.

A day after my arrival I walked down the famous Davie St, surrounded by high rises and urban hustle. Suddenly I came across a community garden, right in the middle of the city.




In Finland community gardens are located on the outskirts of a city. Davie Village community garden is located on a very expensive piece of land. Yet, it is preserved for growing vegetables instead of financial portfolios.

Later during the week I caught a bus with Monsterman production manager Marianne Mäkelä, returning from a nice daytrip to Capilano Suspension Bridge. I mentioned the community garden to our bus driver, a middle aged lady originally from France. Her reaction was so cool: she stopped the bus on the curb and turned to face us. She told us that nobody steals anything from the urban community gardens in Vancouver. Apparently that would not be the case in Paris. What is more, the harvest is used to prepare meals for the less fortunate ones, for people who really need the food.

I recounted the above story in my speech at the Monsterman pre-screening party. These urban community gardens tell me that good people with social and ecological consciousness live in Vancouver. And that makes Vancouver an ideal place to host a great documentary film festival like DOXA. Dorothy Woodend and her whole DOXA team create a wonderful atmosphere, in which the filmmakers and films are lovingly nurtured to grow new harvests in the minds of the audience.

At the Monsterman pre-screening party I was able to fulfill my secret fantasy to act as a DJ. My “Monsterman playlist” looks like this:

AC/DC: Let There Be Rock
Black Sabbath: Paranoid
The Cult: She Sells Sanctuary
Def Leppard: Run Riot
Dio: Rainbow In The Dark
Foo Fighters: My Hero
Iron Maiden: Aces High
Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit
Led Zeppelin: Immigrant Song
Pear Jam: Alive
The Rolling Stones: Brown Sugar
KISS: I Was Made For Loving You

The audience reaction at Monsterman’s international premier was great, in fact much more lively than in reserved Finland. At my Q&A session someone commented that he loved the film even though he had never heard about Lordi and hates heavy metal. I was so relieved that our story about the heavy metal Peter Pan was proven to be universal.

The next day I wandered around the suburb of Kitsilano, savoring in the premier night’s high. Humming at U2’s “Two hearts beat as one” (a special song selected for me by the DOXA crew at a pub after the screening), I came across a curious installation on the sidewalk.




 It was difficult to realize that I had seen something out of the ordinary, something which required my attention. It is so hard to stop and really see, precisely the job of a documentary filmmaker. I had a look around, but could not find anybody who had put the tiny installation there. The fact that everybody walked past the sleeping figure made it even more moving for me. I titled my photos about the installation “Jesus of Vancouver”. Kaen from the DOXA crew nailed my feelings at her FB comment: “…my heart rejoices to see these bursts of tenderness.” 

During my stay in Vancouver I befriended a mysterious and multitalented man. At a filmmakers’ party he introduced himself as James T. Cooper. On my departure Mr. Cooper was kind enough to accompany me to the airport, where handed me a collection of his art prints, in exchange for a signed Monsterman poster.



Marveling at James T’s otherworldly prints (now framed at my home), I received a text message just before the take-off:

Bon Voyage Antti,
Enjoy my art prints with the Psycho Cinematic and Metaphysical imagery and Split Brain colour coding.  Looking forward to your impressions and ideas for a film.
Farewell, James T.Cooper.

Back in Finland, I shared my Vancouver encounters, and a few beers, with my editor Mikko Sippola at a bar in Kallio. Mikko observed that the name James T. Cooper is like a combination of James T. Kirk from Startrek and Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks. What a perfect remark to end my journey into the continent of super heroes, mythical figures and above all, a bunch of very kind people.


21.1.2015
”Speech at Monsterman’s premier 25.9.2014”

I am especially happy that the premier for Monsterman takes place here at Rovaniemi.
Rovaniemi is the real hometown for Monsterman. For me, this feels like a sort of homecoming. I grew up in Rovaniemi, on the southern slopes of magical Syväsenvaara. A bunch of Santa Clauses reside on the northern side of Syväsenvaara, one of them even lives inside the hill. Lordi-monster was created on the Southside of Syväsenvaara. We can all well agree that the creative heart of Finland beats in Syväsenvaara, and not in some hipster mecca suburb of Kallio in Helsinki! Thank you to the city of Rovaniemi for supporting the premier.

I want to thank some people in the cast and crew for Monsterman, mainly people who are here tonight. In June 2011 I presented the film idea about Monsterman to producer Jouko Aaltonen, at the office of his production company Illume Ltd in Helsinki. The unfailing support of this very experienced director-colleague, and his very precise storytelling feedback were crucially important to me. Thank you Jokke.

I thank cinematographer Marita Hällfors for her high quality images, forthright working relationship and commitment to a long filming period in the middle of her many other film projects. It was fun to work with you Marita. Venla Hellstedt is a cool producer, who negotiated financing for the film, and on the side gave birth to her first child. So look out, this producer is a high achiever on the move!

Illume’s strong team of women at the office have solved countless production problems for Monsterman. They also worked long days to organize this premier here at Rovaniemi. Thank you to cheery and creative production manager Marianne Mäkelä, the most fashionable line producer of Finland, Merja Ritola, and lovely production secretaries Jenny Timonen and Maarit Mononen. To paraphrase Finnish songwriter Kari Peitsamo: ”Illume’s office ladies, they really make me turn my head!”

Many great film professionals can be found from the city of Rovaniemi. Together with Mikko Leinonen we hunted Northern Lights for Monsterman, freezing our arses off in cold winter nights. I especially remember one particular winter night. We put our cameras on the ice of Norvajärvi-lake to capture Northern Lights as time-lapse images. Mikko said: ”No worries dude. Let’s go and have a coffee at the Arctic Circle gas station meanwhile the cameras do the job for us.”

Jari Mikkola from the University of Lapland scanned all the archival photos and drawings in the film. Taneli Arponen and Iiro Rautiainen did the magic on them by creating many great special effects. Timo Haanpää was always available to help in many roles like camera assistant and sound recordist.

Janne Elkki filmed many important shots for Monsterman, for example the shots of Aino and Hilkka at the homecoming celebrations of Lordi’s choir in Rovaniemi. Janne is my ex-student from Tornio media school. This is the same school from which somebody called Tomi Putaansuu graduated in 1990’s on the school’s first class. Unfortunately I will become on the last teachers of Tornio media school. During the working process for Monsterman, decision makers deemed necessary to discontinue this renowned school. That is a huge loss for creative industries in Lapland.

The ascetic basement editing unit of production company Illume Ltd became very familiar to me and film editor Mikko Sippola between September 2014 and February 2014. Editing process for Monsterman with Mikko was one the most fruitful and fun working relationships during my professional career as filmmaker. My first feeling in the morning was always an eager anticipation; I just wanted to get back to the Illume basement to continue working with Mikko.

Producer Venla engineered a great co-production deal for Monsterman with
North-Norwegian producer John Arvid Berger and his JAB Film. When the sound post-production began, I did not fly to Southern Finland, but got to drive up the Tornionjoki river valley towards Tromssö in far North. Sound designer Rune Hansen and composer Håkon Gebhardt crafted the sound tracks for Monsterman to such high level, which I am really proud of. This Scandinavian co-operation was topped up with Swedish co-producer Jonas Kellagher, who organized great online and colour grading services in Gothenburg, where the work was completed in Spring 2014.

I want to thank the CEO Pertti Veiljalainen at Illume Ltd for his confidence in me as a filmmaker. At Illume I have been able to make this film exactly the way I wanted. That’s a huge thing, especially for this project.

Monsterman would not exist without Tomi’s courage to reveal the behind the scenes reality of Lordi and without him opening up at difficult times. Thank you Tomi, where ever you may be right now.

The gem of the film is the embodiment of motherly love, Aino Putaansuu, who has supported the monsterman since childhood and who knitted the first Superman outfit for Tomi. Thank you Aino for all your warm care, which the whole film crew got to enjoy. Together with Aino, her friend Hilkka Tuominen has rocked all the Simorock-festivals. Hilkka has uplifted the spirits of Putansuu home TV-audience for Lordi, ever since the Eurovision Song Contest victory in 2006. Thank you also to Tomi’s father Tuomo Putaansuu, who used his engineering skills to make that red finger for Tomi’s first E.T. costume.

Tomi’s best friend Kangas-Pete is a strict heavy metal guy.  I know he doesn’t like thank-you-ceremonies. He is currently preparing for the gig on the backstage. I just paraphrase Kangas-Pete himself and say: ”Thanks to the Metal!” Rovaniemi is a real rock city. It was fun to observe rock and monster rehearsals of Lordi’s Rock ’n’ Rollo choir members during the Clash of the Choirs competition.

Lordi’s semi-public secret is that hidden behind the scary monster masks, there is a bunch of very nice people.  During the filming for Monsterman I had the honour to get to know the following monsters, and luckily also the people inside them: Amen, Awa, Hella, Mana, Otus, Ox and The Drummer. The last monster has come to celebrate with us all the way from Turku of Finland. He is here tonight: the legendary Iron Cross drummer, owner of two Porsche cars, laundry entrepreneur, drumming virtuoso Jimbo ”Jimmy Hammer” Mäkeläinen!

I humbly thank Tarja Oso, a close friend of Tonmi a.k.a. Otus, for allowing us to film during the period of grief, an important conversation about Tonmi’s important legacy for Lordi’s music and the huge loss for people close to him.

Thank you to Lordi’s record company Sony-BMG’s CEOs Kimmo Valtanen and Wemppa Koivumäki for allowing us to film behind the scene negotiations about Lordi. As an athlete Kimmo exhibited real sportsmanship during the filming. He allowed us to film a scene on a playground, in which Kimmo tells Tomi that his career at Sony-BMG has ended. From Sony-BMG’s Lordi-team special thank you to A&R Janne Halmkrona and publicist Katja Toivanen.

I want to welcome here on stage the legendary fast food queen Meeri Ponkala. Unfortunately her meeting with Tomi at Meeri’s Grill didn’t make the final cut. The scene will certainly be included on the DVD extras. Tomi and Meeri were neighbours when Tomi studied media in Tornio. Since then, Meeri has kept monsterman’s hunger at bay with Triple Burgers with Double Cheese.

From my own family circle I thank my aunt Leila Koivuaho and her partner Anni Ukskoski. They provided me a bed to sleep in during my countless visits to Helsinki, all together about four months. I never felt that I was unwelcome, on the contrary. I often got text messages asking: “When are you visiting us again?”

My brother Simo Haase and his wife Maija Haase accommodated me and the film crew several times in Rovaniemi. I want to mention just one of Simo’s famous deeds. He got himself the first KISS sweat shirt in Syväsenvaara, financed by my mother, even before Tomi Putaansuu.

My parents Tuula and Hannu Haase helped me behind the scenes by carrying the tripod during my nature shooting trips and spread Monsterman movie posters around Rovaniemi. Hannu and Tuula met exactly here, at the legendary Rovaniemi Tivoli establishment, in the Boxing Day celebrations almost 50 years ago.

My wife Anni Haase has been the last emotional stronghold that I have been able to count on during the good and the bad times of making Monsterman. I was lucky enough to find Anni in 2001 also on the Boxing Day, at this same Tivoli establishment, just like my parents did, just 35 years later on. Now we have our own family celebrating with us tonight, self-made gang, our three wonderful children Eino, Hilja and Helmi Haase.


Thank you all for coming here tonight to celebrate Monsterman!


Photo: Mikko Leinonen


29.9.2014

KISS FAQ

In many ways I am the total opposite of Tomi. I don’t like horror films and try to eat chocolate in moderation. I enjoy reading books with the names like “Poetics of Space” and “Wanderlust: a history of walking”.  Tomi prefers collecting action figures and memorizing a massive “KISS FAQ” anthology before going to sleep. During the making of “Monsterman” I have battled a lot with the question: Why should a cultural snob like me make a film about Lordi? What are my connecting points with Tomi and his world?

I always remember my first encounter with KISS. I was on a training camp for scout group leaders of “Arctic Circle Boys and Girls”. We had just cleaned our rooms and gathered around a table to wait for a bus to pick us up. Someone placed a ghetto blaster on a table, put on a c-cassette and cranked up the volume. And there were we, twenty teenage boys and girls in a local parish hall wearing fine scout uniforms, listening to “Lick it up” by KISS. The air was so thick with sexual tension that it could have electrified the whole city of Rovaniemi.

When KISS boom reached Finnish Lapland in the early 1980s, my brother Simo was one of the first ones to embrace it. Simo is still proud to say that he bought (sponsored by mum) his first KISS college shirt via mail-order from USA, even before Tomi. In the stale atmosphere of 1980s Finland, KISS really hit the spot for young people.

In the late 1980s I came close again to Tomi’s heavy metal world. In those days my main objective in life was to become a professional tennis player. I did my daily workouts listening to Def Leppard’s album “Hysteria”. Just before going on court to play an important match, I pumped myself up by listening to “Run Riot” from my Walkman-player. However, I really admired and went to see live-concerts by bands like Simple Minds and U2. Some of my school mates from 1980s have admitted that at school they would exhibit new albums by Metallica, Megadeath or Stone, but at the secrecy of their homes singed along to romantic pop songs by Dingo playing in the radio.

When everybody else gave up on KISS and moved on to bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Tomi decided to remain true to his 1980s idols, forever. Lordi is an ultimate act of this fanship. It is a creative synthesis of everything Tomi has ever been a fan of. Traces of KISS, Freddy Kruger, Hulk, Jason Vorhees, Darth Wader and E.T. live on in a new form in Lordi. What they all share in common is that they are fascinating little universes combining many art forms and providing excitement to all the senses. Lordi itself is like a popular culture version of Richard Wagner’s “Gesamtkunstwerk.

Some crew members of “Monsterman” have told me that their colleagues in Finnish film industry have laughed mockingly when they heard that the person is working on a documentary film on Lordi: “Say what?! That latex clown? Lordi is not worthy of a serious documentary subject.” This smug highbrow attitude really pisses me off. I am ashamed to admit that I initially battled with this same attitude. I would describe it as some kind of “documentary subject racism”. It says that documentary films should only be made about socially important and preferably political subjects - without any sense of humor. This is exactly why documentary films have a bad general reputation: boring shit!

In the chaotic postmodern world where big ideologies have collapsed and most people adjust their likings and looks based on the fashion of the day (be it clothes, partners or even religion), there is something strangely inspiring, moving and even romantic about Tomi’s “Fan as a child, fan forever!” attitude. In many ways this attitude is freaky and has a quality of hanging onto old things no matter what. However, Tomi has truly committed himself to the core values of any long lasting relationship. He stays faithful to his loved ones in good times, but significantly also in bad times. Hip hop dudes are now the kings, but hair metal from 1980s will come back one day!

Aren’t we all looking for inspiring and hope-giving things in life, which we could shower with our affection and love, ideally for the rest of our lives? And if we are lucky enough to find such things, does it matter what they actually are, as long as they don’t harm other people and make us happy?

I think ultimately “Monsterman” is a love story. I really hope people will overcome their own prejudices about Lordi - just like I did - and give the film a chance. Because then they might see the beauty in the beast - and love the boy / the man behind the monster mask.



15.9.2014

It’s between me and my husband

I was nervous and sweating like a pig in a long queue at the Helsinki Airport in September 2012. I was on my way to USA to film Lordi’s studio sessions for their new record (“To Beast or Not to Beast”). It would be produced by the heavy metal guru Michael Wagener on his ranch in Nashville.

I was hauling two massive suitcases. The first one was full of clothes and camera equipment. The other suitcase was more problematic. It contained Mr. Lordi’s full monster costume and massive platform boots.

We were planning to film Tomi as Mr. Lordi in Nashville. It turned out that it was up to the film crew to get Mr. Lordi’s gear to USA.  Couple of days earlier Tomi had left his special suitcase to Helsinki before flying to Nashville. I had just received THAT suitcase. The holiest item in Lordi-universe, Mr. Lordi’s face mask inside a small plastic beauty case, had been given to our cinematographer Marita, who would fly to Nashville a day after me.

I was slowly advancing in the queue.  Soon I would have to take the special security check for passengers travelling to USA. The previous evening I had discussed with Marita in the phone about my plans for the shoot. Marita asked me: “What will you say if the security at the airport asks you about the contents of THAT suitcase?” I told her I did not know, I would have to figure it out. “How about you, what will you say if they ask about the contents of THAT beauty case?” Marita had thought it through and replied promptly: “I will say it’s between me and my husband.”

I was now first in the security line. Tough looking muscle man asked me straight up: “What’s inside this suitcase?” He pointed at THAT suitcase! Oh shit. Why didn’t he ask me what was in the other suitcase? I stuttered: “Oh…well…a monster costume…you know.” Muscle man raised his eyebrow and replied: “Then let me see it.” I tried to open the suitcase, but it didn’t open up! It was locked with a number code, which I did not have. I tried 000 and 999, but the suitcase remained closed.

I remembered how Illume’s CEO Pertti had said in a production meeting that filming Tomi as Mr. Lordi in Nashville would really bring “production value” to the footage. It would help in raising missing finance for the film. Pertti’s words echoing in my head, I tried frantically to rip the suitcase open. If the suitcase was going to be confiscated, we would not be able to deliver Pertti’s “production value”. And Tomi – I didn’t want to even contemplate his reaction. I also realized that filming Tomi on Nashville Broadway with just Mr. Lordi’s face mask on was not going to work.



I begged the muscle man to allow me one phone call to get the code for the suitcase. Grudgingly he agreed. I called Tomi. He did not answer. I glanced at the muscle man. He had taken hold of the suitcase. As the last hope, I dialed another number. Finally my call was answered. I got the code. The suitcase opened. The look on the muscle man’s face was unforgettable. He allowed me to go through with both suitcases. The muscle man must have figured that superheroes and monsters are natural inhabitants of USA.  Marita also got through the security (without having to say the line). And in the end, Pertti got his “production value.”



5.9.2014

Rocktaurant

Lordi’s Rocktaurant was opened in Rovaniemi city centre in December 2006 at the height of the Lordi-boom. Thousands of people lined up on the streets to welcome Mr. Lordi. The hero arrived in white limousine as people applauded. The event was labeled “national celebration”, like most monster band’s appearances after the Eurovision Song Contest victory. Locals and tourists poured in to marvel at Lordi’s horror theme restaurant straight from Hollywood. The opening ceremony culminated in grandiose fireworks finale.

In the twilight of a summer night in May 2011, I filmed the first shots for my documentary film on Lordi. Tomi carried himself out from Rocktaurant. He sweared and sweated to oust a human size Mr. Lordi doll into a trunk of a van: “Locals think I’m a fucking millionaire and started avoiding my restaurant. Hip-hop dudes are now the kings. Sales plummeted to a fraction from the best years. We used to sell in a day more hamburgers than we sold all together in the last month.”

Rocktaurant represented everything Tomi finds good and sacred in life. Soundtrack: only 1980s heavy rock bands like KISS and Twisted Sister. Menu: oversized fast food including hamburgers and kebabs. Local reindeer sausage on the menu was billed “Rudolf’s Last Journey”. Interior design: black walls full of horror film and heavy rock paraphernalia from Tomi’s private collections. Cutlery: extra-long forks and knives. Ice cream was served from an opening skull.

The name “Rocktaurant” is typical Tomi, a funny word play melding together Rock + Restaurant. Some of my other favorites are: Rock + Apocalypse = Arockalypse and Rock + Octopussy (?) = Roctopussy.  Tomi originally planned to call his restaurant simply “Liha”, which translates to “Meat”. As a vegetarian I was not a keen customer of Lordi’s Rocktaurant. But I was sorry to see it close down. Rocktaurant was something totally different in the Rovaniemi restaurant scene.

When I started filming in May 2011, I did not yet have a production company on board and zero financing. You need to take a risk and have some footage to show before anybody gets interested in your documentary film idea. That’s the nature of documentary film business. Or should I say more like documentary lifestyle. Documentary films are made out of passion for the subject matter and filmmaking, not for the money.

I edited together a scene about the closing down of Lordi’s Rocktaurant. Then I booked a meeting with the commissioning editor Iikka Vehkalahti at YLE to show it to him. I started the scene with a shot I am particularly proud of. I had noticed inside Rocktaurant a coffin, which was used a wardrobe. I figured someone would have to carry it out by going inside the coffin and taking it on his back. I made a plan for the shot and tested it. I waited patiently as Tomi and his heavy metal friends carried out other stuff from Rocktaurant. Finally the ex-chef picked up the coffin. And I was ready for it.


Sitting at Iikka Vehkalahti’s YLE-office, I nervously pressed “play” on my laptop and prepared for his judgment. If Iikka says no, that’s the end of it. As soon as Iikka saw the opening coffin shot, he said: “This is interesting.” Iikka wrote an email to his colleagues at YLE to inform them about my project and said: “This film must be made.” I then walked to Illume’s office close by in Helsinki. Illume is one the longest running and most respected Finnish documentary film production companies. Director-producer Jouko Aaltonen saw my demo scene and said: “Illume wants to produce this film.” What a perfect day for a documentary filmmaker! And the coffin shot? You can see it in the finished documentary.



27.8.2014

Monster Mansion

The next day after Tomi’s first phone call I was already driving to his secret location in Lapland. I remembered that the city of Rovaniemi had donated Mr. Lordi a huge piece of land in 2008 to build a house on. I wondered how his monster mansion would look like. Would it be like a troll’s nest underground? Or maybe Dracula’s castle on a hill?

Following the classified driving instructions, I arrived in what some urbanites might call “the-middle-of-nowhere”. As a person living in Lapland, I hate this expression. I think wherever you feel at home, is for you “the-middle-of-everything”. And it should be respected as such.

As I climbed out of my car, I was attacked by four eager bulldogs trying to show me who is the master over here. I only just survived their sloppy greetings and stood my ground. I managed to have a look around. Oh yes, Tomi must have decided on troll’s nest. I could not see any castle towers above the tree tops.

Suddenly I saw Gene Simmons with his trademark Demon mask looking at me through a small window! I peeked behind a spruce tree. To my great relief I saw that it was a painting inside a wooden storage building. Phew! I was now certain that I had arrived in the right place.

“So you found the right way.” Tomi was standing behind me patting his bulldogs and smoking pipe. His private summer uniform was close to what I had imagined: a leather vest with Twisted Sister bone logo on the back, U.D.O. cap and black pants. I noticed his long black hair and beard had its first traces of grey, just like mine. Tomi still had that same playful grin I remembered from childhood. However, what really made me feel welcome were his cozy Finnish Reino slippers.

“Let’s go inside to chat”, Tomi said. I was in for a surprise. There was no grand entrance into his troll’s nest. Tomi’s living quarters turned out to be a 40 square meter hut on a riverbank. There was no running water coming in. The porch was littered with models of monster masks and piles of Pepsi Max bottles. White statue of a well-known Finnish actor’s head held the door open. What really blew my mind was what I discovered inside.

The small hut was full of terrariums and action figures. I was introduced to a large family of snakes, spiders, lizards and shells. A mean looking constrictor snake was named “Lissu” after Alice Cooper. Small E.T. figures pointed their red fingers towards me from the shelves. The exotic animals were very well looked after. Tomi spoke to his pets softly and lovingly, just like I had done to my one-year-old daughter in the morning. For me that was the emotional moment, when I decided to accept the challenge and make the documentary film about Tomi and Lordi.


I realized that for Tomi this place is definitely not “the-middle-of-nowhere”. This is where the magic happens. I understood that there is no separation between the public Lordi-show on stage and Tomi’s private life. Tomi lives in his own Lordi-universe, which he has painstakingly labored on since a small boy. Lordi is not some publicity stunt machined by multinational record companies. As Aussies would say, Tomi and Lordi are fair dinkum. He might live in a fantasy world, but he is for real.



13.08.2014

Meat Lottery 

Late one evening in April 2011 I got a phone call from Tomi Putaansuu a.k.a. Mr. Lordi. Tomi went straight to the point and asked me to make a documentary film about him and his heavy metal monster band Lordi. Wow, I thought. This could be big! But why now? What would be the story about Lordi, which has not been told before? Just like most Finns I had not heard much from Lordi since the Lordi-boom in 2006-2007, right after their epic Eurovision Song Contest victory.

Maybe sensing some hesitation in my voice, Tomi revealed some dramatic facts about his band’s changed situation. He also invited me to visit his secret cottage in Lapland to talk it over. I agreed to visit him, but didn’t promise anything.  I thought if nothing comes out of the visit, I will at least get to see where the national monster of Finland lives these days. It must be quite a mansion.

I was not ready to jump on the task at hand head on. But Tomi managed to raise my curiosity. It is always a good sign. Story begins with curiosity. As documentary filmmaker I first and foremost want to tell moving stories about real people. Maybe I could make an exception and make a documentary film about monsters?

After the phone call I told my kids that Mr. Lordi just called me. They were very excited: “The big monster with horns?! Really?! Can you get me Mr. Lordi’s autograph when you visit him? Please daddy! ” However, my wife looked quite concerned. Her expression said: “Oh-no-I-might-lose-him-for-Lordi-for-next-few-years!”  I see that look on her face every time a potential film subject appears in our discussions.

I started thinking when was it that I had spoken with Tomi for the last time? I figured it must have been way back in the early 1990s in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland.  Oh yes, it must have been at the premier of Tomi’s cult horror film “Meat Lottery”. My brother Simo and my ex-girlfriend acted in that film. Before Tomi invented Lordi, he passionately wanted to become a famous horror film director.

I smiled when I remembered the casting process for “Meat Lottery”. Tomi asked me if it was OK that my ex-girlfriend acts the role of “Erotica” in his new film. Well, the role name says it all. My brother Simo explained that there are some scenes in the script, in which Erotica appears in sexy clothing. Simo raised the eyebrow when he said that there will also be some kissing involved. The handsome male lead would be played by Kimmo Valtanen, a seasoned horror film actor of X.T.C. Video Productions. This legendary production company was created in the major media merger of Trashfish Production (CEO Kimmo Valtanen) and TP-Video (CEO Tomi Putaansuu).

I thought it was odd that Tomi wanted to get my blessings for “Erotica”, when she had already agreed to do the role. I was told that Tomi very courteously wants to make sure I will not become jealous to Kimmo. Tomi also wanted to check that having “Erotica” as a girlfriend does not worry me as a young man of good reputation. I gave my blessings to Tomi. The rest is film history, which only a selected group of people from Rovaniemi will ever get to experience.




The invitation card to the premier of “Meat Lottery”.  Translation from Finnish: This is a VIP card to Trashfish Valtanen & X.T.C. Video’s “Meat Lottery” – the movie. The first annual film festival and house party.  We offer: sauna – swimming – movie – music – vodka – sausages and general mayhem! 19th of July 1991 at 5pm. (Premier of the movie at 10pm). Welcome! P.S. Bring your own drinks, food and towels!