China Diary

Day 115: Remembering The Birthdays Past


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Jarmo having my birthday dinner in 2007, when I turned 28. It was a very good year.

November 29th has marked my birthday since 38 years back, and I’ve had a birthday party three times while shooting. First, I turned 31 when shooting Iron Sky in Germany. Coincidentally, Christopher Kirby, who plays Washington in the first one, shared the same date and we arranged a big party for the whole crew in our costume hall, which was actually a downstairs of a huge empty office building. Later on, we found ourselves all stuck in a small bar singing “Olen suomalainen” by Kari Tapio, which for some reason was randomly in a jukebox in this small hole-in-the-wall in Frankfurt.

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When I turned 29, I was in Singapore in 2008.

The second time was when I turned 36, we had a big party over in the amazing Finnish apartment in Antwerp, Belgium, when shooting The Coming Race. The house was just beyond words; maybe something out of David Lynch’s dream. Stuffed with great art pieces, a full round bed in the middle of the living room and dark wood floors and walls, and even more amazingly, the building had a ship’s cockpit hoisted in the rooftop. Yeah, sounds crazy, and it is. We partied pretty hard, Annika was there for sure, my brother was there, Tom Green showed up, rest of the cast came around and much of the crew. It was great fun.

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Turning 30, in 2009, we had a nice party in Helsinki, Juttutupa, with my brother (RIP bro) attending, and Essi of course.

My birthday party weekend started here on the date on 29th with a bottle of sparkling wine after a shooting day, and a nice dinner with bunch of my friends and people from the production. The actual party would be few days away, but already Pekka and Roope had joined the party from Finland, Annika was there and we had a killer seafood dinner with Max, his wife as well and others. The actual party was scheduled to happen in two days, but that was a good start; we had to shoot the next day so nothing crazy went down, but we had a very nice time and had a fantastic dinner altogether.

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The only surviving image of my 31st Birthday, in Frankfurt, Germany, after a shooting day in the Classroom for Iron Sky in 2010.

Oh, and yeah, what did we shoot that day? Yeah, that’s also another story. One of the things we had been lacking here in China was a decent steadicam work. The crew had good people in it, but steadicam is a bit of a different story, but luckily the production had agreed to haul over an outside support: Ants Vahur, who is probably one of the best steadicam operators in Europe, and has worked a lot with Mika, came over and we did a bunch of pretty amazing steadicam moves just to stretch our muscles a bit; there would be much more of that coming up later, but already yesterday we did want to do some tries, and boy can Ants move like a butterfly even with that heavy camera set hanging from his neck.

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Turning 33, I had my party starting from a Finnish film production company opening party, where I got to meet one of my all-time favorite Finnish actors, Pirkka-Pekka Petelius, with whom I later got to make a commercial thing as well – 2012.

So, now we are in full force. Although the drones have left us, the steadicam is in so bunch of cool moves are still in the store for us!

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Turning 34, in 2013, I was in Rotterdam, at a seminar, where I took this photo at a subway station. Nothing crazy went down, met some great minds and had a glass of wine with friends, that’s all.

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