Aleksi Bardy • Producer
by Valerio Caruso
24/04/2006 - Producer and scriptwriter Aleksi Bardy from Helsinky Filmi is the man behind Saippuaprinssi (Prince of Soap). The comedy became a hit in Finland, following the increasing level of interest from filmgoers in local productions.
Cineuropa: What does it mean for you to have been selected for the Producers on the Move organised by European Film Promotion this year at Cannes?
Aleksi Bardy: I am proud and honoured. I think it is very important for all the producers to meet each other, share ideas, visions and network. Producers on the Move is a great way to do this.
Domestic Finnish films have already attracted more cinemagoers in the first quarter of 2006 than during all of 2005. What do you think are the reasons for this?
Obviously audiences seem to trust Finnish film. There has been and there will be a lot of variation, depending on individual films, and their suitability for the wider public. But I think the trend is good: films serve the public, or all the publics, and are also improving a lot quality-wise. It is possible to make small-budget films in Finland, cheap films, and I think it's a great opportunity. Anyway I think that Finns and Europeans should make as many as possible, the best pictures as possible, funny, touching and jolly films, and to make sure not to just stay around drooping and waiting for that big budget to come but to do what they can with the resources available. That's our chance and our strength.
Your last film Saippuaprinssi (Prince of Soap) was a big hit in Finland. You also penned the screenplay. What motivated you to write and produce the film?
My point of view has been formed in the period that I spent in Finnish soap operas, seeing that world behind the sets, writing hundreds of episodes. I wrote the film about those mishaps and experiences. The film is about a young female screenwriter who begins working with a soap opera, becomes infatuated with its leading actor and then begins to seduce the leading actor through her scripts. All is going well until the producer of the show, also a female, becomes interested in this same guy and these two women end up in a duel via the script, with this leading actor as a prize. It's a story about how a triangular drama confuses the boundaries between reality and fiction, and everything becomes a jolly merry-go-round mess. We had a typical budget for a Finnish film, €1.3m, and we have invested especially in good actors and staging, as we feel that those are the most important things in production.
Your films seem to be aimed at younger audiences. Is it this the key to your success in the box office?
Young people buy the vast majority of cinema tickets. They are very demanding, but also very responsive. The feedback is honest and instant. These reasons play an important role in our strategy to meet the demands of very regular filmgoers. However, as a production company, we are open to projects aimed at any audience. Primarily we want to produce high quality films that matter, and sell enough.
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