When the gods dance...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011




Next year sees the release of a Finnish film called Iron Sky, and it goes a little something like this: As WWII comes to an end, German scientists working in the Antarctic make a breakthrough in anti-gravity technology, build some spaceships and flee to the moon, where they spend the next few decades preparing a future invasion of Earth. Proper shooting hasn’t even started yet and the film won’t be out till 2011, but it’s already built up a fan-base so eager to see it, (a teaser trailer released last week has already had 250,000 views), that they’re donating money to the production.

Produced by Tero Kaukomaa, who was Associate Producer on Lars von Trier’s Dancer In The Dark, it has a screenplay by an award-winning sci-fi writer, a cast that includes crazy German legend Udo Kier, and a soundtrack by Slovenian industrialists Laibach. I spoke to director Timo Vuorensola in Cannes, where he’s been selling space Nazis to the film industry.

Hi Timo. How’s Cannes treating you?
It’s great, but I’ve been here a week and I’ve been running around everywhere the whole time. We’re promoting the film, talking with distributors, showing people our teaser. We’re just making some noise basically.

Are you getting a good response?
Yeah, everybody seems very interested in Iron Sky over here. Terry Gilliam just came by and asked a couple of questions. Nothing specific, he just came by. He was in a hurry.


You’ve been to Cannes the last few years, right? You had the idea for Iron Sky some time ago.
Yeah, we’ve been working on it for four years. We start shooting in September and have our release date. It’s taken a long time to get it all together because it’s a big project by Finnish standards, the budget’s €6.5m.

How much was the idea inspired by conspiracies and claims that Nazis were developing spacecraft in the 1940s?
Yeah, the V-2 rockets they came up with. We were sitting in a sauna one day and one of us suggested we do a film about moon Nazis, which we thought was cool. Then we started looking around on the internet and saw that, shit, there are a lot of people around who believe the Nazis were developing UFOs, a lot of conspiracies about Hitler’s secret inventions in Antarctica, anti-gravity technology, so we thought we’d take the best things from it and create our own mythology. There’s quite a lot of backbone out there already, we just needed to take the strangest and most esoteric parts.

How did you get Johanna Sinisalo to write it? She’s a highly respected sci-fi novelist isn’t she.
Yeah, she’s the most well known sci-fi writer in Finland. She lives in the same city we were working in, and we met her at a sci-fi gala where we were getting an award for Star Wreck, our previous film. We started discussing it with her, and although we were a little bit wary talking to her about moon Nazis, she said “Yeah, let’s do it!”


So what tone are you going for? How political are you going with it?
Well the point from the beginning was that we didn’t want to do a slapstick film, no goosestepping on the moon. We wanted to approach it from the angle that if it was true, this might have been what happened. It’s not a political film as such, but there is a dark satirical tone to it. We didn’t want to do Austin Powers in space, we were thinking more of Dr. Strangelove. I think we have an interesting and surprising story. Yeah, we bring the Nazis down from the moon and yeah there’s going to be a huge invasion and massive space battle, but there’s a good story around it.

What sort of research have you done?
I’m always intrigued by conspiracy theories and when we started working on Iron Sky I read piles of books on everything from general Nazi history to secret Nazi weapons, to uniform mythology and language, I tried to absorb it all so at least I had reference points to begin with. We have a group of specialists who know very much about Nazis and military and space etc, and I’ve tried to keep it as realistic as it’s possible to be with Nazis on the Moon.

I imagine Udo Kier was first on your cast wish-list.
Yeah, he was, he plays the Moon F├╝hrer. I actually had two things I wanted, right back to when we first talked about the film in the sauna–I said moon Nazis would be good as long as I got Laibach to do the music and Udo Kier to play a part. Luckily I got both, so it’s shaping up to be good.

Are you still asking fans to invest?
We have just over 90% of the budget now. We’re going to finish the film anyway, it’s not a question of that, but we wanted to go to fans to invest as an experiment. We’ve had around €150,000 from the net. We wanted to give fans the opportunity to put money in and earn money from the film as a result. I was worried first of all in case we didn’t get a good response and nobody gave a shit, but it’s been good. I think because the core of the film appeals to a lot of people.


Yeah, the moon and Nazis are popular subjects. Have you been surprised by the massive reaction the film’s been getting online?
Yeah, very surprised, because originally we thought the topic was so controversial we might never even get it off the ground. But it does have a strong, quick pitch: “In 1945 the Nazis went to the moon… in 2018, they’re coming back.” Everybody has some sort of visual idea for that. It works.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 10:27 am VICE UK uk

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