Chinese-Finnish co-production Iron Sky: The Ark concludes filming in Turku, Finland

The production incentive for the audiovisual industry played a major part in bringing the production to Finland for filming. The 25-million-dollar production utilizes Finnish talent as well as locations.

Iron Sky: The Ark (钢铁苍穹.希望岛) is a Chinese-Finnish-Canadian co-production starring Andy Garcia and Malla Malmivaara. The sci-fi adventure focuses around environmental issues, and is directed by Timo Vuorensola, who also directed the first Iron Sky film as well as upcoming sequel Iron Sky: The Coming Race. The film is produced by Max Wang and Tero Kaukomaa. After filming in China for almost four months, the production has landed in Turku, Finland, for the final days of shooting.

Turku is the filming location for a central scene, where the mysterious Illuminati organization gathers together to conspire. The scene of the Illuminati meeting is filmed in the Old Academy Building of Turku, which has been turned into the banquet hall of a luxury hotel in the German Alps. Shooting was originally planned to take place in the Alps in Central Europe, but the production incentive (administered by Business Finland) and financing from the West Finland Film Commission convinced the production to film in Finland instead.

The production incentive boosts competitiveness for Finnish professionals in the audiovisual industry, as well as for Finland as an interesting shooting location. The incentive, which was launched in Finland at the beginning of 2017, follows a cash rebate model. Production companies may receive up to 25% of a cash rebate for production costs in Finland. The incentive has received excellent feedback at the dozens of international film industry events where it has been promoted. The full sum of 10 million euros allocated for the incentive had been granted to productions already by the end of June 2017. Iron Sky: The Ark is one of 24 productions to receive funding from last year’s incentive.

“The production incentive is the best thing to happen to the Finnish film industry in years. Big studios and production companies are now finally interested in everything Finland has to offer. We wouldn’t be sitting at the table without the incentive”, says Teija Raninen, Film Commissioner of the West Finland Film Commission.

Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Emmy nominee Andy Garcia (The Godfather III, The Untouchables, Geostorm) plays William Russell, the extremely rich head of the Illuminati. Finnish actress Malla Malmivaara plays Doctor Anna Kontula. The international cast also includes Udo Kier, who is seen in all Iron Sky films; Chinese actor Duan Yihong, who recently won Best Actor at the Tokyo International Film Festival; and Taiwanese-British actor Rhydian Vaughan, who is also starring in the scene filmed in Turku, Finland. The main trio of Iron Sky: The Ark is played by young stars Lin Yi, Vivienne Tien, and Wang Lian. Actors Stephanie Paul and James Quinn, both familiar from the first Iron Sky film, are also participating in the filming in Turku.

“My experiences in China have completely exceeded my expectations; I had great actors and an efficient crew. It has been a pleasure to work with experienced actors such as Andy Garcia and Duan Yihong”, director Timo Vuorensola tells.

Iron Sky: The Ark is the third feature film set in the Iron Sky universe, but it is the first installment where the story originates in China. The original story was written by the main producer Max Wang together with Hongyang Yu. In the beginning of this Chinese-Finnish collaboration, Iron Sky Universe appointed American Dalan Musson to finish the script with Timo Vuorensola. The film features a story of two AV geeks who are kicked out of university. In need of cash, they end up decrypting a mysterious voice message received from the moon. Soon they find themselves fighting for the future of humanity, facing the mother of all conspiracy theories, the Illuminati.

“Having Andy Garcia in our film significantly increases the film’s distribution potential. One of our company’s main roles in this production has been the maximization of the sales and distribution of the film outside China”, Tero Kaukomaa, the main producer of Iron Sky Universe, tells.

The 25-million-dollar budget of Iron Sky: The Ark has been funded by China. The Chinese partners of Iron Sky Universe include China Film Group, Jiabo Culture Development, and Pan Pan Pictures. The Canadian partner in the production is Longevity International Enterprises Ltd. Director Timo Vuorensola, producer Tero Kaukomaa, actress Malla Malmivaara, cinematographer Mika Orasmaa, and composer Tuomas Kantelinen bring in Finnish talent, along with a big crew of professionals from Turku.

Iron Sky: The Ark is released in early 2019.

Photo: Annamari Merta / WFFC