Director Johanna Vuoksenmaa: I want to see what 75 years old Londoners are up to

Director Johanna Vuoksenmaa: I want to see what 75 years old Londoners are up to

Director-screenwriter Johanna Vuoksenmaa will spend October in London in the first ever film residency of the Finnish Institute in London. Vuoksenmaa has directed and written several popular Finnish tv-series and films.

You are leaving to London soon. What are your thoughts about it?

“I’ve noticed that it’s good to cut loose from normal routes and even your mother tongue while you’re writing. My goal is to finish the script of my next feature film in London and to get familiar with British audiovisual culture. British comedy has always felt closer for me than American comedy.”

Can you tell a little about the script you will write in London?

“At the moment I’m writing the final part of my trilogy. It will be called 75 on vain numero (75 is just a number). My trilogy explores the pain of personal growth and its previous parts are 21 Ways to Ruin a Marriage (2013) and Adult Camp (2015). The final part is about growing old and it tells a story of 75 years old women.”

What are your expectations for London?

“I’m looking forward to having time to watch films by other artists. I also want to spend my time just observing people. The moments when I sit in a cafe and watch people are most creative ones for me. All my ideas come from observations. Sometimes it is nice to search for them in different cultures. It’s also good for this particular writing process to see what 75 years old Londoners are up to.”

You want to explore to British comedy during your residency. What are your your favourites in that genre?

The Full Monty is one of my all time favourites. I like the diversity of the characters in Mike Leigh’s films. I love female comedians’ work like Smack the Pony and Green Wing.”

Why do you make comedy?

“I want to make comedy about the things that cause pain and anxiety. I would like to give people tools and perspectives for being compassionate for themselves and laughing at themselves. My mission is to make films and tv-series that give people strength to get out of bed the next morning.”  

You have made a career in Finnish comedy. Have you noticed any change through the years?

“In Finland, comedy films are quite rare, especially original scripts. Farces are part of the tradition, but drama-comedies are less common. When I started, most of the scripts were based on historic events, myths, biographies or books. The biggest change is that nowadays there are more Finnish premiers of larger variety, which makes it easier for the audience to find something they like. In the dark days of 80’s we used to think not even Finns want to watch Finnish films. Now people look forward to Finnish premiers and like the films.”

Text: Anna Suoninen

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