Stand By Me meets The Life of Brian

August 15, 2011 at 9:06 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Pitching a movie in Hollywood you start with a pitch and move on to a one-pager, a synopsis, a treatment, a step outline, and then a screenplay. This is the one-pager for the novel Son of Man. (The movie rights were optioned to actor/producer Ron Gilbert.)

SON OF MAN

An autobiographical Jesus novel by Mike Pohjola

 ”It’s Stand By Me meets The Life of Brian.”

I grew up in a religious family where everyone was sure I would one day be something great. I agreed.

I’m five years old when I decide to climb a tree with my best friend. It had just stopped raining and the forest is slippery, but my friend is very persuasive. He climbs first and I follow. Then maybe twenty feet up my rubber boot slips on the branch, and I fall. There are rocks down below, and my head will hit them any moment and I will die. Then at five feet above ground, I stop. I’m hanging upside down in mid-air. I look up, and see that the bootstrap on my rubber boot is caught in a branch. I climb down gently.

I walk back home with my friend, and he tells me the branches have scarred my face. My mother is horrified as she cleans the wounds. ”Your guardian angel saved your life,” she says.

That’s right, I think. God told my guardian angel to save my life. But why? He doesn’t save everyone’s life. Why am I special? What plan does God have in store for me?

Five or six years later, after carefully examining the Bible with a child-like furor, I realize that it’s possible – maybe not probable, but possible – that I’m the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I’m proud that I’ve figured out God’s plan, but I also fear His punishment. What if He didn’t want me to know yet? I decide not to tell anyone, but try to be as good a Jesus as possible. I can’t smoke or drink or swear or disobey my parents or go around kissing girls. What kind of Jesus would I be?

The novel follows Julius, my alter ego, as he grows up in the shadow of his own Messianity. In the B plot we follow the Reverend Farfors who first baptizes little Julius as a young priest, and then goes on to become a sort of Pontius Pilate character later on.

The book follows Julius’ life from birth to until his about twenty-four. Despite all the Jesus stuff, he manages to experience many of the things that unite all those who grew up in the 80s and 90s. He plays Dungeons&Dragons, he loses his religion, he has several girlfriends, goes to demonstrations, he listens to metal music, he envies his friend’s Commodore-64, watches 9/11 on tv, makes graffiti, falls in love and fights with his parents. [SPOILERS OMITTED.]

The book ends with [SPOILERS OMITTED].

Publisher: Gummerus, 2011.
Language: Finnish, translations upcoming
Pages: about 500
Reference books: The Buddha of Suburbia, The Catcher in the Rye

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Awarded at Prix Europa!

November 2, 2010 at 9:30 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

The short film The Forest of Babel by Elina and me (produced by Pohjola-filmi) won at Prix Europa in the category Languages Through Lenses! The award gala was held at Haus des Rundfunks, and televised live in Germany. Present were just about all the European public broadcasting CEOs, Directors of Drama and the coolest creatives. Not bad 🙂

Watch the movie here!

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Prix Europa

October 20, 2010 at 5:07 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m spending this week in Berlin attending the Prix Europa tv conference. This is a meeting of European broadcasters and creators, where they watch or listen to each others tv series, radio shows, documentaries, emerging media productions (websites, mostly), and review them. Then they vote on them, and the ones highest regarded get awarded the Golden Bull.

Elina and I are attending because our short film The Forest of Babel was selected in the Languages Through Lenses category. The fifteen teams from all around Europe arrived on Saturday, and spent the whole of Sunday watching, commenting and voting on each others’ films. Sunday evening we found out that our film was one of the three short-listed ones, and would compete for the student award Golden Calf at the award gala this Saturday. Very exciting!

The film is a 90-second piece, that’s written by me, produced by Elina and directed by us together. It has a Sami girl, a Basque boy, and a Kurdish boy trying to save a reindeed from under a fallen tree in Lapland. It’s a co-production between Pohjola-filmi and Aalto University.

So we’re spending the whole week here at Prix Europa. Every morning begins with a breakfast speech by one luminary or another, and then the day is full of screenings from all over Europe. Sometimes there are special events like Guy Meredith’s lecture on non-linear screenwriting on Tuesday, or a producers’ panel on co-production this evening.

Monday’s breakfast speech was by British documentarist Paul Watson. He was an entertaining speaker and longed for the olden times when tv was apparently not as smitten with celebrities and the lowest common denominator. I don’t know, maybe he’s right. The reason I’m mentioning him is he had a great quote, perhaps the best I’ve heard here so far. ”Film is the opera of arts.” Let that sink in. What’s opera then? I must ask him again if I meet him again here in Berlin, the Frankfurt of Germany!

Today the Emerging Media section begun, and I’ll try and attend most of it. The amount of tweeting with the #PE10 tag immediately went through the roof since the conference is suddenly full of social media specialists. It’s very interesting to compare different European online/interactive/new media/multimedia/extended universe/mobile productions with the participatory stuff The company P is doing.

Now back to the conference to wait for Saturday… In the meanwhile, you can watch The Forest of Babel here! (Or wait for a film festival where you can see it, such as Kettupäivät in Helsinki.)

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Mr Spock is not a member

April 26, 2010 at 11:26 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Zachary Quinto, the new Mr Spock is not a member: http://www.imnotamember.com/#373

Nor is r&b singer Joss Stone: http://www.imnotamember.com/#1017

Nor is Julian Lennon: http://imnotamember.com/#845

Nor is Greg Grunberg: http://imnotamember.com/#345

Don’t be a member! Record you denial on the site!

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Ashterdam

April 20, 2010 at 10:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Because of the ash cloud I’m stuck in Amsterdam with my wife. The sun is shining and we don’t have to pay for the expenses, so it could be worse. But I’m still missing on lots of cool stuff.

A week ago I flew to London for a short work gig with The company P. On Wednesday evening I took a plane from Heathrow to Amsterdam, where my wife Elina and I took part in the EU-funded Languages Through Lenses short film workshop. Later this summer we’re going to make a short film based on our plans presented here, and we met some filmmakers from around the continent with similar plans.

On Thursday we found out about Eyjafjallajökull erupting, and on Friday the workshop was degenerating into chaos since everyone’s flights had to be reorganized. Our return trip was supposed to be on Saturday evening.

My intent was to leave Helsinki on Sunday morning and take the train to Turku, where they were rehearsing 1827 – Infernal Musical. I admit, the week was packed quite tight. This mandatory vacation has certainly taught me something about both flying on aeroplanes and being so damn busy all the time.

On Sunday the troupe in Turku read the book of the heavy metal musical for the first time, with what I assume was the final cast. Something like this is always a magical moment, and I hated to miss it. Especially since I’d only finished the script a few days before. The comments from actors and the rest of the crew have been very positive, and the project became much more concrete for everyone. I can’t wait to attend some of the reading rehearsals myself.

Funnily enough, while I was writing the text that eponymously takes place in the Turku Fire of 1827, I was thinking whether or not to mention the huge vulcanic eruption of 1815. It covered the entire planet in an ash cloud that resulted in a ”Year Without a Summer”. It was cold, crops were ruined, people were starving, European cities had food riots.

As a side note, four writers were summer vacationing in Switzerland in that year of 1816, but because of the vulcanic winter the weather was so bad they just stayed inside and held a horror story contest. Thus was born Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – A Modern Prometheus, and John Polidori’s ur-Dracula The Vampyre. Two of popular culture’s central figures were born vecause of the summerless year. Lord Byron taking part in the same contenst later wrote the apocalyptic poem Darkness about the that year.

I left the vulcano out of the dialogue, since I thought nobody would believe a vulcanic eruption could have such global consequences. Now I’m stuck in Amsterdam because Eyjafjallajökull is spewing ash into the atmosphere. From Facebook and cell phone I’ve managed to soak in some of the mood of the reading. Here’s a picture of the event. (The reading, not the eruption.)

On this weekend Sweden hosts Knutpunkt, where I was going to hold three programme items. A Jesus-themed larp called Messiah, a ritual workshop with Erlend Eidsem and assisting Martin Elricsson in the presentation. The first I canceled and the two latter will be taken over by the others.

Right now it looks like we’ll leave ’Dam on a night train to Copenhagen, change trains there or in Malmö, and arrive in Katrineholm near where Knutpunkt is being held. We’d take part in the Punkt’s last evening, continue from there with bus to Stockholm and take the ferry to Helsinki. If nothing goes wrong…

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Flag Burners at Wreck-a-Movie

February 17, 2010 at 11:51 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

My 28-minute film Flag Burners is getting close to pre-production… I created a participatory Wreck-a-Movie site for the film so you can for example recommend music for the soundtrack  or give ideas on rough locations to shoot in Helsinki. Join the production and lend me a hand! 🙂 http://www.wreckamovie.com/flagburnerslipunpolttajat2

As an extra bonus for you blog readers, here’s a couple of photos from a recent script meeting. I wish all background research was this concrete. The flag was naturally bought at a gothic clothing store in London’s Camden Market.

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Year in Status

December 19, 2009 at 11:23 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A fun Facebook app made a collage of the status updates I’ve had over the year. Quite a nice collection, excluding the fact that I also got married somewhere in there 🙂

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Pohjola-filmi gets new website

October 27, 2009 at 9:54 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Our production company Pohjola-filmi just opened its new website! The beautiful look is designed by Toni Uuttu.

We love the website, and are really excited because this Thursday we’re having a showing for media and friends (welcome), and on Nov 4th at the Kettupäivät festival we have the first public viewing of the film in Finland.

The website is at www.pohjolafilmi.fi

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Trailer for About Marriage

October 12, 2009 at 1:16 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

The first film from Pohjola-filmi is about to have it’s Finnish premiere. “About Marriage” is a romantic documentary that we originally made for our wedding. This “commercial version” will soon begin touring festivals. The trailer can be found here:

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Resumé updated

August 9, 2009 at 6:31 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I updated my English resumé, and decided to post it here on this blog, as well. Check it out!

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