It all started in a bar

Jari Komulainen was Selin’s friend already in the 80’s. They were neighbors in Seaside Hotel for a year. Komulainen’s company was a subtenant of Solar Films for five years in the first Lauttasaari office.


I remember like yesterday when Solar was born. We were sitting in the legendary corner table of the Colorado Bar in Unioninkatu; the birthplace of several important decisions. We founded the bar 20 years ago, together with the colorful business tycoon of moving pictures, Markus Selin. We were next-door-neighbors in the suites of the Seaside Hotel; I was in the travel industry at the time and had moored my first tourist attraction submarine in front of the hotel.

Jari Komulainen, Antti Raunio and Jukka Ylitalo

We were both bachelors and our bar bills were getting a bit out of hand. So in order to cut down our wet-whistling costs, we started our own bar. We hired Mika Karttunen to manage the place; he has all sorts of knowledge, regardless of the type of business. Mika had been running the place for a few months, when Markus informed us at the corner table session that Karttunen is now in the service of the film industry. We had to find a new boss in a rush.

20 years have slipped away, very fast. I had my own offices in a subtenant room of the Solar Films premises, in the old car maintenance floor in Lauttasaari. And I was allowed to watch from a ringside distance the joys and sorrows of a starting production company – and witness the daily activities of a merry bunch; Taina, Pinka, Rampe, Antti etc.

Their first – and to me, still the best movie – was “Sunset Riders”. The fantastic script by Pote (Heikki Vihinen) worked like a charm, the cast was inspired and inspiring. My input into the movie (and to several other Solar features) was acquiring various types of props. The instructions were always the same; immediately and no expenses.

Esa and Vesa – Sunset Riders: Vesa Mäkelä and Antti Litja

I am still excited about the opening weekend figures of their new movies – and read the reviews as soon as they come out. The company seems to do OK still – and why shouldn’t it?

I wish them luck for the next 20 years.