The timeline of Solar Films
THE SUNSET RIDERS premiers at the end of the year. The Rascals / Vintiöt TV series begins. The long-time collaboration between the DIRECTOR ALEKSI MÄKELÄ and Solar Films / Markus Selin begins.
HARLIN & SELIN Productions is taken down. Markus Selin (51 %), Antti Jokinen (39%) and Taina Saikkonen (10%) establish a new company to follow on its footsteps. MIKA KARTTUNEN is recruited as a production manager.
SUNSET RIDERS wins two Jussi awards; best direction (Aleksi Mäkelä) and best actor (Juha Veijonen) 2.2. SOLAR FILMS is marked to the Register of Companies 15.2. THE RASCALS continues. Peltiheikit TV series is produced for MTV3.
PELTIHEIKIT airs in January-February. The new office space is reconstructed to Kiviaidankatu, Lauttasaari and the company moves there from Mikonkatu at the end of the year.
THE ANNUAL JUSSI gala is given to the hands of Solar Films. A NEW TV-CHANNEL Nelonen starts 1.6. During the spring, Markus Selin recruits a lot of new people to make programs for the new channel. The regulars include e.g. Pinka Hämäläinen, Rampe Toivonen, Venla Mäkelä and Johanna Hasu. Martti Sivonen, a freelance sound recordist, stays in the house as well. Sirkka Rautiainen begins her first work stint in Solar. People come and go. New hosts and hostesses are hired; Inka Auhagen, Maria Guzenina, Mattiesko Hytönen and Juha Föhr.
Because CHANNEL FOUR can’t buy all the programs from the same company, Storm is established. The partners are the owners of Solar and Mika Karttunen. ANTTI JOKINEN directs a drama series Under The Star Lantern, written by Kata Kärkkäinen (Souri) for MTV3. THE GOLDRUSH is shot in the summer. The premiere is 5.12. The movie is a box office success with 180 000 spectators.
HYTÖNEN OF THE DAY (previously The Headline Poster of the Day), which started in 1997, continues until May. Nelonen awards the program for the best original program idea. The DAILY SOAP STAR FACTORY begins. The Tough Ones gets production support from Film Foundation – the movie is shot in early summer and early fall in Kauhava. JUKKA HELLE starts in November as the new CEO.
THE TOUGH ONES premiers in January, with chock-a-block full theaters. More prints are made. The new rise of the domestic cinema has begun. The Tough Ones ends up with a figure of 330 000 spectators. RESTLESS is shot in Turku, during the summer. The Man trilogy, based on MINNA VIRTANEN’S idea, starts with the miniseries The Lovely Man. Muodollisesti Pätevä, written by VENLA MÄKELÄ for Yle, begins. Aleksi Mäkelä directs. The series continues in the years to come and it wins several Venla awards. ALEKSI MÄKELÄ directs comedy series Äkkiä Anttolassa, following in the footsteps of Vintiöt. The series airs in the fall on Yle channels. Two seasons of JUST MARRIED is shot. The first one is hosted by Peter Franzén, the second by Nicke Lignell. Another foreign format FAMILY FEUD begins. Nicke Lignell is hosting. In the sets built in Kerava, 160 episodes are shot in 10 weeks. Channel four airs them, 4 episodes a week. Altogether 500 episodes of the game show are aired 1999-2002. ANTTI JOKINEN directs a drama documentary Bioterror. YLE airs a TV movie There’s a Satan in the House, by Aleksi Mäkelä. STORM buys Taina Saikkonen’s 10 % share of Solar.
RESTLESS opens in January in full theaters and accelerates almost to the landmark of 300 000 spectators. KIRJAVA SILTA, a 6-episode drama series shot during the previous summer, directed by Antti Jokinen, is aired in January-February. THE SOUTH is having production hiccups in Spain but the crew manages to wrap the movie. The expectations are big; the premiere is in December. But, by Solar standars, the movie flops. The final audience is less than 70 000. THE BLACK CAT ALLEY, a drama series, is shot in Kerava. The original title is “Susi rajalla”. Markus Selin directs, the cast is the best of the best – but the series flops, badly.
ME AND MORRISON is shot in Helsinki, in the early autumn. Samuli Edelmann loses a lot of weight for his role. Markus Selin decides to have one ticket-requiring screening in December 28th, so the film can compete for the Jussi awards of the year.
ME AND MORRISON opens nationwide January 4th. Irina Björklund gets a Jussi award for the best actress in a leading role. The movie is a box office hit. ACCLAIMED AND AWARDED drama series “In Cold Blood” begins. Kirsi Salo humiliates competitors in “The Weakest Link” for three seasons.
BAD BOYS starts the year. The gala premiere is held at the Länsiauto Arena, for thousands of invited guests. The occasion is massive by Finnish standards. The role models of the movie, the Koistinen brothers, are present. The movie reaches an audience of 615 000 spectators, a figure still unsurpassed in Finland. PERHAPS THE MOST PRAISED drama series in Finland, Fragments, airs on Channel Four. Director Aku Louhimies later expands one of the episodes to a feature-length film Frozen City. THE SECOND part of the Man trilogy, The Beautiful Man, is ready. Solar’s own format Do You Want to be a Movie Star? attracts attention. The winner (Hanna Karjalainen) is promised a role in the Addiction.
ADDICTION, directed by Minna Virtanen, opens in January, surrounded by a lot of brouhaha. SOLAR FILMS moves to the house in Veneentekijäntie. The real estate company of Jussi Salonoja has bought the protected building and renovated it thoroughly. The architect Marco Casagrande has designed two-story steel towers in the high studio premises. The structures are on wheels – because no permanent changes are allowed to be made to the protected house. The wheels are just a smoke screen, of course. Only Mika Karttunen and Rampe Toivonen use their designated work areas; all the rest are in temporary use or empty. Later, Solar Films buys the house from Salonoja’s real estate company. THE MOST watched domestic movie of the year is Vares – Private eye, opening July 23rd. A SUCCESSFUL Swedish-Finnish co-production Popular Music premieres in the fall. JOE MILLIONAIRE, produced with a record speed, is aired on MTV3. The series is a jackpot in every way, the audience polls are high. A THREE-PART mini-series The Rich Man completes the Man trilogy.
A BUSY YEAR starts with the movie Frozen Land. The movie collects praise and accolades; four out of five awards at the Gothenburg Film Festival. Later it wins eight Finnish Film Awards. NEW SERIES include Avec Sara, The Beauty and the Nerd, Model School and You Are What You Eat. SOLAR SWIMS deep in economical hardships. Antti Jokinen sells his shares (39%) to new financiers. Besides Selin, the buyers are Jussi Salonoja, Jukka Ylitalo and Seppo Koskinen, via his company. The new partners are also in the board of directors.
MATTI – HELL IS FOR HEROES opens the year, breaking the opening weekend box office records, ending up as number 2, after Bad Boys, in the overall statistics since 1990. THE SECOND feature of the year Frozen City doesn’t attract audinces in the fall – but gets a landslide of Jussi awards in the following winter. THE TV DEPARTMENT introduces The Tikkurila trilogy, written by Venla Mäkelä, and a hilarious comedy show Studio Impossible. Several other game and reality shows are produced, including The Biggest Loser.
ALEKSI MÄKELÄ’S second Vares movie V2 – The Frozen Angel opens in January, doing well in the box office. SELIN AND THE OTHER partners sell half of the company to Egmont Holding, the parent company of the Danish Nordisk Films A/S. The CEO of Nordisk Film Michael Ritto comes to the board, to be replaced later by Allan Hansen as the CEO of the Nordisk changes. THE BAND LORDI travels to Cannes on the wings of Solar, to promote the upcoming production Dark Floors – The Lordi Motion Picture. THORNE, a meritious documentary about the life and death of Lauri Törni, directed by Mika Karttunen, is published. SOLAR TELEVISION is established on November 1st. The shareholders are: Solar Films, Petteri Ahomaa, Jukka Helle and Marjukka Lihavainen.
DOME KARUKOSKI’S The Home of Dark Butterflies impresses the audiences and the critics. It triumphs in the Jussi gala of the following year. THE PREMIERE of Dark Floor attracts thousands of people to the Oulu Ice Stadium, but the attention doesn’t show in the box office. Lordi flops. Luckily The Subtenant is shown to full houses. THE TV AUDIENCES are entertained by several game and reality shows, including The Fear Factor Finland. DON’T DREAM IT, directed by Aleksi Mäkelä and written by Venla Mäkelä, is one of the highlights of the year.
HELLSINKI, by Aleksi Mäkelä, open the year with strong results. SEVERAL game shows are still produced. The new series, The Moment of Truth is the last TV production of Solar. 78,2 % of Solar Television is sold to Banijay Entertainment SAS, a French media conglomerate. The rest of the stock remains with the original partners. SOLAR FILMS buys Bronson Club, struggling on the edge of bankruptcy.
REINDEERSPOTTING is a surprise hit of the year; shot by junkies, with a stolen video camera. The sensational document makes a domestic audience record in theatrical release. MARJA PYYKKÖ’S girl energy film Run, Sister, Run opens in the fall, with good box office. BRONSON’S comeback movie is Veijarit; the successful movie is directed by Lauri Nurkse. The premiere is in December.
THE SIX EPISODE series of Vares movies, shot during the previous year, commences. The Kiss of Evil is out in January, The Girls of April in April and The Garter Snake in August. The gala premiere of the first one is held at the Turku Arena, full of grateful and satisfied people. BRONSON produces August, with modest success. HOME, SWEET HOME, by Aleksi Mäkelä doesn’t do well either – although several critics think it’s Mäkelä’s best movie.
THE BUSIEST YEAR EVER: three times Vares (The Path of the Righteous, The Gambling Chip, The Tango of Darkness) and two Bronson productions (Love And Other Troubles and Fanatics). Purge is AN ARTISTIC AND COMMERCIAL success, directed by Antti Jokinen. It saves the year. An unforgettable premiere is held in Tallinn in August. Sofi Oksanen’s new novel is published simultaneously at the Nokia theater. TWO MASSIVE events take place at the Hartwall Arena later that fall. November 10th the concert of Nightwish, followed by the movie Imaginaerum. December 1st the documentary Robin, followed by a concert by the wonder kid. BRONSON is merged to Solar Films at the end of the year.
THE HIJACK That Went South, by Aleksi Mäkelä, opens the year. After the premiere the director leaves Solar Films and starts Nummela Filmi, with Markus Selin. Village People, by Marja Pyykkö, opens in the summer. Peter Franzén’s first movie Above Dark Waters deserves praise in the fall. The gala premiere is held at the Central School in Keminmaa, followed by a party in a giant tent. The input of Sirkka Rautiainen is crucial.
ABOVE DARK WATERS does well in the box office – but still less than expected and the year is disappointing to Solar Films. THE LONGEST SERVING EMPLOYEE of Solar Mika Karttunen goes freelancer. Rampe Toivonen retires, Sirkka Rautiainen also starts looking for new challenges.
MOVIES make people happy, for a change. Kummeli V, the first production of Nummela Filmi (founded by Aleksi Mäkelä and Markus Selin) entertains audiences in February. Summertime, by Inari Niemi, shows the best sides of Hanko the summer city and The Grump, by Dome Karukoski, hits the jackpot. It opens in September and continues drawing audiences still during the following year. The total is astonishing half a million, which puts the movie to the second place, between Bad Boys and Matti – Hell is for Heroes. Solar Films holds now the top three places in the charts after 1990.
THE FESTIVE YEAR is opened by Vares – The Sheriff. The gala premiere is at the Logomo Hall in Turku, the party is held at Apollo Club. The combined audiences of Vares movies break the one million spectator mark. ANTTI LITJA wins a Jussi award for his main role in The Grump. THE OTHER premieres include Reunion, The Midwife and Heavysaurs – The Movie. Something for everyone. SOLAR REPUBLIC is established to the side of Solar Films. The shareholders are: Solar Films, Jens Fryckman, Jukka Helle, Kim Sainio and Samuli Norhomaa.