The Woodcutter Story – an ACE project at 2022 Critics’ Week

An ACE project has been selected at Critics’ Week: first feature film of director Mikko Myllylahti, “The Woodcutter Story” is a international co-production with two ACE members on board from Finnish Aamu Film Company and Dutch Keplerfilm. The two met during ACE 27.

ACE Producers got the chance to briefly interview Jussi Rantamäki (ACE Finland), co-owner of Aamu Film Company, on the different stages of the project and the role played in it by ACE Producers and its Network.

Jussi, can you briefly introduce yourself and your company?

Aamu Film Company is a Finnish production company co-owned by me and Emilia [Haukka]. We strive from a director-driven cinema, where we select a limited number of directors and work closely with them from their shorts to international films. We don’t choose projects, but directors, by trying to build an understanding of their artistic vision. The director from “The Woodcutter Story” is one of our oldest collaborators. We have produced his short in 2012 until his feature debut now.

At what point of its development and of your career did you get selected for ACE?

We had just premiered “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki”, which was my first feature as a producer and as an entrepreneur. It won the Un Certain Regard Award in 2016. It was a nice upgrade to decide to go for “The Woodcutter Story”, and I applied for ACE 27 with that project.

How did it benefit from ACE?

The project got a great boost, especially during the Content Development Workshop. Koji Nelissen [ACE the Netherlands, in the picture with Jussi Rantamäki] was interested in it, and we finally met 1 year after in Cannes. Another ACE 27 producer was super interested, but at the end we opted for a Finnish-Dutch coproduction.
Also, at that time I needed to rethink how to grow as a company. My vision for the future was not molded enough and, in this context, it was fruitful to be at ACE. It was an amazing group. We are still in contact through social medias, and we try to gather during festivals and events throughout the year, so even outside of ACE context. I believe the strength of ACE is to create long-term relations with directors and film professionals and to reflect with other producers on the challenges and opportunities of the job.

ACE Producers' Films in Cannes 2022