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007 Travelers interview: Jussi Huhtala, Managing Editor Digital / Movie Magazine EPISODI

Jussi Huhtala




Who: Jussi Huhtala, Managing Editor Digital, Movie Magazine Episodi

Where: Kinopalatsi, Helsinki, Finland

When: 30 December 2014

How did all this start, Jussi Huhtala?
This all started as a hobby. Movies have been my hobby since I was a child and I have watched a lot of them. When you were able to do this for a living, there your hobby and work combined, which is really great and rewarding when you can do the work that you like. This started as a passion for movies. I am in my dream job. I was a movie fan, who became a movie journalist. Leisure and work overlap each other in both good and bad, mostly good. Being a fan of the movies is not of course enough, you must have a passion to do this. You have to like this and it requires certain kind of ambition.

Your education?
I am Master of Science, studied languages and I’m a trained translator. I also did that kind of work for some time. Later I have been in business world and later started as an editor. I have made articles for Episodi since it was founded. Later I started being as freelance editor in 2008 and I also made articles for other Pop Media’s magazines. I have been Managing Editor as a permanent employee since 2011. So practically I have been in Episodi already over 10 years.

 

Your normal working day?
It depends on the phase where our monthly magazine is in every month. If I’m busy with the magazine, I edit and write articles and later I proofread and finalize the magazine before it goes to press. I co-operate also with the layout people. If the magazine has already gone to press, one of my responsibility is also taking care of Episodi’s web site. We update news there continuously and I make articles and supervise that everything goes as they should go and new material comes to site steadily. So, my duties divide to these two things, making a magazine and online publications. I also go to press screenings watching movies.

Birth of Episodi?
It was a quite small idea when we started. We wanted to make an international level movie publication, which concentrates on mainstream movies and is a high standard movie magazine for big audience, visually good looking on paper and it has stories made by professionals. I started my career as a film critic at the same time when Episodi was established. Timing was good, because Episodi was searching new writers and I was actively searching publisher for my texts. So interests met.

The development of Episodi magazine?
The idea of the magazine has remained the same, but when comparing older magazines to this day, you can see that we have gone forward in many ways. Magazine’s layout has changed a bit and we have done improvements, author base has been broadened and writers are more versatile. Basic idea is the same, we are doing good looking paper to movie audience. But since Episodi is a magazine that is specializing in movies, we can serve also some marginal things like horror movies, festivals or DVD of Blu-ray publications. The magazine has over 100 pages per month, so it has room for everything, but the idea is that we are concentrating on mainstream movies.

Are you making all articles by yourselves?
We have some assistants who are not Finnish. We order some articles from the places that are providing stories only in English. We have some English assistants, but we have to translate those stories that we get from them. Depends on the situation. If we want to interview some big star of the movie, we prefer to use those Finnish assistants that we have in Hollywood. If it is not possible to get interview from our usual reporter, then we get it via some movie company or foreign agency that provides interviews.

1980’s, what is so charming about it?
I wanted to make a column series, where you kind of go back to your youth and nostalgic things of your youth. That was my idea here. It’s all about where everything is coming from and it is a nostalgic reminiscence. 70’s and 80’s stuff are close to my heart. Movies of that time gave me a kick start for being a movie fan. Nowadays, when there are re-release of e.g. some Charles Bronson movie, I notice that I go back to my youth´s watching experiences. This is what I want to say with this series of stories.

Do those movies feel different now than they did back then?
It is true, that the experience is different when you look a movie again as an adult. Some people say, that you should never go back to the childhood movies, because they look so awful. But you just have to look them in certain way. I think that if the movie was good in your childhood, it is worth of watching again. You just have to have certain attitude and not to expect too much.

Which movie has kept its charm over the years?
A couple of movies from my youth starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford came to my mind: “The Sting” (1973) and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969). I have watched these two movies again a while ago and they work! Many western movies as well as Bond movies, that are your hobby, work. There are many classic movies like “Citizen Kane” (1941), which I fell in love with. They don’t lose their shine and are the best classic movies. On the other hand, some action movies from the 70’s that were good then, some of them feels quite bad nowadays.

The all-time best movie ever made?
I make lists of these every now and then and I would like to highlight Andrei Tarkovsky. He is my all time favourite. When I grew up and started to realize what cinema is all about and I started to deeply understand and tried to understand movie magic and depth, Tarkovsky was one who impressed me. Tarkovsky’s movies and especially “Zerkalo” – “The Mirror” (1975). My lists are changing all the time, it depends on when you are asking. There are many good films that I would like to raise to Top 10. Anyhow, Tarkovsky’s “The Mirror” is number one, because there, as well as other films in my list, have that kind of realization, that e.g. Tarkovsky was the kind who did not only made stories and included some pictures to them, but all parts were carefully thought about. When I started to realize the meaning of image composition and started to understand that this is movie art, not just a filmed drama. When I watched Tarkovsky, I realized that. Also how you handle music, visuality and text. E.g. Tarkovsky was the one who opened my eyes: Movie is not just theatre, it is much more, and it is an own art form.

The best Bond movie?
The one that I have seen first and it is “Live and Let Die” (1973). It is the best, even though it has been a while since I last saw it. There are so many things in it, why I want to raise it above others. Beside it was the first one I saw, it has splendid chase sequences, real great villains and I like Roger Moore. Also it is exciting how “blaxploitation” is utilized. It has black actors and some Shaft influence. Clever thing in a Bond movie. It has an original approach and plenty of speed. It also has one of the best theme songs. This is the dearest Bond movie to me.

Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

The best Bond actor?
Roger Moore. When I saw first Bond movie, Roger Moore was as James Bond and he was then the “ruling James Bond”. That’s why I consider him being the first real Bond for me. Sean Connery is of course just awesome and the original Bond, but for me Roger Moore is the best, because I saw him as a James Bond from the beginning. Roger Moore brought humour to Bond films after Connery. Moore has great British humour, which I like. Also his personality is just wonderful. He understood that this character cannot be taken 100% seriously, but you have to have some twinkle in the eye. I think it was a good idea. When you look him as an action star, he is really credible, and that credibility is not shaken even though he has that kind of twinkle in his eye.




How about Daniel Craig, who plays the role quite opposite way?
Yes, I like Daniel Craig as well, because when “Casino Royale” (2006) and Daniel Craig came, this movie series was renewed very well and I was impressed. “Casino Royale” is one of the best Bond movies, because somehow they had gone to the end of the road with all those gadgets and possible influence of Austin Powers movies. Those movies made parody about everything that was seen in Bond films, so they had to do something and the direction that Bond was tight-lipped and crusty, who doesn’t play around with any silly gadgets. That was a good decision and worked very well. I also like Daniel Craig’s Bond movies. I think all Bond actors are good, except George Lazenby, who was only in one Bond movie. Movie itself is not bad, but I didn’t like him as an actor. Maybe because he was only in one movie. I feel he is wrong face playing Bond and he didn’t have certain kind of charisma. I don’t like him. “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969) is a good movie, but it would have been ever better, if Sean Connery had played Bond.

What kind of expectations you have of “SPECTRE“?
I liked “Skyfall” (2012), in practise, same people are now making “SPECTRE” (2015), so I believe it will be a good one. I think “Quantum of Solace” (2008) was weak, or weaker than “Casino Royale” (2006), but when Sam Mendes is the director, I think it will really work.

What is the best travel destination where you have been and why?
I was in Crete last summer (2014), it was a really nice place. I almost have to say that it is the best place where I have been. It is a great place for a person who likes simple things. There is a suitable climate, stunning scenery, warm ocean water, magnificent food and friendly people. It is a great place for me. When I was a young boy, I visited Baikal in East Siberia, it was a rather great experience. Especially the Lake Baikal is an incredible place. There is just a completely own fauna, fish and seals, which you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Then those endless forests around you and certain mystique, which is related to that place was a great experience.

What took you there?
I was in Russian language course in southern Russia, but they organized this kind of trip for Finnish students to Eastern Siberia and it was quite an exceptional thing.

What is the place where you have not been, but would like to travel?
If I have to choose only one Place, it is somewhere in Asia, it could be Japan. Japanese culture is interesting and as a movie fan, I have watched Akira Kurosawa‘s movies and that culture seems to be really fascinating. Then again, it is kind of place where I have never been, so I definitely would like to go there.

Have you been elsewhere in Asia?
I mentioned already that East Siberian trip. Otherwise I have not traveled in the Asia.

Have you met leading actors of the Bond films?
Unfortunately not. Roger Moore visited Finland not so long ago, but unfortunately then I was not able to participate in press meetings where Roger Moore was. If he visits Finland again, I would certainly like to meet him. I have read some of Roger Moore’s books, which he has written. His biography was translated into Finnish and just a while ago came out his “Last Man Standing” book, which has some memories from his career. Really fun to read.

Photo: www.fansshare.com

How about other actors or actresses who have appeared in Bond movies?
One thing came to my mind… I had this kind of “Bond related” trip, which is somehow related to Bond. I was in Toronto at the beginning of 2013, where was one actress who had appeared in a Bond film. She was Famke Janssen. I was in press conference of “Hemlock Grove TV series in Toronto and there I was able to meet her. We didn’t speak about Bond movie, because short interview time was reserved for questions related to “Hemlock Grove” series.

How was she?
She was really pleasant and nice person to be interviewed. Very cheerful and polite.

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