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An Interview with Anssi Korhonen, Director of The Question and 13:28

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2018

Films directed by Anssi Korhonen on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie The Question - in a few words, what is it about?


It's about two guys who randomly meet at a bar and start to talk about a late rock star who had commited suicide.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing The Question, and to what degree could you actually identify with either lead character of the film?


I've actually had the premise for this for few years already. My friend told me about this dream he had where he met Petri Walli, the lead singer of Kingston Wall, who had commited suicide years ago. I thought that was a really interesting set up for a short film; how would you handle the situation where you know that something can't be real but still is right there. The actual content and message of the film came about after the unfortunate deaths of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell. It really amazed me how ignorant and hypocrite some people acted after the news, blaming them for "being cowards" and "setting up a bad example" etc. I know thousands of people were shocked by the news and were just letting out their sadness, but before running your mouth on public you should think about do you actually know what you're talking about? Those comments might hurt their loved ones even more. You know, the people who actually knew them.


What can you tell us about your co-writer Kyle Baughman, and what was your collaboration like?


I already had Kyle as the 1st AD on my crew and I knew he was a talented writer. I was struggling with my dialogue and asked for his help. He wrote his own version of the dialogue and at the end I just mashed up his version with mine and it worked out great.


Do talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?


I already knew Holden McNeil from doing make up for my previous short 13:28. I knew he as a person already had the looks and all characteristics of Wade and he liked the script. Xander Turian [Xander Turian interview - click here] as well I already knew from 13:28 and I knew he could pull this part off. After the first rehearsals we found the mood and tension between the two so it was all set, except for Xander's hair hahaha.


Another new movie of yours is 13:28 - so again, what is it about and what were your sources of inspiration?


To me 13:28 is more of a scene than a complete short story. I actually wanted to try doing comedy and already had a script for it, but it just didn't feel right so I scrapped that whole project, rewatched Se7en and wrote the first draft of 13:28 in something like 10 minutes. So yeah, Se7en was a huge influence and I didn't even try to hide it. That being said I think it still looks and feels like an original film and something I can be really proud of.


From what I know, 13:28 is the proof of concept for an intended feature film - so how do you intend to expand that movie?


Yes, that wasn't originally the idea but as I kept developing the concept for the short it just felt like it could be something much bigger. I've always been fascinated with the human mind and how someone becomes a psychopath. That's something I really want to explore through films and in Job we have a character who is obviously really fucked up, so at least I myself want to know how he ended up like that. There's also a story to tell what happens after 13:28. Job has reached the climax of his killing spree mutilating himself and offing his pursuers. What happens next? So there's enough story for at least two feature films in there, but for that I need an actual production company and someone to help me out with the screenplay.


Again, do talk about your cast!


Xander was the first one I cast here. His piercing look and combat background were the the things that nailed the role for him and of course I already knew he was a good actor. I really wanted Tomas Verdejo Urzua for the role of Jeff because I knew he was an amazing actor, so the day when I met him and we talked about the film and he said yes, I think after leaving the café I might've said out loud "fuck yeah!". Then again finding a partner to Jeff who would match up with him was a bit trickier but in the end Mantas Ceskauskas was the first one we tried for the role and it just clicked.


With both your movies being of the horror variety, is that a genre at all dear to you, and how do they differ in their respective approach to horror?


I love good horror movies but I don't seem to know the definition of horror film anymore. To me a horror film should be scary and make me feel uncomfortable (like The Exorcist, The Omen, Ringu, Don't Look Now...), but it feels like these days a film is labeled as horror if there's few jump scares in there. So I don't think either of my films are horror, and I definitely didn't start to work on them as horror films. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind my films being labeled as horror but I just don't see them that way myself. Both of the films have a very high tension in them. With 13:28 it's right there from the very beginning as in The Question it grows and gets twisted slowly throughout the film.


Do talk about both shoots, and where were the similarities, where the differences?


13:28 took a lot more time to prepare as of the art design. We had to turn a living room set to a crappy shithole and it was a process of trial and error but I think we managed to build a nice looking set. With The Question it was much more about finding the right location. I went through a lot of bars and pubs trying to find the right layout. Might sound like fun but it wasn't. After few days I found this cocktail bar called Bukowski's and it was just perfect. Even the lighting in there was already really cool. At this point I had my mind set on that location and of course couldn't get hold of the owner for days. I remember thinking that if we can't shoot there I won't shoot this story at all. The actual shooting was pretty smooth for both films because we were well prepared and everything was rehearsed so each shot was only a few takes. And the crew was pretty much the same for both films so everyone already knew how to work together.


Both The Question and 13:28 star and were produced by Xander Turian [Xander Turian interview - click here] - so what was your collaboration like, and how did you two first meet even?


Xander Turian in The Question

I met Xander at Prague Film School where he was assigned to act on my second project. We worked well together on the set and I knew I could count on him so it was easy to cast him to both of these films. Producing wise I think his biggest input has been on marketing the films and getting them out there. He has a lot of experience on campaigning films and getting into festivals.


The $64-question of course, where can The Question and 13:28 be seen?


Both of them are online already, and also going through some festivals. If you want to catch them on big screen, follow the Facebook pages and we'll let you know whenever festival screenings are confirmed.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


We're in post production of my new short film called 42 Days and it should be done sometime in June. We're gonna try our luck on the festivals first before releasing it online. After the film is done I of course would like to move on towards my first feature, so I'm gonna start looking for partners to make it happen.


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


We used to do skate- and snowboarding videos when we were kids, and I wasn't any good myself so I started to focus on shooting other people instead. As I got deeper into making skatevideos I realized I could combine my passion for music and art through video, so I got into making the music videos... I'd say I've learned 95% of the craft on field and through other filmmakers.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Question and 13:28?


My background is in music videos. I think I did the first one in 08 or 07 and been doing them ever since. Of course I had to do other work as well because you don't live off just music videos, at least in Finland you don't.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


It might be because of my background in music videos, but I'm quite visual director. Many times I see scenarios, moods or even specific shots before I have a single line of story. Whatever I do I want my films to evoke emotions in viewers, whether good or bad. That's why my films usually have quite grim mood, those kind of emotions are much stronger in me.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


I already mentioned Se7en earlier so obviously David Fincher, then Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Lars Von Trier, Chris Cunningham, David Lynch.


Your favourite movies?


Can't answer that one. If I name one, I come up with another one, then another one, then another one....


... and of course, films you really deplore?


Never thought of films that way


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Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


You forgot to ask what's my favourite beer and that would be Kozel. Thank you! 


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD