Looking back at 2020

Thoughts of the last year by our Co-Founder, 1st Assistant Director Iiris, who funnily enough has been working abroad for most of the time.


I decided to highlight some of the fabulous people who’ve I’ve had on my AD teams this year. It seemed appropriate as people make the productions in the end. These three seemed to find their way on most of my productions – of which I need to be very very thankful.


It’d been couple of years since we got to work on the same project in the same team. Feels like every new adventure we have – together or separately – brings us closer to same mindset. I do not recall having as much fun as we’ve had in the long nights of 2020 – starting from Night of the Living Dicks (short film), our event production in Berlinale NFFC UG Party (first festival event Aino managed fully herself on site!), then Memory of Water shoot in Estonia and Norway (feature we completed in two parts due to hitting pandemic) and now lastly our ongoing production in Sweden. She’s grown outstandingly and I feel like we’re equally challenged by our duties. It’s not only me being the supervisor, supporting her – she’s supporting me fully on my mission and covering for my weak spots when I need help. And she knows me inside and out – on good and bad. (At least she’s grown to find most of my jokes funny.)

Aino and Janne working on Night of the Living Dics short film by Bufo, picture taken by amazing Mitro Härkönen.


Oh boy, oh boy, how ready for action this gentleman was and how deep in it he got through 2020! Besides taking a lot of new duties and responsibilities on his shoulders in multiple new productions (Janne has grown to be a fantastic call sheet creator which is one of the most challenging tasks film production includes) he became a truly trusted team member of mine. After working on two complex short films – one filming 8 and one 9 days – and recreating all call sheets dozens of times, sometimes in the morning of the shoot, discussing through detailed FX make ups, animal wrangling, SFX works and VFX plates on his own, I was even slightly afraid he’d ask Emma to work on someone elses team for a while. But luckily he’s been there for me on huge breakdowns by the end of year too – and I’d proudly take him on any upcoming project with me.

Emma H.

There aren’t many young talents who are ready to take in lots of new tasks, people and projects within a short period (how is it that always with me people get fully pulled to the deep end…) and also to listen to strict new rules and demands from their supervisors. Emma has been incredibly brave, smart and very independent already in the beginning. I was wondering if she’d find professional filmmaking limiting, too traditional, too by the book (even though it can be everything else) but she embraced what she learned, showed her humble attitude and understood so much more than what was asked. From an Intern visiting her first professional set she became a strong Assistant and even took her first step towards 2nd ADing one day by working on a student short film as one. Go Emma! I’m eagerly waiting to get back on set with her. (Ps. She also standed me as her roommate for 2 weeks on a shoot, which is quite much.)

Me, Janne and Emma on set of Mehiläiskesä (Summer of Bees) short film by Aalto University.

Picture by great Atte Männikkö.


The company – best and the worst

We truly thought 2019 gave us all we could handle but no – there came 2020 which didn’t save us from much. We’ve used our every penny, we’ve talked and counted through bankruptcy scenarios several times, we’ve had to lay off people, we’ve had some cherished gang members moving to their independent life and we’ve had harder negotiations with clients than ever. We’ve even talked if we’d just shut our doors because we as founders were too tired to figure out a way to get our business run better. Somehow through all this – and after extremely long phone discussion – we took some time to think. On the next call both me and Emma humbly stated “I’ve truly thought it through and I feel like I’m not ready to let go yet. There must be some weird adventures we should still join with this.” And that was it. Even when having a will to do something great we’ve still felt like we’d run out of all flow states and visions for it. Nothing to say, no new development ideas. However – when writing this we’ve just randomly had 6 hours on phone today while working remotely on our strategy and new webpage for next year. I cannot wait to get back home to Helsinki in March 2021 to make my share of this. YES! 

Greatest thanks to Paula, who became our Board Deputy Member and reminded us on what we as BBG have been, what we are and what we could be. She’s been a key on keeping us sane on some days.

Mine and Emma’s home office style.

Finding inspiration after understanding how much besides work there is 

After lockdown in Helsinki I found myself from a weird place, having slept and eaten well, exercised a little, spending time with my dogs and my partner more than ever before. I didn’t even realise how much of questioning it’s brought through the following months on how important work is and isn’t. It’s not made me love filmmaking any less – but it’s surely made me value other things more than I had before. Sometimes it’s brought me great challenges on getting motivated to do the part of my work that’s not as nice and fun as others. I’ve had to come up with new ways to both think and choose the work I commit myself to. 

Painting our office wall – Aino opening champagne to avoid getting desperate.


My work language – English

This may be my yearly thought as it feels like each year I get more confidence and vocabulary. But it always feels like a victory itself (even when re-correcting the same mistakes especially on prepositions time after time) as I’ve hated this language all my childhood. Now I’m using it more than my native language – it’s strange what life brings to us…

Combining difficult productions, mandatory work and some creative time for our concept 

I’ve battled through this same equation since BBG was born and I feel like I’m getting closer to balance slowly but surely. It has a lot to do with having Anni and Emma keeping the firm up and running without me when I’m on duty somewhere else. Emma is my support network, sometimes telling me not to work any extra as I might break myself and sometimes taking some weight from my shoulders on things I feel like I should be doing instead. We’ve had some hilarious mistakes made (like ordering awful masks with BBG logo, one and only time any merch is confirmed without my approval) but we’ve made it through with jokes and good new decisions after.

Never giving up Finnish traditions though filming abroad! Klaffijallu Bufo’s style in Tallinn.

Having more relaxed and honest work-relationships than ever before

Interesting how this seems to come with age and experience. Or I hope it would come to all others as it’s coming to me. It’s been a huge relief I’ve not felt like I constantly need to prove my worth to anyone or cover mistakes each time I make one. I can honestly tell my team when I’m sad, overwhelmed or pissed which really helps on not allowing the feeling to fully take over (shoutout to my amazing teams – like Aino telling others in the office “sorry, Iiris is having her 3 minute meditation, you’re free to stand by and wait when she’s done”). I’ve had the best conversations with other HOD’s, Producers and Directors when being able to stay fully honest and humble. I’m not sure how long it’s taken to feel this way and how often I do not feel like it (as there are those days too) but I’m very happy of it and try my best to bring the similar feeling to my crew members as well. 


Communication is the key 

Is there even a possibility to highlight this enough? I feel like I’ve re-learned to send emails this year. Taking time to customise the contents and fill in the gaps on information flow. Obviously it’s not always possible – but usually it is.

Being honest (but humble) is important 

Getting back to one of my victories, this has truly shown it’s face to me on many ways. 

When you feel like you should stop – maybe you should 

Depressingly I wasn’t able to stand up or interfere on some things that I feel like I should have (for me, not others, thankfully) during one production. New year I’ll focus on having more courage on similar situations. 

We are all humans in the end 

The crew members who seem more experienced than anyone else in the world have been interns once too. Ones getting angry and frustrated get sad and low as well. The richest might feel poor, the most successful might see themselves as eternal failures. We are all human and we all face the same ups and downs – though it might sometimes seem like some of us are made of steel.

Getting to know Stockholm better – very happy though the weather was not on my side.

What I’m waiting from 2021 (besides hugging, kissing, travelling, going to movies and having large parties)  

  • filming something spectacular in Finland with as many of our gangers as possible
  • learning new tricks from new friends 
  • taking our whole team for dinner to celebrate our 7 years old network
  • time together in our office with Emma and Anni (ideally having tea together in the mornings, walking around Helsinki harbour at lunch and popping champagne on Friday nights)

Crossing my fingers at least some of these wishes would come true – and some of yours too.

Lots of love,


Co-Founder of BBG / 1st Assistant Director