Finnish Director Laura Hyppönen’s gritty East London debut film Live East Die Young has received a nomination for best UK feature film at this year’s Raindance Film Festival. “It’s great that an edgy independent no-budget film like mine has been recognised among recent UK successes”, says Hyppönen, who has produced, written and directed the film.
The film will hold its world premiere in London at Raindance, UK’s leading independent film festival, on October 4 (details here). Shot on a shoestring budget and featuring a distinctive soundtrack from the indie underground wave, Live East Die Young is a raw look at the lives of model Emma and her best friend, hairdresser Max, as they descend ever-deeper into a destructive world of parties, lies, sex and drugs.
Featuring authentic East London locations, from artist warehouses to club basements, the film offers a voyeuristic, dogma-esque look into their substance-fuelled lifestyle. The film stars newcomers Zoë Grisedale as well as James ‘Jeanette’ Main, best known for his involvement with notorious real-life East London party collective, Boombox.
“The project has been a labour of love, made without any support from film funds”, Hyppönen says. “We are really excited to see how the audience will respond!”
Having studied film-making initially in Denmark, Finnish-born Hyppönen has now lived in Britain for 11 years. After working in a London-based film production company for a couple of years, Hyppönen got a full scholarship to Cass Business School, where she specialised in Film Business.
“I felt I needed business skills in addition to creative skills in order to succeed in the film industry”, Hyppönen explains. “It was a hugely valuable course from the point of networking and really helped me launch my career at a different level.” Hyppönen now has her own film production company called Electric Blue Film.
Having worked within the London film industry for more than a decade, Hyppönen is happy to share some piece of advice for those who dream of making it in the highly competitive market. “It tends to take a long time to find your 'niche', so you have to be patient and resourceful when it comes to paying the rent”, she says.
“Also, I couldn't emphasise enough the importance of networking and even being quite strategic about making friends - being in a place like London for long enough you really have no option but to become quite savvy about presenting yourself!”
As Live East Die Young is soon to be premiered in London, shortly followed by a French premiere at the Dinard British Film Festival, Hyppönen surely has busy times ahead of her. “At the moment I'm developing a short film which is an adaptation of a Kafkaesque Soviet short story from 1920s, hopefully in the first quarter of next year”, she reveals.
“I also have several feature films in development – one is a story about a woman on a spiritual journey, the other is a more commercial project in the thriller genre.”
Five Fragments of the Extinct Empathy by Anna Nykyri: screening on 30 September
Indebted by Martin Jelinko: screenings on 29 September & 2 October
Soundbreaker by Kimmo Koskela: screenings on 3 & 5 October
Live East Die Young by Laura Hyppönen: screening on 4 October