This book has benefited from the help of many colleagues and friends and the support of several institutions. Despite this help, if errors remain they are mine alone.
At the University of Washington, research assistants Rennesa Osterberg, Heather Short, and Maren Anderson Johnson helped me in various phases of the book’s preparation. The University’s Royal Research Fund provided the funding with which I began the project. I am thankful to students on the course Scandinavian Auteurs of spring 2010, with whom I shared many stimulating conversations about Aki Kaurismäki and Lars von Trier. Special thanks to Aija Elg and Ilmari Ivaska for helping me with some difficult deciphering. Thanks as well to colleagues in the Scandinavian Studies Department and in the Moving Image Research Group (MIRG), with whom I discussed the project: Eric Ames, Jennifer Bean, Yomi Braester, Sudhir Mahadevan, Marianne Stecher-Hansen, Jan Sjåvik, Cynthia Steele, and James Tweedie. I also want to thank Megan Kelso for sharing her thoughts with me about graphic design.
The book would have been impossible to write without numerous visits to the Finnish National Audiovisual Archive. I am especially thankful to Timo Matoniemi and Olavi Similä, who provided me with stacks of material and answered my questions. Thanks for the help, and for patience with my requests. Aki Kaurismäki let me interview him for the book, and Haije Tulokas of Sputnik Oy graciously and patiently helped to arrange this. Sputniky Oy also allowed me to use its images to illustrate the book, for which I am deeply thankful. Thanks as well to Anu Karjalainen for transcribing the interview, and to Aija Elg and Ilmari Ivaska for their help with it. I also wish to thank Taija Hämäläinen for her help with language questions.
I drafted much of the book during a year I had the privilege to spend at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki. Colleagues there provided me with invaluable conversation and criticism. I am especially thankful to the director of the collegium during my time there, the late Juha Sihvola, who not only encouraged me to organise a symposium on Kaurismäki, but was happy to tell me about the arrival of punk rock in Finland over lunch. I also benefitted from the peerless research assistance of Jenni T. Laitinen, for which I am deeply thankful. Special thanks to Susanna Paasonen, Sara Heinämaa, and Pietari Kääpä, who read and criticised drafts. I also wish to thank Maxim Kupovykh, Arto Laitinen, Jason Lavery, Ilkka Pyysiäinen, Dmitri Panchenko, and Tuulikki Pietilä for their questions and interest. It was a pleasure to be a fellow at the collegium and I am thankful for the support I (p.viii) received. In Helsinki, I also wish to thank Paula Arvas, Henry Bacon, Anna Hollstén, Jukka Kuosmanen, Paavo Löppönen, Jyrki Nummi, Veli-Matti Pynttäri, Jussi Sipilä, and Matti and Kaisa Sinikara.
The book was strengthened by opportunities to present parts of it at the University of California-Berkeley, Department of Scandinavian Studies; the University of Tampere, Department of Media Studies; and the University of Jyväskylä, Department of History and Ethnology. Special thanks to Mark Sandberg at Berkeley for the invitation, and to colleagues who provided many questions. Thanks as well to Laura Horak for sharing her work on Greta Garbo and Mauritz Stiller with me. At Tampere, I wish to thank Jussi Ojajärvi, Kimmo Laine, and Pertti Alasuutari for their criticism, questions, and conversation. Laura Stark at the University of Jyväskylä also provided stimulating opportunity for discussion. Hanna Snellman, Marko Hakanen, and Heikki Hanka also shared their thoughts, and a special trip to Säynätsalo, which I will not forget too soon. I am also thankful to Yoram Allon and Jodie Taylor at Wallflower Press for their expert help with the book, as well as to Breffni Whelan for her work on the index.
Karen Baker always knew when I was off track, and helped me get back on. She also spent a year in Helsinki with me to make this book happen. I began this book before our daughters Ella and Willa were born; now they are big girls. This book is dedicated to them.