IRINA WITH A FRENCH ACCENT

Irina Björklund's brand new 4th album is called La vie est une fête (photo Richard Dumas)

Irina Björklund’s brand new 4th album is called La vie est une fête (photo by Richard Dumas)

International actress and singer-songwriter  Irina Björklund has appeared in over 50 films and TV shows and released four albums. In the Hollywood thriller  the American she played opposite to George Clooney and in the war film Ambush she was paired with her true life husband, actor Peter Franzén.

For 14 years the couple was a familiar sight in the L.A. artistic circles. Many in the Finnish community went to see Irina perform on stage at the Hotel Café in Hollywood. She would sing songs from her albums and play the saw. Irina Björklund and Peter Franzén were also regular stars at the annual Scandinavian Film Festival in Beverly Hills, where many of their movies were shown.

A year ago the couple, along with their 7 year-old son Diego, moved to Southern France. Her latest album is called La vie est une fête. Exclusively to Finntimes Irina Björklund now talks about her new album and life in France.

Irina Björklund's 4th album consists of old and new Finnish songs sung in French. (photo Jonny Kahleyn Dieb)

Irina Björklund’s 4th album consists of old and new Finnish songs sung in French. (photo by Jonny Kahleyn Dieb)

1) La vie est une fête is the name of your latest album. It consists of Finnish songs from 1940 to 2012 that you have translated into French. Tell me about this album?

A few years ago, while still living in LA, one of my favorite song writers, Timo Kiiskinen contacted me, asking whether I would be interested in recording one of his songs, Kaiken Nähnyt, in French, one day. That triggered an idea in me: why not translate a selection of my own favorite Finnish songs through time to French language? So I started doing it, and asked the producer of one of my favorite French bands, Nouvelle Vague, to produce it – Marc Collin, along with the band’s singer, Liset Alea. Them having a 100% objective view and not knowing any of the tunes before, said it was like “opening a treasure chest of untouched pearls” that the world hadn’t heard before. That, to me, proved that Finland has some absolutely gorgeous, international caliber tunes, that have only been held back by language barriers. The arrangements of the album are the result of a truly international collaboration – my Finnish band along with French Marc Collin, and Cuban Liset Alea. To my great delight, my favorite French label, Naïve Records (Pink Martini, Carla Bruni, Tanita Tikaram) embraced the idea, and is now releasing the album world wide.

In this picture caption Irina Björklund is performing the song La vie est une fête by Samuli Putro in a music video directed by Maarit Lalli and photographed by Rauno Ronkainen.

In this caption Irina Björklund is performing the song La vie est une fête by Samuli Putro in a music video directed by Maarit Lalli and photographed by Rauno Ronkainen.

2) In the video for the title song you are laying on sawdust in a circus tent, dressed as a circus performer as camels walk by – tell us about this video and its production?

The title song, La vie est une fête (= Life is a party, originally Elämä on juhla by brilliant song writer Samuli Putro) , describes in one song a human’s life, from birth to the last breath, in a nut shell. Just an amazing text, sharp and honest as a razor. For the video, it gave me the idea of showing a dying person, going through her life in flashes. I find the circus ambience visually entrancing… and just thought of this idea of a tightrope walker who have slipped off her rope… together with Pete Eklund, my partner in crime at my Finnish label Kaiho Republic. Circus Finlandia gave us the beautiful tools to make the video happen. And director Maarit Lalli along with DP Rauno Ronkainen gave it life.

Irina Björklund (photo Richard Dumas)

Irina Björklund (photo by Richard Dumas)

3) Are you performing songs from this album to live audiences in France, Finland or elsewhere and do you have future plans of performing them  – if so, what has the reception been like?

Yes, we have been doing quite a few live concerts in Finland – the album has done amazing in Finland, and to my great awe the concerts have been sold out – what a treat to be performing for full venues – very gratifying. We are still starting out with the international scene, but have so far performed in France a couple of times – the international release was depending on the French critics, so I was happy to find out it made the cut, and that the French liked what they heard.

4) In Los Angeles you collaborated with Peter Fox on your previous albums – is he still in the picture or have you found new collaborators in France?

Peter Fox and I stay in contact, and the songs we created live on (currently in commercials in Finland and such) – however the distance between us makes active collaboration hard – he lives in New York now, and me in France. But I simply see us as in being on hiatus – I’m sure we’ll find an opportunity to work together again.

Irina played the saw at the opening of the Marimekko store in Beverly Hills in 2012. (photo Tomi Hinkkanen)

Irina played the saw at the opening of the Marimekko store in Beverly Hills in 2012. (photo by Tomi Hinkkanen)

5) Do you play the saw on this album?

The saw is on hiatus for this album, too – however, I like to bring it out now and then during live shows, for a song or two.

6) You have released four albums now but many people don’t know about your music career – what about your collaborations?

I have collaborated on quite a few albums or soundtracks as either a composer, singer or saw player with artists/bands such as Miranda Lee Richards, Garbage, Samuli Edelmann, Olavi Uusivirta, Latebirds, Edu Kettunen, Mikko Kuustonen, Phoebe Killdeer & the Shortstraws to mention a few.

Last year Irina Björklund and family moved to South of France. (photo Jonny Kahleyn Dieb)

Last year Irina Björklund and family moved to South of France. (photo by Jonny Kahleyn Dieb)

7) I think many people were taken by surprise that about a year ago you and your family packed up after 14 years in L.A. and moved to South of France – why did you make the big move?

We just finally woke up to the fact, that LA is extremely far away from family and work in Europe – something had to be done for the family’s sake. And my French record deal had a lot to do with it – I also wanted to be available when my big dream of releasing an album in France suddenly came true. And honestly – we’re quite conveniently located for traveling everywhere now – I’ve been working a lot in New York and Finland this last year. Not too far for going anywhere, really. We do visit LA regularly for work and friends, too.

Irina spent her teenage years in France. (photo Jonny Kahleyn Dieb)

Irina spent her teenage years in France. (photo by Jonny Kahleyn Dieb)

8) How is life treating you in France in terms of work, people, friendships and what do you  like and dislike about living there?

Even if I spent years of my childhood/teen years in France, everything is still new what comes to the region we live in, work scenes, friendships etc. But we take a day at the time, and are enjoying pretty much everything except the French traffic habits. Not that I very much enjoyed LA traffic, either:)

9) How have Peter and Diego settled in France?

I couldn’t be prouder of them – after all, the French language wasn’t new to me, and they are the ones who must work the most.

Irina Björklund performs at the opening gala of Marimekko store in Beverly Hills, 2012. (photo Tomi Hinkkanen)

Irina Björklund performs at the opening gala of the Marimekko store in Beverly Hills, 2012. (photo by Tomi Hinkkanen)

11) What are your future plans – any new movies in the works?

This year I’ve spent a lot of time in New York shooting a film by Emilia Ferreira – The Erotic Fire of the Unattainable. I was lucky to work with brilliant and fun actors such as Harry Hamlin, Kevin Kilner, Caprice Benedetti, Edoardo Ballerini and Margot Bingham.

I’m also preparing to play the lead in a Finnish/European movie about a historically important Finnish lady – Aurora Karamzin. The movie is to be directed by Maarit Lalli, who also directed my music video.

Irina Björklund (photo Richard Dumas)

Irina Björklund (photo by Richard Dumas)

12) What would you like to say to your friends and fans in Los Angeles?

Happy Thanksgiving!! Merry Christmas!! …..and hope to see you very very soon, again!!!

LINKS:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/la-vie-est-une-fete/id838277163
Physical copy:
http://www.amazon.com/La-vie-est-une-f%C3%AAte/dp/B00FJAKW4U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413322895&sr=8-1&keywords=irina+bjorklund
Merchandise department, order in the USA:
http://www.recordshopx.com/merch/bjorklund_irina/la_vie_est_une_fete/
Music video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwSxU7ySkhE
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IrinaBjorklundofficial

Irina Björklund’s albums:

Oh l’Amour – 2006

Vintage Espresso – 2007

Chanson d’Automne – 2011

La vie est une fête – 2014

FINNISH FILM DIRECTOR VIVI FRIEDMAN DIES AT 44

Vivi Friedman

Now cracks a noble heart.
Good night, sweet princess.
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
(Hamlet, V.ii.359-360)

It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we inform you of the passing of Vivi Friedman yesterday, January 2nd, 2012, after a long battle with cancer.

Our condolences to Vivi’s partner Steven and relatives. Ha-Makom yenahem etkhem be-tokh avelei Ẓiyyon vi-Yrushalayim.

Here is a story we ran just a few months ago on the premiere of Vivi’s first feature film in the United States:

REPORTER: TOMI HINKKANEN – WEST HOLLYWOOD
PREMIERE PHOTOGRAPHS BY JONNY KAHLEYN/TOMI HINKKANEN

Finnish Vivi Friedman’s first feature film ‘The Family Tree’ premiered on the big screen last weekend in Los Angeles and New York. The film boasts a star-studded cast: Dermot Mulroney, Hope Davis, Chy McBride, Selma Blair, Jane Seymour, and others. Vivi Friedman is not yet a household name, but she is well-known in the advertising world. The 43-year-old director has had a long career in TV commercials. She has directed spots for both Finnish and international companies and is represented by an agency in Germany. In America, ad agencies don’t seem to bother much with subterfuge while European TV commercials often tell a clever little story with a twist (revealing the advertised product or service at the end). Vivi became known for these kinds of story-driven commercials. Vivi Friedman came to the United States 20 years ago. She studied at Rochester University in New York and at UCLA in Los Angeles. However, she admits that school was not really something for her and that she got most of her training in the field. In Hollywood, Vivi familiarized herself with the production process of American movie-making by taking on production assistant jobs here and there. Then she made a short film called ‘Certainly Not a Fairytale’.

Vivi Friedman directs Dermot Mulroney and Hope Davis

“My agent sent copies of the my film to various producers and agencies, and one of the recipients was screenwriter Mark Lisson’s manager who was looking for a director for Mark’s script. I then met with Mark and we got along great. That’s how it all started,” Vivi recalls. Along with the writer, Allan Jones produced. Alan didn’t divulge the exact budget amount, but said it cost less than five million dollars to make. The Ohio-based movie was actually filmed in Los Angeles in 2008. The tight budget allowed for only 25 days of shooting.

‘The Family Tree’ is a dark comedy about a family in crisis. The parents are on the brink of a divorce, the teenage son is mixed up with a fundamentalist church and its gun-worshipping pastor, and the daughter struggles with her sexuality. The Burnetts get a second chance when the mother (played by Hope Davis) loses her memory due to a head concussion and starts believing that everything is fine with the family. This reboot starts the chaotic sorting out of the whole family mess.

Vivi Friedman at the LA premiere of 'The Family Tree'

Before the cameras were able to start rolling, Vivi had to ‘sell’ her film to some top Hollywood names. With the help of a good casting director, she succeeded in attracting a stellar cast to her first directorial effort. The first one hired was Dermot Mulroney for the role of Jack Burnett, the husband and father of the family. Mulroney is perhaps best remembered from Julia Roberts’ 1997 film ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding.’

“Dermot has a dry sense of humor. He is fantastic as an actor. He totally put his heart and soul in a role that required him to be less than his usual handsome leading man,” Vivi describes. Dermot is reunited with his ‘About Schmidt’ costar Hope Davis who plays the mother and his wife Bunnie.

“Hope is aware of her talents and she has an enormous scale as an actor. She took the young actors under her wing. She says that once you have made a movie together, you are like family members with them for the rest of your life.”

Dermot Mulroney and Hope Davis in 'The Family Tree'

Brittany Robertson, Max Thieriot and Jane Seymor complete the Burnett family as the teenage daughter, son, and grandmother.

“Jane is fantastic. She appears at the end of the film in a scene that requires her to cry. When we were discussing that, Jane asked, if I wanted her to cry from the left eye, from the right eye or from both eyes.”

Chy McBride plays Bunnie’s neighbor and lover. He agreed to show an intimate body shot for the film.

“Chy said that he would rather not appear naked. I said that I just want to show your ass. He replies, oh that? Go ahead, it’s in good shape!”

The featured cast is also full of familiar names. Keith Carradine is the gum-chewing, gun-toting priest. Christina Hendricks of the TV series Mad Men is cast in a similar office manager’s role. Selma Blair portrays a lesbian teacher.

“Selma is just as wild in real life as in her roles. She is an incredibly wonderful person. She questions everything but agrees to everything as well.”

The premiere night at the Laemmle 5 Theater in West Hollywood attracted a great audience who applauded enthusiastically at the end.

Vivi Friedman

VIVI FRIEDMAN

Family background: Vivi was born in Helsinki in 1967. She spent her childhood years in Nummela, Southern Finland. Her brother Sami works for the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).

Education: University of Rochester, NY, UCLA, CA. Career: Started making TV commercials in 1989. Has made spots for Aktia Bank, Asuntopörssi (a real-estate company), Lumene (cosmetics) and Valio (dairy products). Directed a short subject ‘Certainly Not a Fairytale’ in 2003.

Vivi Friedman

Personal life: Vivi is in a relationship with Steven Kaminsky, a post-production supervisor.

‘The Family Tree’ movie trailer:

Links:

http://www.thefamilytreemovie.com/ (Official website)

http://www.vivifriedman.com/

 

RITVA KOUKKU-RONDE, THE 1ST FEMALE AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES

Ritva Koukku-Ronde, Ambassador of Finland to the United States

AMBASSADOR RITVA KOUKKU-RONDE – QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Reporter: Tomi Hinkkenen – Washington DC

On September 1, 2011, Ritva Koukku-Ronde assumed her post as the appointed Ambassador of Finland to the United States. Ms. Koukku-Ronde is the first female Finnish ambassador to the United States.

Q. You have had a long career at the Foreign Ministry of Finland – what are your most memorable posts and experiences?

Actually, all my posts have been extremely interesting and memorable. It is impossible to single out any of them because they were all unique and rewarding experiences in their own ways.

Q. Have you submitted you credentials to President Barack Obama yet and if you have, can you describe the event and what was Mr. Obama like?

I submitted my credentials to President Obama on September 9 during a short ceremony at the White House. He was very sympathetic and interested in Finland.

Q. Oftentimes the world of diplomacy is shrouded in secrecy and regular people do not know much about what is going on behind closed doors, but could you talk about some of the things you are working on right now to further improve trade, culture and the collaboration between Finland and the U.S.?

I will focus on advancing the relationship between Finland and the U.S. in the areas of economy, education, security, environment, high technology and culture – to mention just a few. As a member of the European Union, Finland is also keen to see the transatlantic cooperation grow stronger.

Our work at the embassy happens on many levels, from having discussions with decision makers to organizing cultural events and policy seminars to communicating with the American public. All these activities help further improve collaboration between Finland and the U.S.

Q. Finland has been trying to get to the U.N. Security Council as a non-permanent member. As a permanent member in the Security Council, the U.S. has a lot of clout in selecting non-permanent members. How are you going to convince the U.S. to give Finland a term at the Security Council?

Finland has actively contributed to the UN’s unique role as the guarantor of peace and security, promoter of sustainable development, and advocate of human rights and democracy. In the international fora Finland has earned a reputation of an active and reliable actor. We Finns wish to carry our responsibility as a member of the international community. Our candidacy for a seat in the Security Council is a reflection of this objective.

Q. The tightening of the U.S. immigration policies has all but ended immigration from Finland to the U.S. It is now more difficult than ever to immigrate in the U.S. You can see this in a concrete way for example in Florida, where the once thriving Finnish community is slowly dying, because no new immigrants are coming in. Are there any bilateral agreements in the works between Finland and the U.S., or EU and US to facilitate the immigration both to and from the U.S. to Finland / EU?

The U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) is the appropriate agency to answer all questions regarding immigration to the United States.

President Obama and Ambassador Koukku Ronde

Q. One bright spot in the otherwise sagging economy, both in Finland and the U.S., has been the high tech sector. A good example of this is the GAP (Global Access Program), the collaboration between UCLA and Tekes. In the GAP program, Finnish high tech companies team up with UCLA Anderson School of Management students, who create business plans for the Finnish companies. This enables the Finnish companies to grow and expand into the U.S. and other countries. The program has been a smashing success. However, it seems to me that there is competition between Finnish semi-governmental and official organizations to vie with the same clients (the Finnish high tech companies) and snatch them away from GAP. Do you think it is time to close ranks and for all the Finnish organizations to work in collaboration rather than competition with each other?

I can’t speak directly to the example you mentioned but, in the case of our embassy, all the different Finnish actors —the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Forces, Finnode, Finpro, Tekes and VTT Technical Research Center—operate as a “House of Finland.” This means that we work together and make the best use of the wide variety of expertise and know-how that we have under the same roof to further enhance and deepen relations between Finland and the U.S.

Q. Finland has about 30 Honorary Councils in the United States. These unpaid individuals are supposed to represent Finland in their geographical areas. However, this writer has gotten a very inconsistent image of these honorary councils. Some are very active and helpful indeed, others, not so much. For example, I recall a cross country road trip from California to Florida that I made a couple of years ago. I e-mailed honorary councils in states along the way, asking about Finnish people and activities that I could write about in the media. I never heard back from most of them. Is it time to somehow revamp the whole honorary council system?

Overall, honorary consuls serve as an important and invaluable resource for Finland, and their service is greatly appreciated. Like you mentioned, honorary consuls are indeed unpaid and serve in their positions voluntarily. They assume the duties of the honorary consul in addition to all their other professional and private responsibilities, and I believe it is understandable that some have more time to devote to their consul roles than others.

Q. President John F. Kennedy famously said in his inauguration speech: “Ask not what the country can do for you. Ask what you can do for the country.” What can we Finns who live in The United States, do to benefit Finland?

In their daily lives, Finns living in the U.S. already represent Finland in many ways. From my perspective, all Finns, Finnish Americans, and Finnish organizations in the U.S. form a so called “Team Finland” that shares the same goal of improving and deepening relations between our countries. We may have different ways of working toward that goal, but we all benefit from a strong relationship between Finland and the U.S.

Also, I would like to encourage all Finns and Finnish Americans to visit our website, finland.org, and follow us on Facebook (http://facebook.com/FinnishEmbassyWashingtonDC) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/FinnEmbassyDC) to keep up to date on news regarding Finland and Finland’s role in the U.S.

Q. What is the most important thing you would you like to accomplish during your term as the ambassador?

During my term, I would like to see the manifold relations between Finland and the U.S. grow even deeper and more far-reaching..

thisisFINLAND - things you should and shouldn't know
Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronde’s Currilum Vitae:

1 September 2011 Ambassador of Finland to the United States of America

2009-2011 Under-Secretary of State, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
2005-2009 Director General, Department for Development Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
2003-2005 Deputy Director General, Department for European Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
1998-2003 Minister, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Finland, Bonn, Berlin
1996-1998 Director for the United Nations Development Issues, Department for International Development Cooperation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
1995 Special Adviser to the Director General of the Political Department, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
1994-1995 Counselor, Political Department, Unit for the European Union and Western European Countries, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
1990-1994 Counselor, Deputy Head of Mission, The Hague
1987-1990 Second Secretary, First Secretary, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Finland, Nairobi; Focal Point to UNEP and UN Habitat
1987 Attaché, Department for International Development Cooperation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
1986 Attaché, Embassy of Finland, Bonn
1985 Attaché, Press and Cultural Section, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
1982-1985 Free lance Journalist
1982 Master of Arts (history), University of Tampere

Links:

www.finland.org

www.thisisfinland.fi

twitter.com/FinnEmbassyDC

www.facebook.com/FinnishEmbassyWashingtonDC

Embassy of Finland, the first LEED certified embassy in the U.S.

 

FINNISH-BORN VIVI FRIEDMAN’S DEBUT FEATURE FILM ‘THE FAMILY TREE’

Vivi Friedman by Jonny Kahleyn

Vivi Friedman at the LA premiere of 'The Family Tree'

REPORTER: TOMI HINKKANEN – WEST HOLLYWOOD
PREMIERE PHOTOGRAPHS BY JONNY KAHLEYN/TOMI HINKKANEN

Finnish Vivi Friedman’s first feature film ‘The Family Tree’ premiered on the big screen last weekend in Los Angeles and New York. The film boasts a star-studded cast: Dermot Mulroney, Hope Davis, Chy McBride, Selma Blair, Jane Seymour, and others. Vivi Friedman is not yet a household name, but she is well-known in the advertising world. The 43-year-old director has had a long career in TV commercials. She has directed spots for both Finnish and international companies and is represented by an agency in Germany. In America, ad agencies don’t seem to bother much with subterfuge while European TV commercials often tell a clever little story with a twist (revealing the advertised product or service at the end). Vivi became known for these kinds of story-driven commercials. Vivi Friedman came to the United States 20 years ago. She studied at Rochester University in New York and at UCLA in Los Angeles. However, she admits that school was not really something for her and that she got most of her training in the field. In Hollywood, Vivi familiarized herself with the production process of American movie-making by taking on production assistant jobs here and there. Then she made a short film called ‘Certainly Not a Fairytale’.

Vivi Friedman directs Dermot Mulroney and Hope Davis

“My agent sent copies of the my film to various producers and agencies, and one of the recipients was screenwriter Mark Lisson’s manager who was looking for a director for Mark’s script. I then met with Mark and we got along great. That’s how it all started,” Vivi recalls. Along with the writer, Allan Jones produced. Alan didn’t divulge the exact budget amount, but said it cost less than five million dollars to make. The Ohio-based movie was actually filmed in Los Angeles in 2008. The tight budget allowed for only 25 days of shooting.

‘The Family Tree’ is a dark comedy about a family in crisis. The parents are on the brink of a divorce, the teenage son is mixed up with a fundamentalist church and its gun-worshipping pastor, and the daughter struggles with her sexuality. The Burnetts get a second chance when the mother (played by Hope Davis) loses her memory due to a head concussion and starts believing that everything is fine with the family. This reboot starts the chaotic sorting out of the whole family mess.

Vivi Friedman at the LA premiere of 'The Family Tree'

Before the cameras were able to start rolling, Vivi had to ‘sell’ her film to some top Hollywood names. With the help of a good casting director, she succeeded in attracting a stellar cast to her first directorial effort. The first one hired was Dermot Mulroney for the role of Jack Burnett, the husband and father of the family. Mulroney is perhaps best remembered from Julia Roberts’ 1997 film ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding.’

“Dermot has a dry sense of humor. He is fantastic as an actor. He totally put his heart and soul in a role that required him to be less than his usual handsome leading man,” Vivi describes. Dermot is reunited with his ‘About Schmidt’ costar Hope Davis who plays the mother and his wife Bunnie.

“Hope is aware of her talents and she has an enormous scale as an actor. She took the young actors under her wing. She says that once you have made a movie together, you are like family members with them for the rest of your life.”

Dermot Mulroney and Hope Davis in 'The Family Tree'

Brittany Robertson, Max Thieriot and Jane Seymor complete the Burnett family as the teenage daughter, son, and grandmother.

“Jane is fantastic. She appears at the end of the film in a scene that requires her to cry. When we were discussing that, Jane asked, if I wanted her to cry from the left eye, from the right eye or from both eyes.”

Chy McBride plays Bunnie’s neighbor and lover. He agreed to show an intimate body shot for the film.

“Chy said that he would rather not appear naked. I said that I just want to show your ass. He replies, oh that? Go ahead, it’s in good shape!”

Vivi Friedman at the LA premiere of 'The Family Tree' by Jonny Kahleyn

Vivi Friedman at the LA premiere of 'The Family Tree'

The featured cast is also full of familiar names. Keith Carradine is the gum-chewing, gun-toting priest. Christina Hendricks of the TV series Mad Men is cast in a similar office manager’s role. Selma Blair portrays a lesbian teacher.

“Selma is just as wild in real life as in her roles. She is an incredibly wonderful person. She questions everything but agrees to everything as well.”

The premiere night at the Laemmle 5 Theater in West Hollywood attracted a great audience who applauded enthusiastically at the end.

Vivi Friedman at the LA premiere of "The Family Tree'

VIVI FRIEDMAN

Family background: Vivi was born in Helsinki in 1967. She spent her childhood years in Nummela, Southern Finland. Her brother Sami works for the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).

Education: University of Rochester, NY, UCLA, CA. Career: Started making TV commercials in 1989. Has made spots for Aktia Bank, Asuntopörssi (a real-estate company), Lumene (cosmetics) and Valio (dairy products). Directed a short subject ‘Certainly Not a Fairytale’ in 2003.

Personal life: Vivi is in a relationship with Steven Kaminsky, a post-production supervisor.

‘The Family Tree’ movie trailer:

Links:

http://www.thefamilytreemovie.com/ (Official website)

http://www.vivifriedman.com/