The sci-fi movie Hollywood would not dare to make

A spoof film about Nazis living on the Moon has become an unlikely hit, says Kaleem Aftab

A Finnish sci-fi film about Nazis who have been living on the dark side of the moon since the end of the Second World War has turned out to be the unlikely hot ticket of this year's Berlin Film Festival.

Iron Sky sold out faster than movies directed by Angelina Jolie and Werner Herzog – a remarkable feat for a film that only received financing after appealing for donations on the internet, which raised $1 million of the $7.5 million budget.

Made by the first-time director Timo Vuorensola, the only cast member with any sort of name recognition is the German cult star Udo Kier, stalwart of vampire and Von Trier movies, who plays Wolfgang Kortzfleisch, the leader of the Moon Nazis. He and his fellow Nazis are discovered when the President of the United States (Stephanie Paul), a gym-loving mother modelled on Sarah Palin, is advised that sending astronauts back to the Moon will help to boost her chance of re-election.

Set in 2018 and shot in a slapdash style, Iron Sky uses the idea of Moon Nazis invading New York to create a burning satire on American politics and spin. At times, the acting and dialogue is clunky, but the special effects belie the tiny budget. This is schlock, over-the-top storytelling at its riotous and enjoyable best. Hilarious comparisons are made between the rhetoric of Nazi speeches and American presidential campaigns. As a pastiche on Nazis, it's cleverer and much more savvy than Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.

No attempts are made to explain how the Nazis got to the Moon, nor how they survive. Much is made of how technologically inept the Nazi's mad scientist is – he's wowed by the power of Washington's smart phone – yet moments later the Nazis are flying to Earth on a fleet of heavily armed spaceships. Rather than get bogged down in laborious explanations the action is made up of a series of humorous set-pieces, with a central romance in which the perfect Aryan female (Julie Dietze) falls in love with a black astronaut.

It's the type of film that Hollywood studios would not touch with a bargepole. As such, the film-makers were forced to go underground. The internet has been buzzing about Iron Sky for months. A trailer released a few days before the premiere in Berlin received a million hits in less than 24 hours. The film-makers have cleverly made up for the small marketing campaign with a perfectly executed viral attack on social-media sites and those that have helped to fund the film have also helped promote it.

"The internet played a big role in the film-making process. The idea was to make the production process itself a part of the story and it's a big marketing aspect as well," says Vuorensola. "It was funny to be so popular. It's hard to understand how we got so big."

Using the internet for movie financing is an increasingly common phenomenon. There are a growing number of websites such as Kickstarter that aim to help film-makers find money for their films. Kickstarter works by setting a time limit and a funding goal: if the target is not reached, the money is returned to potential investors.

"You have to find a way to pitch the film in a way that is really easy to understand and easy to grasp," says Vuorensola. "The attention span on the internet is so short you have to grab them with something. Every movie has something you can grab them with and you need to unearth that. For this film, it felt so organic to use the internet community to fund and support it."

The only downside is that the sheer number of investors makes the end credits incredibly long.

'Iron Sky' is released on 4 April

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn