Erika and her film crew at a location

”Silicon Valley, Baby.” is a documentary film directed by Humak alumna Erika Haavisto. The film premieres at the DocPoint — Helsinki Documentary Film Festival at the end of January 2020.

‘’Silicon Valley, Baby.’’ follows Kalle Freese, 25, during a hectic period in his life as a start-up entrepreneur. Freese sought to invent an instant coffee that would revolutionize the entire coffee business. He founded a company called Sudden Coffee and relocated to San Frascisco to pitch his ideas to potential investors.

The documentary offers a glimpse into the precarious reality of start-up enterpreneurship. It raises questions about the connection of work addiction and mental health, and what can happen to a highly driven person if they lose interest in their work.

It also portrays the life of the person who stands by the entrepreneur’s side, offering love and support along the way.

A Debut Documentary

The documentary is directed by Freese’s partner Erika Haavisto, who studied cultural management at Humak UAS before embarking on her filmmaking journey. After graduating in 2013, Erika enrolled into Lund University, where she completed a Master’s degree in Film Studies. ’’Silicon Valley, Baby.’’ is her first full-length documentary.

As soon as I graduated from Lund, I began to make the documentary. My boyfriend Kalle was moving to San Francisco to found a coffee start-up company. I realized that it would make for a great story.

Haavisto notes that while the film deals with the demands of entrepreneurship and extreme competition, it is also a story about mental health, inequality, love, and the search for what is valuable in life.

Producer Heli Sirviö says that the film is also a story about American society and the way that it measures success solely in terms of money. She finds it interesting how young people keep ending up in the rat race of Silicon Valley time after time, without really questioning the motivations behind their actions.

The filmmaker Erika with her boyfriend
Director Erika Haavisto and entrepreneur Kalle Freese at the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo: Erika Haavisto.

From Cultural Management to Filmmaking

Making ’’Silicon Valley, Baby.’’ was a rewarding experience for Erika. The foundations for her later film studies were built during her cultural management studies at Humak UAS. She says that her studies at Humak have helped her advance in her career.

I shot and edited a lot of social media videos for companies of various sizes during my time at Humak. Most of my internships focused on the creation of audiovisual material, Erika says.

Creating marketing videos was a good way for Erika to learn the fundamentals of filmmaking. However, making documentaries is Erika’s biggest dream, and has been so since she first attended the DocPoint festival as an audience member.

Now her own debut full-length film is a part of the festival’s 2020 program.

Where to Watch the Film

’’Silicon Valley, Baby.’’ is one of this year’s competitors at the DocPoint — Helsinki Documentary Film Festival. The film premieres during the festival at Kinopalatsi on January 30 2020 at 7 PM. The second screening is held at Maxim on Febuary 1 at 3.15 PM.

The film has received funding from The Finnish Film Foundation and YLE.

Thumbnail image: Director Erika Haavisto. Photo: Kalle Freese.

Header image: Erika and her film crew at a location. Photo: Umeko Motoyoshi.