Hartusvuori hill is a place where I spent most my childhood as my grandmother lives right next to it. When I was a child, our daily walks used to take place in the woods and trails of the area. It’s a peaceful spot, and nature is clean and untouched. Not many people spend time there even though Hartus is right next to the city center of Jämsä.

It wasn’t until recently when I found this place again while I was recovering from an ACL surgery. I took long walks looking at my childhood playground and remembering the times when my friends and I used to get drunk at a vantage point on top of the hill. I felt nostalgic. During those walks, I noticed that the narrow, bumpy and high-speed trails would be perfect for riding. I started cleaning branches and fallen trees from the trails. I also cleaned the vantage point from shards of glass. The woods of Hartusvuori became a prominent place for me to escape my physical limitation and a depressing period. Walking the trails, cleaning them and later on relearning to ride my bicycle again kept my head from going crazy. My knee literally rehabilitated in Hartusvuori.

In the summer of 2017, My knee was starting to feel strong and healthy. We have had plans with Aarni to film mountain biking in the summer if our schedules would let us. The natural an untouched environment of Hartusvuori was the spot where we both wanted to shoot. The trails were now familiar for me and the filming spots clear in my mind. During a busy, cold and rainy summer we got sunshine for a few days, and both of us had a free weekend. We knew that weekend might be our only chance this year to get the project done. Hartus was born, a short film that captures the world how I see it as a mountain biker. For me, it represents mountain biking in it’s purest form, and it’s also an ending for a long and frustrating rehabilitation process.

-Riku Laakso

I have worked with Riku for a decade mostly filming freeskiing. Now and then he has asked if I were interested in filming mountain biking. Riku has always had a clear vision how he wants his riding to portrayed on video. I suggested shooting on one super8 cartridge and recording live audio on an external recorder. No music, nothing excessive. Just the rider, the bicycle, and the location.

Besides being an uber-hipster thing to do nowadays, shooting on super8 forces the athlete and the filmer to communicate and rehearse the action thoroughly before burning any film. With the limitation of not being able to watch the shots during the shoot also prevents distracting the flow. The aesthetics of super 8 film itself is visually appealing, but primarily it’s a great directorial method to capture the rawness and the authenticity of the first take.

We filmed Hartus on one super 8 cartridges of Kodak Vision3 50D. One cartridge captures about 2:30 minutes of action. The film was then sent for development and digitizing to Berlin and Madrid. The camera is a Canon 814 Auto zoom Electronic from the early 1970’s.

-Aarni Toiviainen