The Invisible Film Star

18.6.2018 by

In the small town of Kokkola in northwestern Finland, foley artist Heikki Kossi focuses on the screen in front of him. Then when the main character starts walking Kossi also starts taking steps, synchronizing his with the character’s in the movie. Fifty percent of the movie experience is sound, however the majority of the sounds are imbedded into the movie afterwards, by a foley artist. Explosions, movements, rain and you name it is recorded in a studio and created by combining different sounds and objects.

“The sound is noticed (by the audience) only when there is something wrong with it”, Kossi says as he takes a sip from his coffee. Heikki Kossi came to Denmark in September to provide a live foley performance of the movie Moonshiners together with the Ykspihlajan Kino-Orchestra. For this performance Kossi had with him two huge luggage bags filled with props. For Moonshiners Kossi had reserved “…a couple of shoes, for the character’s footsteps, a phonebook, providing the sounds of paper money, a wooden comb and a leather luggage bag to create the wheel sounds for the cart that the main characters are pushing”.

Heikki Kossi has made the foley sound to numerous movies. In the movie database IMDB Kossi has a whooping 316 credits in the sound department. Kossi has also made the sound to many Danish movies such as Vinterbrødre, Borg vs McEnroe, Underverden, Qeda and many more.  

Picture: Clas-Olav Slotte. Heikki Kossi in his studio.

When creating a foley sound Kossi has to ask himself: what kind of an actor is it? Is he/ she aggressive? Heavily built? How are the sounds going to go together with the personality of the character in question? To Kossi foley sound is an artistic process. He compares the audio vision of the foley artist to the visual vision of the director. This is especially the case when the sounds that he is asked to create become abstractive.

Picture: Clas-Olav Slotte. Heikki Kossi at work.

“The curtains are swinging like the wings of an angel”, Kossi says has been one of the instructions given to him. Sounds in movies doesn’t have to be realistic as long as they support the ambience of the movie. I can notice the pride in Kossi’s voice as he tells me how he created layers of paper-like sounds to create the sound that the clouds makes in Den lille prinsen. One time Kossi got the directive to make a sound for a reptile rising up from under the water. The sound was supposed to be slimy and hard. After thinking about it a lot Kossi took a wet rag, pine cones and a cut orange. By combining these he got the sound he was searching for.

Heikki Kossi is glad that he decided to go into foley and the success that he is enjoying. He also says that he doesn’t really mind that he doesn’t get as much recognition as other people involved in making the movie. But remember the next time you go and see a film that there is a high probability that the sounds that you’re hearing is created in an industrial studio in northwestern part of Finland.

The next movie that Heikki Kossi has made the foley sound to that is screening in Denmark is Violinisten, that has it’s premiere 21.6.2018.