Mika Kaurismäki. When he finished secondary school, Mika Kaurismäki took up a job as a house painter in a small town in southeast Finland. One day after work, he walked into a bookstore and bought the newly published The History of World Cinema, by Peter von Bagh. When he started reading it, he decided he wanted to be a filmmaker. From 1977 to 1981, Kaurismäki studied in Munich, shooting The Liar as his thesis project film. His younger brother, Aki Kaurismäki, played the main role and also co-wrote the screenplay. The film marked the beginning of a new era in Finnish film. After the success of The Liar, Kaurismäki founded a production company with his brother and some friends: Villealfa Filmproductions. By the end of the 1980s, it was the third largest film production company in Finland. During the active Villealfa years, Mika co-founded the legendary Midnight Sun Film Festival (1986), the distribution company Senso Films (1987) and the Andorra cinemas in Helsinki. In the 1990s, he established his base and second home in Rio de Janeiro and started to focus more on international co-productions.