October 6, 2016

Film crews welcome!

Johanna Karppinen

CEO of Audiovisual Finland

Effective as of 2017, the Finnish government is introducing an incentive for productions that film in Finland, so that they get 25 per cent back of what they have spent locally. Such film incentives are widely used by many countries – in Europe there are 19 countries with such a system ­– with the aim to increase production activity and attract foreign productions, along with boosting the local economy and the country image.

For example, many know that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot in New Zealand and still, 15 years after the first film was released, tourists continue to visit the country in their masses due to this. They are not alone. In fact, over five million people a year choose a travel destination primarily based on the fact it has appeared in a film or a TV show.

So, Finland also now getting this incentive is really happy news! This is such a great opportunity for one of the most “employment intensive” sectors within the creative industries.

Finland can offer a lot for film & TV productions: this is a large country with diverse landscapes from north to south, and east to west. Also, our geographic location gives us a rare advantage: we get the first snow in Europe. Furthermore, the ice on our lakes gets so thick in winter you can safely drive a truck over it.

But Finland is not all about winter and snow, as four distinct seasons provide so many more opportunities. Our locations have set the scene for international films that were fairy tales, spy stories and romantic films, amongst others. Finland has doubled for the Soviet Union and Russia, the Netherlands and several imaginary places. Basically this is one big outdoor studio! As a working environment Finland is effective: there’s easy access to natural locations, wifi and mobile coverage – even in seemingly remote areas – and the overall low level of bureaucracy smoothens the production process.

We have excellent English-speaking crews who know how to operate in cold conditions and have the right attitude to get things done. Indeed, this is something that visiting filmmakers have mentioned every time I’ve discussed the filming experience in Finland with them.

I have a feeling that the story of Finland in the international film business is now beginning, and I expect in future we will be seeing a lot more Finnish locations on big screens – and Finnish names at the end credits of international films.

Film crews ­– and then film tourists – you are warmly welcome to Finland!

 

Photo by Elina Simonen

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