Finland – a surprisingly versatile filming location

Photo: Olli-Pekka Mahrberg, Virtual Works

Finland has a varied natural landscape which is ideal for a wide range of films. It’s a sought-after location for film crews who want to shoot against wintry backdrops: snowy forests or frozen lakes. But there is much more to Finland than this. Filmmakers are offered a huge variety of settings with Finland’s four distinct seasons and multitude of landscapes, which include natural wildernesses, beautiful archipelagos and urban and industrial milieus.

Finland is brimming with possibilities. All of its locations are easily accessible via road. Because the country is a world leader in cutting-edge technology, mobile phone coverage and Internet access are never a problem, even in the backwoods.

Local crews speak English and other languages, are accustomed to working in international teams and are experts at making films in extreme environments. So what’s it like to work with local crews? Punctuality is a trademark of the Finnish people: regardless of the weather and unforeseen circumstances, Finns not only get things done, but get them done on time.

Film friendly with low bureaucracy

A national law known as “Everyman’s Right” means that typically no permits are needed to film on publicly-owned land, which accounts for much of Finland’s surface area. Where needed, permit procedures tend to be fast and straightforward compared to other countries.

There is a network of regional Film Commissions that serve productions interested in the area. Film Commissions are public, non-profit organisations which market the respective area as a filming location and offer help finding suitable locations, cast, crew and services. Some regional Film Commissions in Finland also finance films.

Finns prefer actions to words. We tend to say what we do and do what we say. That’s why Finland is the most functional country in the world, and the Finnish handshake is the most reliable one.

Photo: The Girl King, Marianna Films, Triptych Media, Galafilm, Starhaus Filmproduktion, Anagram

FILM INCENTIVES

The Finnish government announced a cash rebate incentive for films on 1 September 2016.

The cash rebate of 25% will be given for money spent on local goods, services and salaries in conjunction with production work carried out in Finland. Eligible productions include feature films, fiction series, documentary films and animations. The incentive programme is planned to kick off in early 2017. Audiovisual Finland and Finland Film Commission will provide further information when the incentive scheme is launched. TEKES – The Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation – will administer the incentive.

FAMOUS PRODUCTIONS

Every year international film crews come to shoot in Finland. Recent examples include a Bollywood production from India called ”Shamitabh” by renowned director R. Balki, the Finnish-German-Swedish production ”Girl King”, the ”Snow Queen” from Germany, ”Hanna” directed by Joe Wright, and ”Farewell” by Christian Carion with a cast including Emir Kusturica and Guillaume Canet.

Finland – a surprisingly versatile filming location