Finland has stepped up its efforts to attract international film and television productions.
The Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes) in January launched a new incentive scheme enabling production companies to apply for cash rebates equivalent to a maximum of 25 per cent of the production costs incurred in Finland.
“Without the incentive we wouldn’t be able to attract international productions and would also risk losing domestic productions abroad,” tells Merja Salonen, the product manager for the audiovisual production incentive at Tekes.
The rebates can be granted to both domestic and international documentary, feature film, animated feature and scripted television projects in pre-production, production or post-production. Salonen points out that the rebates can be granted also to productions that were filmed abroad but, for example, post-produced in Finland.
“Our application system is very straightforward. The form is very easy to fill out and fast to submit,” she tells.
Tekes opted against having a fixed application period and, instead, welcomes applications around the year. The applicants may expect to receive a decision on their application at the latest 40 days after filing and, if successful, the rebate approximately three weeks after the requisite receipts have been presented to Tekes.
Unlike in most other countries, the rebates can be disbursed also to ongoing productions and directly to foreign companies, irrespective of whether or not they are registered in Finland.
“Both Tekes and Invest in Finland are naturally also eager to welcome and assist such companies to grow their business in Finland,” adds Salonen.
Conveniently into the wilderness
Finland stands out favourably also because of its proven low level of corruption, efficient transport infrastructure and skilled workforce, she lists. Such characteristics ensure, for example, that street closure and other infrastructure-related special arrangements can be made quickly and that production crews are able to access a wide variety of filming locations.
“Production crews can fly directly to a destination and take a regular highway all the way to the wilderness,” says Salonen.
Lapland and all of Northern Finland are unsurprisingly among the most in-demand filming locations in Finland. Not only do the regions contain some of the most scenic and rugged landscapes, they have also demonstrated their capability to provide the services required by production crews.