Film producers can now save 25% on production costs in Finland

Low level of corruption, efficient transport infrastructure and expertise in several key technology fields make sure that film-making is a breeze in Finland, says Merja Salonen of Tekes.

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.



Helsinki, its neighbourhoods and vacant industrial spaces have also piqued the interests of film-makers, tells Salonen. Kotka and Turku, in turn, are famed for their archipelago, docklands and urban landscapes.


“Finland has not only landscapes suitable for filming but also a number of talented actors who have honed their craft at the renowned Theatre Academy,” she says.'





Virtual reality set to mould future of film-making

The country can vie for the attention of international production companies also with its expertise in a number of key domains – not least in the virtual, augmented and virtual reality space.


Tekes is one of the partners in Nordic VR Startups, an incubation programme announced by Gumi Inc, a Japanese video game publisher, and Nordisk Film, the Nordics’ leading entertainment company, in March.


Nordic VR Startups seeks to discover promising virtual and augmented reality-focused start-ups, provide them with funding and help them enter into the global market.


“Virtual reality technology is important especially in the entertainment industry,” highlights Salonen. “The business doesn’t really exist anywhere as of yet, but now Finns are also contributing to the development.”


She reminds that the implications of virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies for the film and television industry remain predominantly unknown. It has yet to be determined, for example, how their inevitable proliferation will affect the viewer experience and traditional film-making processes.


“These are all unanswered questions. Tekes wants to be part of finding the answers.”


Incentive to promote market growth, augment expertise

Tekes has allocated a total of €10 million for the incentive scheme in 2017. The scheme is thus projected to create a market segment worth €40 million and promote the growth of not only the production companies but also the local audiovisual companies and service providers, such as transport and accommodation companies, required by production crews in Finland.


“We expect the incentive to boost the net sales of local post-production companies and open the door for them to enter the global production stream,” says Salonen.

Tekes’ experts, she says, will be available to provide more information about the incentive scheme at a total of 24 international film festivals during the course of this year. “Don’t hesitate to drop in if you’re interested.”


The rebates can be granted to:
- Documentaries
- Feature films
- Animated features
- Scripted television dramas