Land of thousand productions

The history of the Finnish film industry goes back more than 100 years. Finland stepped into the spotlight especially with Aki Kaurismäki’s film ”The Match Factory Girl” (1990). Not to mention all the different versions of the iconic war drama “The Unknown Soldier” (1955, 1985, 2017).

© Juho Lipponen

Tue 3rd of Jan 2023 15:25PM

In 2021, more than 700 Finnish productions made it to international festivals. However, the number was at its highest in 2019, when a total of 950 Finnish productions were screened at international festivals. Finnish productions were the most successful in 2015 with a total of 68 awards. In 2021, the corresponding number was 49.

According to the database of the Finnish National Audiovisual Institute, a total of more than 49,000 full-length films and approximately 41,000 short films have been produced in Finland. According to the database, the peak of Finnish cinema dates back to the 1960s.

International film makers fall in love with Finland

Finland has also been strongly involved in many international productions, such as in the film “Hanna” (2011) by director Joe Wright, who is known for the film “Pride and Prejudice” (2005).

The main character of the film is Hanna, a young teenager growing up in northern Finland who has been training all her life to become a deadly assassin. She does not lose her respect for the wonderful nature of Finland even when she is fighting with her enemies.

Other productions partially or completely filmed in Finland include “Pressure Seekers” (2022), “I Remember” (2020), “A Man and a Woman” (2016) and “The Amazing Race 10” (2006).

Also older films such as “The Jackal” (1997), “The Jigsaw Man” (1983), “The Call of the Wild” (1975), “Doctor Zhivago” (1965) and “No Tomorrow” ( 1957), are known for being filmed in Finland.

International production companies can to apply for Business Finland's production incentive if a part of the production budget is reserved for filming the production in Finland. Business Finland provides more information about the production incentive.

Labor costs and cash rebate

Finland is a member of the European Union and a Schengen country. Roughly speaking, Finland is the most cost-effective country compared to Sweden, Norway and Denmark. One significant factor are the labor costs. Finnish production teams typically work 8-10 hours a day, with the hourly wage being lower than in Scandinavian countries.

For example, in Sweden and Denmark, the length of working days is typically 8 hours in production, but the hourly wage is up to 15% higher in Sweden and 20% higher in Denmark. In Norway, the working day is typically 10 hours long, but the hourly wage can be up to 20% higher compared to Finland.

Finland contributes to the financing of international productions in many ways. Business Finland is responsible for financing the national production incentive. This is a maximum of 25% refund of the production costs. Production companies do not have to wait long for the refund, as the decision typically arrives within 40 days and payments are made 21 days after.

Eligible costs for the cash rebate are purchases or goods and services or the rental of equipment and facilities for production purposes from companies liable to pay tax in Finland.

Location shooting in Finland

Finland is a small country compared to its neighboring countries, but it has much more to offer to the international film industry than lower hourly wages and a generous production incentive. Thousands of lakes, beautiful forests, aurora borealis, lovely log cabins and landscapes filled with magical snow in winter, as well as many activities, attract leisure travelers as well as numerous production groups.

Best of all, special filming permits are not required unless the filming disturbs the public use of the area or place. A special permit is usually required for filming in cities, national parks, privately owned and / or historic locations.

Clean nature and the beautiful four seasons encourages one to utilize authentic natural landscapes according to the possibilities and needs of one’s production.

The midnight sun paints the summer sky with bursting colors and natural light worth capturing. In winter, the weather may be gentler than you think, despite Finland’s arctic location and reputation for being a could country.

In winter, the temperature can occasionally drop to around -30 degrees (°C) below zero, and such conditions may sound harsh, but adequate clothing and preparation for winter shoots is usually more than enough.

Short distances and the great network of public transport combined with cooperative professionals and local communities enable smooth international productions from the northern parts all the way to the south.


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