Finland is a land of extremes in terms of weather, scenery and natural light. There are vast icy landscapes and a buzzing urban vibe while summer’s 24 hour days, contrast with periods in the north where the sun does not rise at all.
The country has four clearly defined USPs: endless forests, crystal clear lakes, the unique unspoiled archipelago and, of course, Lapland.
Famously smog and pollution free, the crisp Finnish air comes with a unique light quality and tone all year round. There is also a distinctively long ‘blue period’ where the sun light turns blue during sunset and sunrise.
Competing with Sweden and Norway as a film location, Finland has the advantage of Christmas-sy Lapland and the first permanent snow of the year. It has lower overall production costs and Finnish big cities are often used to replicate Russian architecture.
For information on average snow fall/cover/depth throughout the year, average temperatures and daylight hours take a look at the website of the national film commission.
Currently boosted by a government film friendly initiative, the country’s film commissions are particularly welcoming to foreign productions, bureaucracy is non-existent, permits are easy to get and plenty of resourceful location and production related advice is on offer.
In addition to the Finland Film Commission, there is also the Finnish Lapland Film Commission which guarantees filmmakers 200 days of snow per year and 75 days with 24 hour daylight. There is a good road network in Finland as well as a frequent flight connection service ensuring even the most exotic and remote locations are easily accessible.
The other three film commissions in Finland are the East Finland Film Commission, the West Finland Film Commission and the North Finland film commission which has a particularly useful location scouting facility and crew database.
There is a good road network in Finland as well as a frequent flight connection service ensuring even the most exotic and remote locations are easily accessible.
In 2014, Finland provided one of the locations for the big screen adaptation of John le Carre's Our Kind of Traitor, starring Ewan McGregor and Damian Lewis and directed by Susanna White.
Other notable productions include the feature film Hanna directed by Joe Wright in 2011 and French film L'affaire Farewell. Then there is the feature Santa, directed by Marius Ivaskevicius, in which a trip to Lapland changes the life of a single mother and her young son. Big Game, starring Samuel L Jackson, used Finland as the main location for shooting in autumn 2013.
Commercial production company Also Starring recently joined forces with TBWA Helsinki, Fremantlemedia and MTV3 channel in Finland to produce a combination of sitcom and tv-commercials.
TBWA Helsinki came up with the original idea to make a 10-part sitcom taking place in an fictious finnish advertising agency. Every 30 minute episode is based around a real client and at the end of the episode the channel shows their 40 second TVC that Also Starring produced.
The series (Brändärit/The Brandmakers) had its premiere early September 2014 and the format has since been very sought after in the international TV markets.
No permit is required for filming in public places and permit guidelines tend to vary depending on the scale of the production. The turnaround is fast and the application process carries a very low level of bureaucracy.
Small scale crew and/or set, un disruptive to traffic or local residents, often do not require any permit at all.
In remote areas, permits are generally not needed, although one may be required for motorised vehicles or other heavy equipment and when using any private property.
You can work in Finland without a work permit if you are a film worker, your employer does not have an office in Finland, and the duration of the job is no longer than three months.
Go to the FilmFinland website for up to date information on working in the country.
Angel Films lease Finland’s biggest studio, with 800m2 of filming and event space. It is located in the accessible Herttoniemi area. Other studios in Finland include the Villila Studios in Satakunta which offers an all-round service to productions.
There are many natural landscapes in Finland, as well as a number of modern cities and small wooden towns. Plus the country can also boast thousands of kilometers of clean coastline, forests, the archipelago, urban city architecture, thousands of lakes and islands, vast areas of wilderness and ‘period locations’ with places specially designed to represent different periods in history.
Finland boasts top notch professional crews and international level studio facilities.
English is widely spoken and crew, camera and sound equipment are easy to come by. You can easily hire professional equipment including cameras, lenses, grips, trucks, cranes and lights. Angel Films rent out cameras, lenses, grips, trucks, cranes and lights. Other equipment rental companies include Emerald Gate Industries and P. Mutasen Elokuvakonepaja Oy. Click here for a full list of rental companies.