After eight years as head of production at the Finnish Film Foundation, Erkki Astala, has been wooed by public broadcaster YLE to become its new head of co-productions. Astala replaces veteran Eila Werning, who retires after holding the position since 1990.

The shuffle is part of a bigger restructuring at YLE, and Astala will be in charge of Finnish language co-productions for all YLE TV-channels. Astala started out as a film journalist, before becoming a festival organiser at the events in Tampere and Sodankylae.

He joined Aki Kaurismäki's production outfit Villealfa Filmproductions in 1984 and became a personal assistant to the acclaimed filmmaker. Since joining the Finnish Film Foundation in 1996, Astala and managing director Jouni Mykkänen have been key players in the recent success and growing market share the national film industry has seen since. Mykkänen will be taking over Astala's production responsibilities in collaboration with film commissioners Olli Soinio and Petri Rossi.