The territory is making its mark in Europe and banking on its strength in animation.
Finnish Hollywood director Renny Harlin may be returning to his home territory to shoot the $18m biopic of the historical legend Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, but the Finnish film industry is increasingly making its movies without real locations.
“The development of animation and 3D expertise in Finland has been remarkable during the last couple of years,” explains the Finnish Film Foundation’s newly appointed head of production Petri Kemppinen. There are about six fully animated features in development or pre-production, besides projects for television. Animation producers’ association Finn-animation is exploring how to further support the industry’s expansion.
One of the highest profile animated movies is Moomins And The Comet Chase, Scandinavia’s first feature in stereoscopic 3D. Produced by Tom Carpelan’s Filmkompaniet, the movie, which launched at Cannes, is sold by NonStop Sales. Based on Tove Jansson’s book Comet In Moominland, it was made using restored footage from the 1978-82 felt-puppet series. Directed by Maria Lindberg, the film features the voices of Max von Sydow, Peter Stormare, Stellan Skarsgard and Mads Mikkelsen. Bjork has provided new music for the film.
Anima Vitae’s Niko And The Way To The Stars helped fuel the growing reputation of Finnish animation. The award-winning film, directed by Kari Juusonen and Michael Hegner, attracted 236,000 admissions locally in 2008, and has sold worldwide for the Helsinki studio. It has also become Finland’s highest grossing film in Europe.
The Finnish Film Foundation has $24.6m (€ 18.7m) available this year for production, development and script support, a 50% increase since 2007. Production is rising, with 15 local releases (live action and animated) in 2009, 20 scheduled for this year and 35 features in production. “Our aim is to reach a local market share of 15% annually,” says Kemppinen. “After four months of 2010, it is well over 30%.”
FINLAND AT A GLANCE, 2009
Population 5.4 million
Size of box office $76m (€ 57m), up 4.8% on 2008
Admissions 6.8 million
Number of theatrical releases 174
Number of locally produced theatrical releases 20
Market share of local films 15%
Source: Finnish Film Foundation