Figures released last weekby The Finnish Film Foundation. Local titles recorded 942,795 admissions duringJanuary and February, the best opening months of the year ever in Finland forlocal product, and have already surpassed the ticket sales of all local filmsthroughout 2005 (940,000).

The top release of the yearso far was Aleksi Makela's Matti - HellIs For Heroes, a fictional film based on the lifeof ski-jumper Matti Nykanen,which sold 432,000 tickets. Romantic comedy FCVenus was second with 204,795 admissions recorded, while Pekka Karjalainen'scomedy Jackpot was third having sold 87,316tickets after only ten days on release.

These are not the only localfilms drawing audiences to Finnish cinemas, however. There are currently tenlocal titles playing in Finland's theatres including several 2005 holdovers, such asdrama Mother OfMine and Beauty And The Bastard,which debuted in September and October, respectively. The films on releasecater to all audience tastes from children's films Unna And Nuuk and Valo to anhistorical drama, Promise, anddocumentary Pavlov's Dogs, which allrun alongside the leading hits. Internationally recognized local director Aki Kaurismaki also has a new film in theatres with Lights In The Dusk(Laitakaupungin Valot).

Far from competing with each other the wealth of choiceamongst Finnish product on release seems to have attracted some audiences toall titles and local market share for the year to date is a stunning 55%. Thiswill naturally reduce as the summer months see a lack of local films releasedas usual, when Hollywood titles dominate. However, withtwo more local productions, Jouko Aaltonen'sdocumentary Revolution and Jarno Laasala's The Dudesons Movie,still to come in the spring and eight currently scheduled for the autumnFinland may well see local product break 1999's record 1.8 million admissionsand 25% market share in the territory.