The production of $14.2m (€10m) Mannerheim, the most expensive Finnish feature, is back on track after securing new funding from a gaming company.

Solar Films producer Markus Selin signed a deal with online betting operator, Unibet Group, earlier this week. It is the first time the company has funded a film.  

Unibet chief executive Petter Nylander said: “We have been looking for a culture-related project for some time, and Mannerheim is better than we could have imagined.”

The film is being directed by Renny Harlin and is biopic of Finnish historical legend Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. It will commence principal photography on Aug 17, on location near Joensuu, Askainen and the capital of Helsinki.

Most of the film will lense in Lithuania, with second unit shooting in St Petersburg and Rovaniemi-Lapland, among others. The world première, originally scheduled for January 15 this year has been delayed to October 22. Local distribution and international sales are still open.

Solar Films publicity manager Rampe Toivonen said: “We are currently checking the availability of the original cast which should have started filming in March. “However, it is absolutely certain that Mikko Nousiainen will play the lead.”

Scripted by Heikki Vihinen and Marko Leino, Mannerheim will be produced by Selin and Jukka Helle for Solar Films (partly owned by Danish major, Nordisk Film) and Liberty Productions. The Finnish Film Foundation has chipped in $638,000 (€450,000) for the project.

Finnish commercial broadcaster MTV3 Finland has signed for local TV rights, and Selin has secured $1.7m (€1.1m) from non-film-industry partners/marketing collaborators, including VR, Sinebrychoff, Neste Oil, Fortum, Muuttopalvelu Niemi and Helsingin Sanomat.

Mannerheim tells the story the life of the Swedish-speaking nobleman, who served the Russian Tsar, before he returned to Finland in 1917 to become the father and later president of his country. He died in 1951. Oscar-winning make-up artist Greg Cannom will be in charge of his ageing looks.