With Juho Kuosmanen´s Compartment No 6 launching in Competition at Cannes this month, Finnish films are basking in the glare of the global spotlight.
It is the perfect moment for the launch by the Finnish Film Foundation (FFF) of a new support scheme to encourage distributors to acquire and market Finnish films in their territories.
The aim? To boost the profile of the country’s filmmaking around the world.
“The worldwide pandemic has complicated the international sales of films and considerably slowed the theatrical release of films everywhere in the world,” says Jenni Domingo, FFF international promotion coordinator. “With the help of this targeted project support, we hope that sales companies can make wider distribution deals and that international distributors can commit to Finnish content and invest in local marketing.”
The initiative is firmly focused on the acquisitions of films for theatrical rollouts and amounts to a maximum €7,000 for one country or territory.
A grant could be awarded for several territories with one application with the total support for one film running to a maximum of €25 000 for multiple territories.
The application must come from a film’s Finnish production company, sales company and the international distributor. The scheme opens on August 9 will close on October 1, 2021.
“The funding is intended to provide an additional investment in the international distribution of a film, so something extra in addition to the regular distribution plan,” says international promotion advisor Suvi Railo.
The application must be for film that is a majority Finnish production. Support is reserved for productions that have already received support from the FFF. The scheme is open to feature, documentary or short film of all genres including animation or children’s films and the FFF says it will make application decisions within eight weeks.
Applicants for films more than three months after the release of the film in the territory are not eligible. Finnish films have a three-year window from release before the FFF ineligibility kicks in.
The international distribution company is required to submit a distribution and marketing plan and budget. According to FFF guidelines, plans should demonstrate the extra value the support will give to the distribution and marketing of the film. Cash may be used for screening copies, marketing materials, local marketing campaigns or dubbing.
The successful Finnish production company applying for the support will make the payment to the distributor. The minimum guarantee must be paid before applying for the support and the support cannot be included in the minimum guarantee.
This year’s Cannes Film Festival is the perfect showcase for Finnish films and filmmakers. In addition to Kuosmanen´s Trans-Siberian Railway-set drama Compartment No 6, Finnish-Somali filmmaker Khadar Ayderus Ahmed’s The Gravedigger’s Wife is making its world premiere in Critics’ Week.
Set against the backdrop of 1980s Soviet Union, Compartment No 6 follows a young Finnish woman who flees a love triangle to take the Trans Siberian Railway to the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar.
Produced by Jussi Rantamäki and Emilia Haukka of Finland’s Aamu Company with Jamila Wenske and Sol Bondy of Berlin-based One Two Films, Compartment No 6 is co-produced by Riina Sildos of Estonia’s Amrion Productions. It is being sold in the Marche by Paris-based sales Totem Films.
The Gravedigger’s Wife is set in Djibouti City in the Horn of Africa, it details the story of a struggling gravedigger on a quest to raise the money for the kidney transplant desperately needed by his beloved wife.
Produced by Finland’s Mark Lwoff and Misha Jaari at Helsinki-based Bufo Productions in co-production with France’s Pyramide Productions and Germany’s Twenty Twenty Vision, it is being sold by Paris-based Orange Studio.
Furthermore, Rahul Jain’s Invisible Demons is unspooling in the festival’s new Cinema for the Climate section. Sold by Participant Media and mK2, Jain’s documentary explores the consequences of India’s growing economy on the climate and profiles a city in crisis while reflecting on the broader global picture.
Toinen Katse and Ma.Ja.De. FilmProduktion produced with support from FFF-MDM-YLE-AVEK with Participant on board as co-financier and executive producer.
“After the stagnation due to the pandemic we felt that now was an important moment to act and facilitate the films journey to cinemas everywhere,” says Domingo.