Southeast Finland Film Commission EU-project (2015-2017, funded by European Regional Development Fund), main target was to create new business from audiovisual productions in Kotka-Hamina region. The main operations were to market Kotka-Hamina region as an interesting and competitive filming location for international and Finnish audiovisual productions, help production companies to find filming locations, audiovisual experts and service providers from the region. After the project, Southeast Finland Film Commission (SEFFC) started out as an independent organization as a part of the Kotka-Hamina Regional Development Company Cursor Oy’s operations. The Film Commission is funded by regional municipalities Kotka, Hamina, Pyhtää, Virolahti and Miehikkälä and Cursor Oy.
Southeast Finland Film Commission EU-project enabled to start a regional service cluster where local service providers could offer services for the production companies. The productions filmed in Kotka-Hamina region have employed different kinds of companies; especially accommodation, catering and construction business companies. The cooperation also with regional learning institutions Xamk University of Applied Sciences and Ekami -Etelä-Kymenlaakso Vocational College has started well and students have been connected successfully with the productions.
During the 2,5 years project time, there were 8 audiovisual productions filmed in Kotka-Hamina region. Film Commission has piloted different kinds of operating models in cooperation with productions and local service providers. The main reasons for the good results were strict selling and marketing of the Kotka-Hamina region. The location services worked well and regional support were highly valued among the production companies. For example, empty storage halls are cheap to rent. Film Commission has been able to develop the halls for the productions use. Kotka-Hamina region has become a potential alternative for audiovisual production companies. Cost-effective services and fast travel connections with motorway E18 from Helsinki have been significant benefits to market Kotka-Hamina region.
Productions effects to the regional economy were around 400 000 € during the project.
List of productions (directors) which have been filmed in Kotka-Hamina region 2014-2017:
Nuotin Vierestä (Lauri Nurkse) 2014
Thoughts about love (Jani Ilomäki) 2015
Test My Ride (Pasi Riiali) 2015
The Unknown soldier 2017 (Aku Louhimies) 2016, 2017
The Heroes of the Baltic Sea (Antti-Jussi Annila&Tuukka Temonen) 2016
Aallonmurtaja TV series (Mika Kurvinen) 2016
Supermarsu, children movie (Joona Tena) 2016
Laugh or Die (Heikki Kujanpää) 2017
Finland invests in audiovisual productions
Southeast Finland Film Commission -EU projects actions enabled that film commission continues the same regional developing work after the EU-project. The cooperation with other regional Finland Film Commissions is also important. Strong, mutual marketing will help all commissions to achieve the international productions. The most important is to make sure that international production companies will be interested on Finland and the opportunities the different film commission areas offers.
In 2016, Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland placed the working group to prepare a proposal for a competitive audiovisual production incentive system to be implemented in Finland. Southeast Finland Film Commission was nominated as a member to this working group. As a result, a budget of EUR 10 million for 2017 has been now set as a production incentive. The incentive will represent a 25% refund for expenses incurred in Finland, to be paid in retrospect against receipts. The purpose of the incentive system is to serve as a tool for the development of business activities, internationalization, and audiovisual culture. The system will have both direct and indirect effects both on employment, skills and exports within the audiovisual sector as well as the invigoration of business activities and vitality of different regions of Finland in general.
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