Finland is known for its thousands of lakes and islands, dense forests, wooden cottages, snow-covered north, and the city of Helsinki.
Films of note shot in Finland include Hanna and the classic Doctor Zhivago. The country is a popular destination for productions coming from all over the world including Chinese, Indian, German, and French shoots.
Cost & Rebates
Finland is a member of the EU and trades in the Euro. Generally speaking, Finland is the least expensive of the Scandinavian countries. Location and equipment costs are more or less the same across Scandinavia. The main difference is labour costs and over time costs. To elaborate, Finland crews work a ten-hour day and have lower fees. In Sweden crews work an eight-hour day and fees are 15% higher. Denmark crews work an eight-hour day and fees are 20% higher. Norway crews work a ten-hour day and fees are 20% higher than Finland. Finland offers qualifying productions a 25% cash rebate.
When To Shoot
Finland has a four-season climate. Winters (December to March) get very cold and snowy. During midwinter in Lapland, the sun does not rise above the horizon, meaning 24 hours of darkness. The best time for filming the Aurora Borealis is between September and March. Spring (April to May) starts to see warmer weather and longer daylight hours. In Lapland snow can remain on the ground until May, making it an ideal place to shoot late snow looks. Summers (June to September) are warm with Lapland receiving 24 hours of daylight. Forested areas are plagued by mosquitoes during the midsummer months so remember to bring plenty of repellent. Fall (October to November) brings colourful leaves.
Finland is a member of the Schengen Area. Visiting US film crews can enter visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. Contact your closest Finnish embassy / representative for more information.
Cast, Crew & Equipment
Finland has a good pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers, several being of the highest international standard. Finnish crews are non-union. Crews are experienced, efficient, hard working and experts in working in very cold conditions. Crews speak fluent English.
Finland offers both a union and non-union option. Amateur actors and featured extras are non-union. Buyouts are 50% of day rate for Baltic countries, 50% for Scandinavia, 50% for Russia, 100% for Europe and 500% for worldwide. But it is always possible to negotiate with union actors.
Finland offers mainly Scandinavian looks. The Sami people are an indigenous minority living up in Lapland. Finland’s close proximity to other major European production centres allows easy access to those pools of talent should you ever need to look further. Finland is Arri based and has all the standard cameras, lights and cranes available locally. Helsinki has the major equipment houses with some basic gear also available in Lapland. More specialised equipment such as Russian Arms can be easily brought in from nearby major European production centres. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Finland is an ATA carnet country.