support guide

Development support

This support guide supplements the grant announcement. Read both of them carefully before submitting your application. Grant announcements are available in Finnish and Swedish.

Application deadlinesHow to apply

Preparing an application:

  • Study the grant announcement and the support guide carefully.
  • Log in to our application system with your Suomi.fi e-Identification.
  • Fill in an application in the application system. The application consists of
    1) an application form
    2) the application’s appendices
    3) the applicant’s appendices
  • Submit the application before the deadline.

Whenever you are in contact with us regarding your application, mention the application number and the title of the film in your message!

1. General

The definition of film

In this guide, film and film production refer to a feature-length, short or serial work, documentary, animation or children’s film, or a combination thereof.

The aim of the support

The aim of the Finnish Film Foundation is to promote diverse, professional film production in Finland and to secure the continuity and diversity of professional film production. The Foundation’s values include participation, pluralism, cultural diversity and artistic freedom.

The purpose of the support is to promote high-quality, diverse and original Finnish film production as well as the broad and extensive supply and distribution of films.

To whom?

Development support may be granted to a film production company registered in Finland (registered company: limited liability company, general partnership, limited partnership, co-operative) with the professional and financial prerequisites to produce films and to manage their commercial rights in Finland.

For example, a private trader, company name (toiminimi) or a registered association are not registered companies in Finland.

Professional prerequisites demand that the production company can handle the various stages of producing the film for which it has applied development support, as well as the purposeful distribution and other uses of the film.

From the perspective of financing, it is essential that the production company has the required liquidity and solvency to produce the film and overcome surprising changes in costs that may happen during production.

Development and production support cannot be granted to a government department, municipality, federation of municipalities or parish, state-owned or other comparable communities or departments. Moreover, development and production support cannot be granted to a television or streaming company, or to a film production company with one or more shareholders who hold at least 15% in shares and act in television production or streaming services.

For what purpose and how much?

The development support is aimed at the development of a feature-length, short or serial work, documentary, animation or children’s film, or a combination thereof.

The support may be directed at writing and developing a script, production, cinematography and stage design and other operations necessitated by cost estimates and financing arrangements.

The amount of support

The maximum amount of development support is €250,000.

Previous support decisions may be viewed from the Foundation’s support decisions page.

Development support can be applied and it may be granted in several instalments in order to develop and progress a film project. Development support granted for a film project by the Foundation are counted as production support and therefore it affects the maximum amount of production support.

How and when to apply?

Development support is applied for by submitting an application in the application system before the deadline given in the grant announcement.

The application consist of:

1) an application form
2) the application’s appendices
3) the applicant’s appendices

Prior to submitting an application, you must carefully read the relevant grant announcement and support guide. You should begin preparing the application well ahead of the deadline.

The applicant is responsible for submitting the application within the deadline. Applications submitted after the deadline are transferred to the next application period.

The application deadline is at 16:00 on the last day of the application period.

The development support applications are handled by:

Sarita Koskelin

Film Commissioner

• development support and production support for feature films
• development support for drama series (episodes 22 minutes and over)
• slate development support
•50/50 production support

+ 358 9 6220 3029

Kari Paljakka

Film Commissioner

• development support and production support: feature films, international minority co-productions
• slate development support
•50/50 production support

+ 358 9 6220 3012

Iris Olsson

Film Commissioner

• scriptwriting grant: documentary films and series
• development support and production support: documentary films and series, short films, animated and drama series (episodes under 22 minutes)

+ 358 9 6220 3022

Eero Tammi

Film Commissioner

• scriptwriting grant: documentary films and series
• development support and production support: documentary films and series, short films, animated and drama series (episodes under 22 minutes)

+ 358 9 6220 3025

Mira Kupari

Production Coordinator

• processing support applications and agreements, final reports: development support

+358 9 6220 3014

A good application and smooth communication

Finnish Film Foundation processes approximately 250–300 applications each application period and the production department makes roughly 1,300 decisions each year. It is essential for the evaluation and comparison of the applications that the application is clear and carefully prepared.

In a good application, the topic, script, and work and financial plans are presented consistently and demonstrate that the applicant has control over the film project from scriptwriting to distribution.

Be clear and relate the essentials in your application. Consider the operating environment and realities of film productions, including how the film’s funding and distribution are related to the film’s theme, topic and genre. Consider also how the support corresponds with its goals and what is special about this particular film.

Application and the applicant’s information

The Foundation’s application system has two windows:

1) Applications, where all the information and appendices related to the application are submitted

2) Applicant’s appendices (“Hakijan liitteet”), where all current production company documents are submitted

Fluent processing and communication

When uploading appendices, make sure that

  • the forms are up-to-date and include the date. 
  • the appendices show the current crew.
  • the agreements are signed by all relevant parties.
  • the length of the film is uniform in all documentation.
  • the figures are uniform in all documentation, including the cost estimate, financing plan and the development and production plan drafted according to the Foundation’s template.
  • fill in the development and production plan according to the Foundation’s template as completely as possible and refrain from referring to appendices.
  • you use the most recent version of the Foundation’s forms.

Updating appendices and information in the application system

Please note that the Foundation’s application system does not automatically inform the Foundation’s staff if you upload new appendices or update your information. Send an email about the changes to the film commissioner or other person handling the application.

Whenever you email the Foundation about your application, please state your application number and title of your film.

In addition to the obligatory appendices, you may add complementary appendices to your application .

If the drop menu in the Application’s appendices does not have a suitable appendix type, choose Other appendices (“Muut liitteet”).

Openness of documents

According to the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), a document submitted to the Finnish Film Foundation is public. Documents may also be designated confidential under the law or access to them may be discretionary. Confidential official documents include documents that contain information about private business or trade secrets.

What requirements must the applicant meet?

A positive support decision requires that

  • the applicant has complied with possible previous support agreements, conditions and delivered all overdue final reports on previous support.
  • when applying for development support for a project that has received development support before, the final report for the previous support must be delivered into the application system by the final application date. A film project cannot be awarded development support before the final report of the previous support for the same project has been approved by the Foundation.
  • the development phase funding is essentially secured. The applicant must show with binding confirmations or agreements that the plan related to the development support is feasible. Finnish Film Foundation evaluates the adequacy of the funding secured at the moment of application.

If the applicant is applying to fund a Finnish minority share of an international co-production, we also take into account the project’s appeal to a Finnish audience, the preconditions for continuing the collaboration between the parties, and the Finnish party’s artistic contribution and participation in the production.

The Foundation may request further information if it deems it necessary for the decision-making process.

Support cannot be granted if the application is insufficient and the required information is not uploaded into the application system despite requests to do so.

How are the applications evaluated?

Support may be granted to develop a cultural product that

  1. forms an artistic whole,
  2. has content that is based on cultural values originating in cultural identity,
  3. includes a significant contribution by significant creators and artists, and where the share of wages and salaries of the overall production costs is significant.

Support is discretionary. The evaluation and comparison of the applications is based on an overall assessment that considers the purpose of the funds, the grounds mentioned in the grant announcement and available funds in the budget.

The film project’s content, artistry and production are evaluated as a whole, and the evaluation takes into consideration the applicant’s artistic and professional qualifications that contribute to the probability of completing the project.

Other support previously granted by the Foundation to the applicant is also taken into account.

How are the decisions made?

The Board of the Finnish Film Foundation decides on development and production support based on the presentation of a Film Commissioner.

The Foundation aims to make decisions in 8–10 weeks after the deadline.

All applicants receive a written decision that contains the conditions of the support and a claim for corrections with instructions. You will get an email when the decision is made to the email address given in the Applicant’s information.

The decision is based on the act of government funding for the advancement of cinema (1174/2018), the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers (688/2001) and the Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003).

Finnish Film Foundation will sign a support agreement with the film’s production company before paying the support.

2. Application for development support

Fill out an application in the application system consisting of the following:

  1. Application form
  2. Application’s appendices
  3. Applicant’s appendices

The Foundation will appoint a film commissioner to the application. The applicant can see the name of the film commissioner in the application about a week after the deadline. If the project has previous support from the Foundation, the same film commissioner will be appointed to the new application.

If you need to supplement your application during the processing time, the film commissioner or other person handling the application will be in contact.

We do not comment on the possible decision during processing time.

Obligatory appendices of the development support application

You can submit the application once all the obligatory appendices are uploaded to the application system.

Development support is intended for the development of films based on an artistic plan.

The financing plan and the detailed budget must include the financing and the costs that the development phase the support is applied for requires.

You may download the Foundation’s templates for development plan, budgeting and and reporting forms on the Foundation’s website.

Minority co-productions

When applying for the Finnish minority share of an international co-production, the following appendices must be uploaded in the application system in addition to the appendices mentioned above:

The applicant’s appendices

Before the deadline, upload the appendices pertaining to the production company to the the Applicant’s appendices.

Audit duty

The Audit Act contains regulations about when a registered  corporation is not under the obligation to select an auditor.

When the Foundation’s support is at least €20,000, the cost statement in the final report must be verified by an authorised accountant.

3. Decision

After the decision made by the Finnish Film Foundation’s Board has been processed, you will receive a message to the email address you have given in the Applicant’s information.

The decision can be read in the application’s Decision (“Päätös”) view.

The film commissioner can elaborate on the grounds for the decision verbally if the applicant so wishes. Set a date with the film commissioner.

After the decision has been made, the Application’s appendices folder is closed.

After a favourable decision you will get instructions on how to proceed to an agreement to the email address given in the Application’s information.

Upload the support agreement appendices to the Agreement appendices (“Sopimusliitteet”) folder. 

Upload the appendices pertaining to the oversight and reporting to the Reporting and final report (“Raportointi ja loppuselvitys”) folder.

The Foundation’s logo and end credits

Support recipients must use the Foundation’s logo in their materials in conjunction with other financiers’ and collaborators’ logos. The logo is available in Finnish, English, Swedish and Northern Sámi.

The support granted by the Foundation must be mentioned also in the end credits of a film or a series together with the current logo. Even if the production has received only development support from the Foundation, the end credits must include a mention of the support.

The Foundation’s logos

4. Development support agreement

An agreement between the Foundation and the recipient on the development support must be signed within three (3) months of the favourable decision or the decision will expire.

Make sure that the budget and financing plan attached to the agreement correspond to the development support decision.

Upload the agreement appendices to the application system in the corresponding folder (“Sopimusliitteet”). The agreement is signed online in the Visma Sign service.

The recipient is responsible for adding and updating all support decision appendices before the recipient requests a date to draftíng the support agreement with the person responsible for development support agreements.

The support agreement confirms the budget of the current development stage, the funding strategy and other agreements required by the Foundation’s support agreement.

Deviation from the verified budget and where the support is used are possible only with the Foundation’s written agreement. The recipient is responsible for executing the project in the manner and within the schedule agreed to in the agreement.

Support agreement appendices

Upload the support agreement appendices to the corresponding folder (“Sopimusliitteet”) under an appropriate appendix type. If the drop menu does not have a suitable appendix type, choose Other appendices (“Muut liitteet”).

A prerequisite for signing the agreement is that you have submitted all necessary appendices pertaining to the production company. Upload the documents to the Applicant’s appendices. 

5. Payment of the support

Development support is paid to the recipient’s Finnish bank account in two instalments:

  • the first instalment (80%) after signing the support agreement
  • the second instalment (20%) after the final report has been approved by the Foundation

6. Oversight

Finnish Film Foundation oversees and supervises how the support is used. The Foundation has the right to use audits to oversee payments and how the support is used. The Foundation may also postpone payments during audits.

Organising project oversight

The recipient must maintain their accounts according to the Accounting Act and the Accounting Ordinance and follow sound accounting procedures. The recipient must organise the project’s audit trail – the link between the recipient’s financial statement and the project’s statement of charges – in a way that it can be reliably, completely and transparently verified by a third party.

The Foundation always reserves the right to fully audit the recipient’s accounting and management.

The recipient is obligated to provide their accountant and auditor the film’s support agreement and all appendices. If the recipient neglects these duties, the Foundation has the right to deliver the documents to the accountant and auditor named in the support agreement.

The recipient must observe and notify their accountant and their auditor of the Foundation’s instructions and guidelines (2021, pdf in Finnish) concerning the film industry’s accounting, financial statement and auditing principles.

Extensions

Extensions for the use of the support must be applied for in writing.

Upload the extension request to the application system in the Reporting and final report (“Raportointi ja loppuselvitys”) folder under the appendix type Extension request for final report (“Loppuselvityksen lisäaikapyyntö”).

After you have uploaded the request, send an email to:

mira.kupari@ses.fi

Disclosure requirement

The recipient must provide the Finnish Film Foundation the correct and sufficient information to enable oversight of the support decision’s conditions.

The recipient must inform the Foundation of all changes that influence the way the support is used without delay. Changes that influence the use of the support include changes in the project’s quality, breadth and funding. The Foundation also always has the right to receive information about the project’s current status and follow the project’s progress.

A written report of changes must be emailed to the film commissioner who presented the support to the Foundation’s Board. The basis for the report is the support agreement between the recipient and the Foundation which can only be changed with written permission from the Foundation.

7. Final report

The final report must be delivered to the Foundation no later than one year from the date the support agreement was signed.

The final report must include:

Using the company’s own equipment and internal transfers 

The use of the company’s own equipment and other transfers must be accounted for and itemised in the final report.

If these have changed in relation to budgeted costs, the recipient must report them adequately.

Auditing procedure

Upload the final report to the application system in the Reporting and final report (“Raportointi ja loppuselvitys”) folder.

Information on the submitted final report is emailed to Production Coordinator Mira Kupari: mira.kupari@ses.fi

The approval process for the final report of the development support has two stages. First the film commissioner who presented the support reviews the final report and approves of the work completed with the development support. During the second stage, an accounting specialist audits the finances of the final report.

An automatic message indicating that the final report is missing is only removed when the final report has been approved by the Foundation and the final instalment of the support has been paid.

In the application’s Payment information (“Maksutiedot”) window you can see when each instalment has been paid.

Finnish Film Foundation may request further information if it deems it necessary for the approval of the final report. The Foundation has the right to perform audits on the recipient’s finances and and activities based on the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers, section 16.

The recipient must ascertain that the Foundation has the necessary prerequisites to perform the audit.

Finnish Film Foundation approves the project’s final costs and funding based on the final report.

If the project’s support exceeds the actualised costs, the Foundation deducts the sum from the unpaid instalment. If the sum is larger than the unpaid instalment, the recipient must immediately return the exceeding portion of the support to the Foundation.

Repayment of discretionary government transfers

Act on Discretionary Government Transfers (688/2001) section 20

Recipients of discretionary Government transfer must repay without delay any transfer or part thereof they have received through error, in excess or manifestly without cause. Recipients must also repay a transfer or part thereof if it cannot be used as required in the transfer decision. If the repayable sum does not exceed 100 euros, it is not necessary to repay it.

In addition to the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers (688/2001), section 20, the recipient must abide by the following repayment conditions:

  • The recipient is obliged to immediately repay the grant or part of the grant if the grant has not been used during the time period agreed upon by the parties and if the Foundation has not granted an extension.
  • The repayable amount must include annual interest and an added three percent following the Interest Act (633/1982), section 3, subsection 2. The interest is calculated from the last payment to the support repayment date.
  • The target of the support and application number must be mentioned in the message field during repayment.

The support must be repaid to the Finnish Film Foundation’s bank account:
Nordea Bank Abp
IBAN FI74 1572 3000 0305 77
BIC NDEAFIHH

8. Halting payment and repayment

If the recipient does not repay Finnish Film Foundation according to the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers, section 20, repayment of the support or a portion of it will proceed according to section 9 and section 10 of the act of government transfers to promote film culture.

Section 9 Halting payments

The Arts Promotion Center Finland is responsible for halting payments. Finnish Film Foundation must immediately propose to the Arts Promotion Center Finland that the government transfer be halted if the Foundation has discovered information that warrants the halting of the payments. The Arts Promotion Center decides on the halting of payments and the continuation or halting of government transfers based on the Foundation’s suggestion.

The decision of the halting of payments must be made immediately and, for special reasons, during at least two calendar years after the Finnish Film Foundation’s suggestion. Finnish Film Foundation must include sufficient and essential information to make a decision to halt payments. The Arts Promotion Center Finland also has the right to receive the necessary information from the Finnish Film Foundation to halt payments without regard to confidentiality agreements.

Section 10 Repayment

The Arts Promotion Center Finland is responsible for halting payments. Finnish Film Foundation must immediately inform the Arts Promotion Center Finland of facts that would or should warrant government transfer repayments. The Arts Promotion Center Finland makes the repayment decision.

The decision of repayments must be made immediately and, for special reasons, during at least two calendar years after the Finnish Film Foundation’s suggestion. Finnish Film Foundation must include sufficient and essential information to make a decision of repayments. The Arts Promotion Center Finland also has the right to receive the necessary information from the Finnish Film Foundation for repayments without regard to confidentiality agreements.

Finnish Film Foundation’s grants are based on the act on the government’s support for the promotion of film culture (1174/2018). The grants apply the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers (688/2001). The Foundation follows the Administrative Procedure Act, the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the Language Act (423/2004), the Sámi Language Act (1086/2003), the Archives Act (831/1994), the Act on Electronic Services and Communication in the Public Sector (13/2003) and the Privacy Protection Act (9/2018).

According to the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), a document submitted to the Finnish Film Foundation is public. Documents may also be designated confidential under the law or access to them may be discretionary. Confidential official documents include documents that contain information about private business or trade secrets.