Support guide

Regional operational support for cinemas

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 name of your cinema in your message!

1. General

The aim of the support

The aim of the Finnish Film Foundation is to promote the broad and comprehensive distribution of films by supporting the availability and reach of domestic films on different distribution platforms and also by supporting the availability of a wide variety of international films in Finland.

The aim of the regional operational support for cinemas is to ensure a functioning cinema network throughout the country, to promote the regional access to films and to encourage cinemas to develop new business operation models. The aim of the support is to promote the screening of a diverse selection of films that serves all demographics.

To whom?

Support may be granted to a corporation registered in Finland, a registered association or a municipality or a municipal consortium running a cinema while taking into consideration the prerequisites for professional and regular screenings.

Support may also be granted for valid reasons to an individual proprietor registered in Finland in charge of running a cinema.

It may primarily be granted to cinemas and touring cinemas of small and mid-sized towns and municipalities. For special reasons, it may also be granted to cinemas in larger towns and municipalities.

The definition of a cinema

In this guide, cinema refers to a professionally and regularly run establishment with one or more auditoriums and which gains most of its revenue from ticket sales to the public. The cinema’s programme, technology and viewing facilities are in good condition and screenings are accessible to all members of the public.

For what purpose and how much?

Support can be applied for cinema activities that diversify the programme of the cinema and attract new audiences. These may include:

  • Diversifying the programming
  • Audience work, including local, open film events, activating the youth, increasing accessibility, filmmaker and expert appearances
  • Screening alternative programming (e.g. event cinema)
  • On a case-by-case basis, other activities deemed necessary by the applicant

Support may be granted only for costs incurred in the cinema operations. Support may also be granted for marketing and advertising costs for the activities mentioned above. The regular programming of the cinema and its marketing and advertising costs are not covered by this support.

Applications for the operational support for cinemas are made to the Foundation in exchange for reported actualised costs after the financial year.

A cinema operating in a town or municipality of less than 50,000 inhabitants can receive a maximum of €8,000 whereas a cinema operating in a town or municipality of more than 50,000 inhabitants can receive a maximum of €4,000 in support per year.

The regional operational support for cinemas is paid retroactively in a single instalment to the recipient’s Finnish bank account in exchange for a cost statement appended to the application.

Previous support decisions can be viewed on the Foundation’s support decisions page.

How and when to apply?

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. 

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

Support applications are handled by:

Ilmari Arnkil

Exhibition and Distribution Specialist

• support for cinemas, distribution and festivals

+358 9 6220 3035

A good application and smooth communication

Finnish Film Foundation makes roughly 250–300 distribution and exhibition support decisions each year. It is essential for the evaluation and comparison of the applications that the application is clear and carefully prepared.

Be clear and relate the essentials in your application. Consider how the support corresponds with its goals.

Fluent processing

When uploading appendices, make sure that

  • the name of the appendix corresponds to its content.
  • all the obligatory appendices have been submitted.
  • the figures are congruent in all documentation, such as the budget and the financing plan.
  • reply to the handler’s or the system’s requests for additional information in the required time frame.

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 the name of the cinema.

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”).

What requirements must the applicant meet?

The decision about the regional operational support for cinemas is made against the cinema’s actualised expenses, accounted for and recorded by the cinema’s accountant. The costs of the supported project must be on its own cost center or equivalent in the applicant’s accounting.

An appended written report must contain the measures taken by the cinema, an itemised report of actualised costs and information about any other funding.

Admissible costs in the cost statement appended to the application are the paid net costs and project costs noted in the application form not subject to VAT and recorded in the recipient’s accounts. If the recipient does not have the right to VAT deductions, the costs may be approved with VAT. The cost statement appended to the grant application must be certified by an accountant.

A favourable decision requires that the applicant has complied with possible previous support conditions and delivered a report on the uses of previous support to the Foundation. If the applicant is involved in several projects receiving support from the Foundation, the recipient’s projects may be viewed as a single entity. The Foundation may request further materials from the applicant in order to reach a decision.

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 cost statement – 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 must observe and notify their accountant and their auditor of the Foundation’s instructions and guidelines concerning accounting, financial statement and auditing principles.

Support cannot be granted if the application has been submitted after the application period or is incomplete and the necessary information is not delivered in the application system despite request to do so. The handler of the support will assist in any questions regarding the application. The contact information is at the end of this grant announcement.

How are the applications evaluated?

Regional operational support for cinemas is discretionary support. Granting the support is based on the overall evaluation and comparison of the applications. The following guidelines are used to evaluate the applications:

In granting the support, the following is evaluated:

  • The realization of the activities mentioned in “For what purpose and how much?”
  • The professionality of the operations
  • The continuity of the cinema in the region
  • The cinema’s commitment to accessibility work. This will be evaluated with the help of Accessibility Guide for Cinemas (2021, pdf), published by the Film Accessibility Forum.

Cinema operations have to be regular throughout the year, unless the population of the region permits an exception. The available funds of The Foundation are taken into consideration.

Other funding and self-financing are considered to be an advantage in the evaluation.

A prerequisite for granting the support is that the recipient has delivered the correct current information for maintaining film statistics and the cinema’s annual report to the Foundation.

In addition, a prerequisite for full support is that during the operational year, the cinema has organized screenings with subtitling for the hearing-impaired and has advertised on its website the possibility for the subtitling for the hearing-impaired and audio description.

How are the decisions made?

The Board of the Finnish Film Foundation decides on import support based on the presentation of the CEO. The Foundation aims to make decisions in 3–10 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).

2. Operational support application

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

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

If it is not possible to submit certain appendices, an explanation of the missing appendices must be made and appended to the application.

The support is applied for retrospectively at the end of the operational year.

The applicant must submit the following appendices to the application system by the end of the application period:

The applicant’s appendices

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

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.

3. Decision and support payment

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”) window.

The regional operational support for cinemas is paid in a single instalment to the recipient’s Finnish bank account after the decision has been made.

4. 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.

5. 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.