Films for international festivals

The International Department of the Finnish Film Foundation is primarily responsible for the distribution of Finnish films to various international festivals and advices on issues related to their international demand. The department mainly operates with films that have received production support from the Finnish Film Foundation.

We offer help and support for producers and filmmakers on issues related to internationalisation in all stages of film making. We follow the Foundation’s production support decisions closely and may contact filmmakers before the film is completed to gain a head start on our way to a successful festival launch. Production companies that have received production support can also contact us about their film’s festival launch.

Developing strategy

We draft a festival strategy for each film in cooperation with the production company. If the film has a sales company, we also contact them.

The preparation of a festival strategy begins with a meeting to determine, among other things:

  • What goals do we have for the film’s international festival distribution?
  • Which aspects of the film might attract international interest? What is special about this film? What is its marketing focus?
  • Does the film have a sales company or is it currently negotiating with sales companies?
  • Could the film be presented at a work-in-progress event before its premiere?
  • Is it possible to offer the film to Finnish film showcases or to Finnish film weeks?
  • Into which film festivals should the Foundation submit the film?

Submitting films to international festivals

Our festival strategy determines the festivals to which we submit the film. We cover the entry fee for the festivals agreed upon in the festival strategy. The filmmaker is also free to submit the film to other festivals. It is, however, always a good idea to consider carefully which festival’s profile suits your film.

Materials to be submitted

In order for the International Department to be able to submit films to festivals and market them through its own channels and materials, the producer must supply promotional materials as early as possible. All documents must be in English. We will provide you with a list of necessary materials.

We provide funding for international promotion materials and special projects. The grants can be used e.g. for hiring a marketing professional or a PR agent to promote film sales and access to festivals.

Material support

Project support

Access to major festivals

Markets and Scandinavian Films

We participate in film markets at the Berlin, Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals together with other Nordic film institutes as part of the Scandinavian Films organisation. The Nordic countries also collaborate at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France, the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA) and the Nordisk Panorama event in Sweden.

At the festivals’ market events, we meet with international film festival programmers and other film industry professionals and introduce them to upcoming Finnish films and the Finnish film industry in general.

European co-production forums are listed on the Creative Europe/Media desk’s website:

See the list

Scandinavian Films gather at the Scandinavian House in Cannes

Scandinavian Films gather at the Scandinavian House in Cannes / image: Tero Ahonen, 2022

Works-in-progress

Major film festivals’ programmers want to know about interesting up-coming films as early as possible. Works-in-Progress events are an essential way of bringing a film to the attention of programmers. 

Event organisers often ask the Foundation for tips on interesting productions. We can also advise producers on how to get their film to a works-in-progress event.

Programmer visits

We invite international film festival programmers to visit Finland. The aim is to give them a comprehensive and varied view of the Finnish film scene, to promote the selection of films for festivals and to help Finnish filmmakers create personal contacts with festival programmers.

Programmers are invited to Tampere Film Festival and DocPoint Festival in Helsinki. The programmers of the Toronto and Berlin Film Festivals visit the Foundation according to their own schedules. The Foundation also cooperates with the Finnish Film Affair event in inviting international guests.

Finnish Film Affair organises a works-in-progress presentation, inviting international festival programmers, sales company representatives and distributors to Helsinki to learn about upcoming Finnish films.

Finnish Film Affair

Cooperation with sales companies

Many Finnish films seeking international markets have signed a contract with an international sales company or agency. Today, there are also sales companies specialising in short films, both in Finland and internationally.

The International Department cooperates with sales companies and production companies in drafting and implementing the festival strategy. How we operate is always agreed upon case-by-case.

It is always worthwhile communicating to your sales company the services and support we provide. With the help of our project support, you can, for example, purchase market screenings and produce marketing materials.

The International Department also has direct, confidential relationships with various major festivals. We can arrange for the copies of your film to be delivered to festivals.

The subtitles made for Finnish film weeks organized by the Finnish Film Foundation can also be used for commercial purposes.

Take a look at a list of key sales companies on European Film Promotion’s site:

EFP

When your film has been selected for a festival

The International Department is responsible for distributing screening copies of films to international festivals. Distribution takes place mainly through a digital cloud service, but physical DCP and film copies are also still used. The screening copy is transferred safely online to the festival server through the cloud service.

Digital distribution makes material delivery ecological and quick. In practice, screening copies of films remain in cinema-standard DCP format but, instead of individual hard drives, they are placed on a protected server from which they can be uploaded to a digital cloud service and downloaded to festivals around the world. Transfers through cloud services are also easy and safe as files can be submitted with password protection without fear of damage or breakdown.

The gradual abandoning of screening copies has a major impact in the Foundation’s carbon footprint as, in the past, physical screening copies used to be transported all over the world, often as air cargo. Digital distribution also allows for the simultaneous circulation of screening copies and the screening of films around the world, as the festivals no longer have to share a limited number of physical copies with each other.

Once a film has been invited to a festival, the film makers can apply for travel support so they can network and meet audiences in person:

Support guide

Finnish film showcases

One of our areas of operation is organising Finnish film weeks and showcases all over the world. Annual events take place in St. Petersburg, Tokyo and Paris.

Finnish showcases are also held in annually changing countries. These events always involve a local partner: a festival, cinema, film archive or other organisation with contacts to the local audience. We also cooperate closely with Finnish embassies and Finnish cultural institutes in various countries and also organise networking events.

Finland has also been featured in joint Nordic showcases in various parts of the world within the framework of Scandinavian Films cooperation.

Events at embassies

In 2021, we released a Finnish film package with screening rights for the use of Finnish embassies. We have also compiled a guide to help embassies organise film screenings and other events:

Download the guide (pdf)

Festival distribution and retrospectives of classic films

The Foundation’s International Department organises retrospective screenings of the works of selected directors at international film festivals and events. There is high demand for films by Aki Kaurismäki, Pirjo Honkasalo, Markku Lehmuskallio and Mika Taanila, to name but a few.

The National Audiovisual Institute is responsible for the statutory archiving of Finnish films.

Project support can be used for digitising older films that have attracted interest from majort international festivals or events:

Support guide

International theatrical distribution of Finnish films

In 2021, we launched a support scheme to help the sale of Finnish films to theatrical distribution abroad. Read more about the support:

International distribution support

International Department Personnel:

Jaana Puskala

Head of International Department

• managing international promotion
• project support for international promotion: feature films

+ 358 9 6220 3026

Jenni Domingo

International Promotion Coordinator

• festival distribution strategy for feature films
• travel support and material support for international promotion: feature films

+ 358 9 6220 3032

Arttu Manninen

Advisor / International Promotion and Cultural Export of Documentary Films

• deputy Jan 28 – Dec 8, 2022
• festival distribution strategy for documentary films
• travel support and material support for international promotion: documentary films

+ 358 44 491 9069

Otto Suuronen

Advisor / International Promotion and Cultural Export of Short Films

• festival distribution strategy for short films and short documentary films
• travel support and material support for international promotion: short films and short documentary films
• monthly short film screenings at Kino K13
• curating short film programmes

+ 358 9 6220 3019

Anni Asikainen

International Promotion Assistant

• deputy Jan 17 – Dec 8, 2022
• print traffic

+358 9 6220 3049

Suvi Railo

Advisor / International Promotion and Cultural Export of Documentary Films

• on maternity leave Jan 28 - Dec 8, 2022
• festival distribution strategy for documentary films
• travel support and material support for international promotion: documentary films

Festival and awards news: