Distributors and cinemas support the Finnish film producers’ strike

Media release, 5 September 2007, for immediate release

The Finnish Chamber of Films together with its member organizations supports the independent Finnish film producers’ demands to increase the state subsidies to the film industry. The chamber is worried about the constantly weakened prerequisites of small movie theatres – as many as fifty small towns and rural centres may lose their theatres because of insufficient subsidy. The reduced repertoire of Finnish film jeopardizes the versatility of programme in the theatres.

The members of the Finnish Chamber of Films include The Finnish Film Distributors’ Association, which represents all important film distributors in the country, and The Finnish Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, the members of which include nearly all Finnish cinemas.

The share of audience that wants to see domestic films in the cinema is clearly higher in Finland than in most other European countries. The Finnish film is particularly important for the existence of movie theatres – the smaller the community, the bigger its importance.

– In Finland, there are about 200 movie theatres, most of which are located in small towns and rural centres. Their survival is largely dependent on Finnish movies. Due to the weak funding of the Finnish film industry, some 50 small towns and communities are constantly on the verge of losing their cinemas, complains the executive director of The Finnish Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, Tero Koistinen.

The key idea of Finnish cultural policy has been to provide equal opportunities for culture all over the country. When decisions were made on the level of subsidy for Finnish films, the great cultural and regional significance of the present cinema network was not taken into account at all. Last year, which was an excellent year for the Finnish film, there were as many as 115 cinemas with box office revenue less than 50,000 euros.

– Basically, we are talking about micro businesses and voluntary spirit for maintaining regional cultural activity. The great cultural importance of this activity is revealed by the fact that there were more than 300,000 movie visits in the 115 small-town theatres just mentioned. Even according to a moderate estimate more than half of these visits concerned Finnish films, Koistinen points out.

The danger of narrowed programme

The Finnish Film Distributors’ Association sympathizes with the film producers.

– The film producers have taken harsh action to correct the lack of funding of the Finnish film industry, says the executive director of The Finnish Film Distributors’ Association, Raija Nurmio.

– A strike is an extreme solution, but when one is familiar with the long-lasting lack of funding for the Finnish film, the film producers’ frustration becomes very understandable.

The Finnish film is the economic cornerstone of the Finnish film distributors. If it crumbles because of the strike, the distributors’ possibilities to offer European and independent films to the movie theatres are severely weakened.

– The distributors’ capacity to take risks is remarkably diminished, if the Finnish film disappears from the cinemas and the other channels of distribution. This would be a catastrophe to the Finnish film culture as a whole and to the cinema audience in particular, Nurmio regrets.

The Finnish Chamber of Films wishes that the decision makers responsible for film funding would give the film producers a concrete sign of subsidy increase as soon as possible, so that the whole film industry would be able to continue its work for the benefit of Finnish film in the whole of Finland.

Further information:

Raija Nurmio
Managing director
The Finnish Chamber of Films
+358 9 6877 2311, +358 50 555 2949

Tero Koistinen
Executive director
The Finnish Cinema Exhibitors’ Associtation
+358 9 6877 2315, +358 50 323 8582