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Hollywood location scouts on fam trip in Oulu

Julkaistu 17.08.2018

Half a dozen seasoned location managers and scouts for big productions came to Finland for a one-week fam trip made possible by Business Finland’s AV industry production incentive. Northern Ostrobothnia and the Oulu region were included in the group’s agenda.

Photo: The Pyhäsalmi mine made an impact on the visitors. From left: Scott Trimble, Peter Gluck, health and safety representative Jouni Jussinniemi, Ben Bailey, Asha Sharma and Anne Laurila. Photographer: Tapani Launonen

As a result of the scouts’ visit, thousands of location photos will be presented to studios in view of future productions. Naturally, the main goal of the visit is to bring the first Hollywood shoots to Finland.

The delegation and their local guides spent several days in different regions in Finland. The visit programme was planned in co-operation with the North and West Finland Film Commissions as well as cities in southern Finland. Still, the agenda was primarily drawn out according to the scouts’ wishes.

A 10-million euro production incentive (called Finnish 25% Cash Rebate) for the audiovisual industry was launched in Finland last year not only to seek growth for Finnish film and TV productions but also to bring international productions to Finland. The new funding instrument is part of Business Finland’s services.

- We do a lot of promotional work with foreign producers, presenting them with the versatile production opportunities in Finland. This time the visiting group included five people, two of whom were British and the rest from the USA. Most of them are location scouts who tour the world professionally, looking for shooting locations for new productions. We were looking for suitable people to bring to Finland and who would be working particularly with big productions, says Anne Laurila from BusinessOulu and the North Finland Film Commission.

- This was the first time that a delegation of location and scouts was touring Finland to this extent. We tried to go through as many different shooting locations as possible to give them a versatile picture of what Finland has to offer. The goal of the trip was to convince our guests of the fact that Finland has not only the right locations but also first-class services and seasoned professionals in their field. We know how to take the needs of Hollywood studios into consideration, Laurila emphasises.

Great financial significance

Film and TV productions always bring income to the region in which they are shot. Production crews spend a lot of money on regional services and products – the bigger the production, the more goods are needed. The visibility attracted by a production is also of great significance, and for example the tourism in Iceland has grown explosively since big Hollywood productions have been shot there. Also Iceland’s own audiovisual industry has grown eight-fold during the decade following the launch of their national production incentive. It is hoped that the Cash Rebate incentive would cause similar effects in Finland.

Big revelations related to the recent visit cannot be expected at this stage.

- Unfortunately we cannot say what kind of productions this group might have on their minds, for we are bound by strict confidentiality agreements. But the members of this delegation have histories of big action-packed films, so we are talking about film crews of hundreds of people and budgets of hundreds of millions, Laurila says.

During their trip in Finland, the group travelled from the National Archive to Turku archipelago via the depths of the Pyhäsalmi mine. The scouts saw Finland from land, sea and air, not forgetting the regional food culture and sauna experiences.

In the Finnish biking capital of Oulu, it was only fitting that the location scouts saw the scenery from the saddle. (Photo: Tapani Launonen)

Precious job touring the world

A first time visitor in Finland, Scott Trimble is a founder and former board member of Locations Managers Guild International. He works with a lot of science fiction and action films (e.g. Star Trek, The Avengers and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation).

- Finland has the kind of landscapes that often work for alien worlds and distant futures. There are a lot of places that I have been interested in, and I’ve seen them through research for previous movies. Now I finally get to see it in person myself, Trimble says.

- I am not looking for anything specific – all of it is for future reference and future projects. So, the next time I get hired by one of the big movie studios for one of these kind of projects, I’ll immediately be able to tell them there are places in Finland that could work for this. I’ll also have the pictures to back it up, he continues.

- I absolutely love the job because we get to travel and explore, take pictures, meet people and see places we never would have seen otherwise. But it can be exhausting at time, for we have to work long hours with tight schedules and there is a lot of politics involved. We have to keep everyone happy – producers, property owners and local governments. We are always peacemakers wherever we go, Trimble explains.

International delegation:

What is the Finnish 25% Cash Rebate all about? www.finlandcashrebate.fi

Further information:

Anne LaurilaFilm Commissioner, North Finnish Film Commission
anne.laurila@businessoulu.com
tel. +358 44 703 7523