2009 Producer on the Move - Finland
by Annika Pham
Matti Halonen has worked as production manager and line producer on almost 30 feature films. He turned to production in the early 2000 and in 2006 was given the opportunity to develop the Finnish production arm of Scandinavian major FS Film. His most recent feature film is 8 Days to Premiere by Perttu Leppä, which snagged over 45,000 admissions in Finland last year.
Cineuropa: How does it feel to be Finland’s Producer on the Move?
Matti Salonen: It feels great. There are many great producers in the business. Getting selected is an honor for me.
What are the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of a producer’s job?
Of course this global economical crisis makes financing quite challenging. What I also find quite challenging is to be able to have enough time and money for script development. Producers and directors often want to go into production too early, even if the script is not sufficiently developed. They do this for economic reasons most of the time.
The most rewarding part of the job is to be able to make a film that audiences want to go see. To me it is very important that the film finds its audience. It is not only the financial aspect, it is also the great feeling when you have a dialogue with the audience, when you make them laugh or cry and tell them your story. When you have invested at least two years of your working life into making a film, it feels good when audience wants to buy a ticket and see the outcome.
Do you have any project that might be of interest for European partners?
My upcoming film is Choir Boys, a crime drama directed by Olli Saarela (Year of the Wolf, Ambush), based on a screenplay by the established Finnish novelist Antti Tuuri (The Winter War). The project, which received development support from the MEDIA Programme, was presented at the 20008 Mannheim Meetings. We are looking for co-production partners in Germany and Sweden. I have also received requests from international film festivals even though we are still writing the script! It is promising. Principal photography will start next winter, and the film will be ready in fall 2010.
The other production that I am working on is the love drama Tatjana written by Kirsi Vikman (Mother of Mine [+see also:
film profile]). It is a love story of a Lappish girl and a German pilot during World War II.
Do you feel Finland is an exciting place to make films these days and that you get enough support from local institutions and broadcasters?
Finland has really good filmmakers who have passion for film and who also know how to handle the new digital technology. Recent Finnish films have been well received in Central Europe, which makes our life a bit easier. Local films have an excellent market share in Finland, at over 20% since the last decade. I find this encouraging and it has a positive influence on the film business as a whole.
Support from institutions has increased in the last couple of years and will continue to increase in the future. Some broadcasters are suffering from the economical crisis but I hope they will be able to invest more in the future. Local productions are also important for them.
What was the best film you last saw in a cinema?
Slumdog Millionaire [+see also:
interview: Danny Boyle
film profile] and Waltz with Bashir [+see also:
film profile]. I look forward to seeing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [+see also:
interview: Niels Arden Oplev
interview: Søren Stærmose
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