The Finnish Film Foundation will administer the special grant on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

The €1 million special grant is available to small to medium-sized cinemas that were forced to close down mid-March due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and for film festivals supported by the Finnish Film Foundation, that have had to cancel or postpone their event between March 13 – May 31, 2020.

Among them are Helsinki’s Night Visions (April 22-26) and Espoo Ciné (May 4-10) that both have postponed their event.  

“The entire film and audiovisual industry is suffering great losses because of the restrictions caused by the pandemic,” said Lasse Saarinen, CEO at The Finnish Film Foundation.

“With the funds allocated to us we can help small and medium-sized cinemas and ensure a future for them. We can also help those festivals that have had to postpone or cancel their events during the spring, so that they too can stay in business.”

Ilmari Arnkil, head of distribution and exhibition at The Finnish Film Foundation added: “This additional support is of great importance especially to cinemas. In terms of having culture available all around the country, it is critical that cinemas survive. In many regions, cinemas can be the most popular or even the only cultural service. If the restrictions continue for very long, there is a threat that our nationwide network of cinemas will collapse, which in turn would be harmful for the production and distribution of Finnish films. It is almost impossible for cinemas to develop other activities in this situation,” he noted. Finnish cinemas are due to reopen sometime in May.