Maria Gullsten, EP at Flatlight Creative House, gives insider knowledge of this gorgeous country
From its vast, unoccupied stretches of land and forest to the way the landscape magically transforms in every season, there’s a lot going for Finland as a location. Not to mention the insane summer days that stretch right through midnight, giving your DoP lots of gorgeous light to play with. Intrigued, we caught up with Flatlight Creative House, a Finnish production service and locations company that knows the country inside out.
They’re made up of a bunch of creative minds who are genuine outdoor people and nature lovers. Executive producer Maria Gullsten lists five of her favourite things about shooting in Finland.
Finnish winter is something to note. In the north of Finland, where the Arctic Circle pierces the country, the winter lasts about six months. We have plenty of snow and great possibilities for winter sports. With winter comes the polar night, when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon at all for a period of time, but when there is light, it’s more like a long lasting sunrise and sunset colouring the sky with pastel colours. Sunny spring winter follows the polar night. For filming, winter offers breath-taking white landscapes like frozen sea or lakes, exquisite lighting conditions and well organised winter proof infrastructure.
Finland is a sparsely populated country with vast nature resources. Big forest areas and hundreds of thousands of lakes are typical for the country. Finland has four seasons that all have a different feeling, weather conditions and different light, plus nature is literally everywhere and easy to access. During summertime the sun never sets and we can enjoy midnight sunshine. Autumn is famous for its bright red and yellow colours. The spring has a special, intense green colour in the south and sunny snowscapes in the north. The winter has a whole chapter to it!
The reindeer is an icon for Finnish Lapland. The animal grazes freely throughout northern Finland and it’s commonly spotted to the delight of the travellers. Reindeer herding is a traditional profession in the north that’s still going strong. Tourism operators who organise sleigh rides and other activities also work a lot with the reindeers. Not to mention Santa Claus! Different operators offer easy access to film with reindeer.
Even big cities in Finland are not too big. In major cities like Helsinki, Tampere and Turku everything one might need for filming is easy to reach. The cities offer a variation of urban surroundings for film sets. Urban Finland has everything from modern Scandinavian architecture to Nordic noir film atmospheres to historical sites.
Finland’s coast boasts the world’s largest - and some say most beautiful - archipelago. With charming old wooden towns, lighthouses, historical manors, stone churches, and large national parks stretching over land and sea - this is truly one of the most spectacular natural environments you can find in the Arctic region. A popular travel destination for Finns, the region is often overlooked by outsiders even though it’s extremely accessible. The nearby mainland city of Turku, which served as Finland’s capital in medieval times, still remains a cultural hub and is not to be missed when spending time in the region.