Producers on the Move 2010 - Finland
by Annika Pham
Annika Sucksdorff studied film production in the US and entered the Finnish film industry in 2003. She has been working for Helsinki Filmi for the last four years. Her film credits include Tears of April [+see also:
film profile] and Forbidden Fruit [+see also:
Cineuropa: What do you find the most rewarding about producing?
Annika Sucksdorffs: What I enjoy the most is getting to use every inch of my person and capacity for doing it. I am a “story addict” and the fact that my work includes working with stories and storytellers is a professional dream come true. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I have to say that the thought of creating value on an economical level, through creating jobs and being part of the development of a business, is also a kick.
You’ve been actively developing international co-productions for Helsinki Filmi. What projects in particular were the most challenging? Do you have usual co-production partners?
The projects with the biggest number of co-producers are the most challenging, because of the amount of paper work involved. I would say three co-producers is the limit when it is still manageable and enjoyable. We have worked closely with Sweden’s Martin Persson (Anagram Productions), who took part in the EAVE programme with our CEO Aleksi Bardy in 2002; and Ireland’s Ripple World Pictures. Estonia’s Riina Sildos (Amrion Productions) is also an important partner for us.
What are the essential ingredients to good co-production?
Good chemistry between the co-producers, complete trust and the same taste in films.
What have you learned from your recent experiences as service producer on major foreign films, such as Joe Wright’s Hanna, starring Cate Blanchett?
A lot, actually, [especially] how to accommodate big stars’ needs. I’ve also learned how to stretch – there have been many situations where you would have had to accept "no" as an answer in a domestic production and go with plan B. But when the budget and machinery is bigger, you can go to amazing extents in order to stay with plan A.
I have also learned to appreciate the efficiency of our Finnish crew members more. It was very interesting to learn about the role of a producer on a US studio production, who acts as a link between studio executives, the director and the rest of the team. It requires a tremendous amount of communication skills and leadership.
There seems to be a lack of female producers and directors in Finland. Why do you think this is?
There isn't! I would say that in comparison to the other Nordic countries, there are as many female producers and directors. There has been more box office hits directed by male directors, which is perhaps why female directors haven't received as much attention lately. In my opinion, it's partly a question of subject matter. Commercial films including violence, sex and fast vehicles seem to attract male filmmakers more than female ones.
Recently, the Finnish Film Foundation has quite actively supported films by female directors, such as Run Sister Run! by Marja Pyykkö, Heartbeats by Saara Cantell and Last Cowboy Standing [+see also:
film profile] by Zaida Bergroth.
In TV, there is a plethora of female producers in Finland. In film, there are more male producers and that is the case in all of the Nordic countries to my understanding. I have tried to figure out the reason for this, and I think that one reason is that producing features involves bigger financial risks. In my experience and opinion, men are by nature more prone to take risks than women.
How do you feel about your selection as Finland’s Producer on the Move?
I am very honoured and have reacted in a very Nordic way through the so-called “Jantelagen”, which means that I in my head have been listing people who would deserve it more than me. But I am truly happy about this and will do my very best to make the most of it. I expect to meet interesting decision makers, brave European producers and hopefully even a few new and talented directors.
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