“AVEK and the support of audiovisual culture in Finland” by Juha Samola

  • ©, Juha Samola, AVEK and the support of audiovisual culture in Finland


    AVEK and the support of audiovisual culture in Finland

Artist(s) and People Involved:


Artist Statement:

    The Promotion Center for Audiovisual Culture AVEK was founded in 1987. Its duty is to promote Finnish film, TV and video production and culture by redistributing the copyright income (the so-called blank tape levy) to artists’ audiovisual productions.

    The support program of AVEK is divided into three sections:
    – to subsidize audiovisual production and distribution;
    – to support the advanced studies of professionals working in the fields of film, TV, video and media art; and
    – to support the audiovisual culture in general: to fund research, publications,
    festivals and other activities.

    The major part of the annually allotted support, about 80%, has been directed to production and distribution. The sections of education and audiovisual culture have received about 10% each. During the season1993/94 the total amount of the upport was FIM 14 million.

    AVEK has a personnel of four with one part-time presenter of applications. AVEK works and is located in conjunction with the copyright organisation Kopiosto.

    Production support
    The founding of AVEK made the regular support of Finnish experimental production possible. Right from the start a strong emphasis was put on promoting those productions that have been left outside of the traditional art supporting institutions: short films, documentaries, media art and other experimental productions. Full length feature films aimed for theatrical distribution and music videos do not thus qualify for AVEK support.

    With its production support directed to independent production companies AVEK aims to strenghten the production structure outside the TV companies. Along with independent Finnish companies, also international co-productions are being supported by AVEK.

    The support can be allotted at different phases of production, starting from the preliminary research and script writing. At these stages the support is granted by a production councellor. Applications for production support are considered by the production councellor and a group of four specialists; the final decision must be confirmed by the board of AVEK. The support can also be granted afterwards both as a support for screening and for distribution. The support has to be specially applied for and it is granted after selection. It can be either direct support without obligation to pay it back, or loan without interest.

    Support for the media arts
    The support for media art is presented in AVEK by a special presenter,who works together with a group of three experts. The support is quite small in amount, approximately FIM 1 million. According to Tarja Koskinen, the executive director of AVEK, it is nevertheless of great importance: “The prospects for the future are altogether bright. There are, even internationally speaking, a few outstanding video artists in Finland, who’s working conditions seem quite good. Yet the support offered by AVEK is not enough; for instance the Finnish Broadcasting Company could take a much more decisive role in financing media art.”

    Instead of video art only, Koskinen wants to broaden the discussion to include other forms of media art. “The quite narrow field of video art is expanding rapidly. Artistically ambitious works that apply CDROM technology are already under way, and the possibilities offered by this technology seem limitless. At the moment artists in this field need to have international contacts with their colleagues. The International Symposium of Electronic Arts in Helsinki 1994 offers an excellent opportunity for this. In addition, the increasing number of co-productions in the the field of media art offer possibilities to reinforce the resources of a small country.”

    Audiovisual support and the media arts
    AVEK promotes media art not only by supporting production. Artists can also apply for personal grants for education and for attending to festivals. In the case of research and publications grants, the emphasis lies both on studies on the production structure and on new communication technologies and their impact on the whole field of art. In collaboration with other organisations, e.g. universities, AVEK also arranges further education for professional film, TV and video makers.

    One of the audiovisual festivals promoted by AVEK festivals is the MuuMediaFestival, the only annually organised international media art festival in Finland. Having started as a video festival, MMF has broadened its focus to encompass the whole field of the electronic arts, including itself this year in ISEA’94.

Other Information:

    AVEK – The Promotion Center for Audiovisual
    Culture in Finland
    Hietaniemenkatu 2
    FIN-00100 Helsinki
    +358-0-446 411, fax 446 414


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