The goal of the Kehittämö – Talent Development Lab programme is to amplify the artistic voices of the most talented filmmakers and media artists of their generation and to help create new and outstanding audiovisual works. The programme is made possible by financial support from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, adding almost a million euros to the Finnish audiovisual funding sector in the course of the next four years.
The Kehittämö Call for Proposals is open to filmmakers or media artists with either a recently completed education or otherwise sufficient merits in the audiovisual sector, who have a proposal for their first professionally produced feature-length fictional or documentary film, media artwork or other audiovisual project.
In the programme, participants receive not only financial support but also mentoring from top international experts in the field. Confirmed mentors in the programme include script editor Karol Griffiths, who has worked with such directors as the Coen Brothers and Steven Spielberg; Gitte Hansen, an expert in international financing forums and distribution for documentary films; and Alex Szalat, producer and founder of the Docs Up fund. With international mentoring, the artists selected for the programme can extend their networks outside of Finland and bring international awareness to their works.
”I believe that through this programme we can boost the originality and vitality of the whole audiovisual sector in Finland. It is extremely beneficial for us to get a partner like the Finnish Cultural Foundation, so that we can implement this programme in a truly diverse and comprehensive manner,” enthuses Ulla Simonen, the Director of AVEK.
This programme launched by AVEK and The Finnish Cultural Foundation is one of its kind in Finland. Unlike in other Nordic countries and elsewhere in Europe, there has not previously been an audiovisual development programme focused on talents still in the early stages of their careers. Thriving Finnish filmmakers and media artists have instead received boosts to their careers in similar programmes outside of Finland.
”With the Kehittämö programme, we can bring high quality fiction and documentary films, media artworks and other audiovisual works to the culture-loving audience. AVEK has excellent understanding and wide networks in the audiovisual sector and working with them will bring high added value to the Cultural Foundation’s work,” says Juhana Lassila, the Director of Cultural Affairs at the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Development, International Sparring and Networking
Through regular financial support and mentoring, Kehittämö – Talent Development Lab wants to offer promising audiovisual artists the chance to work in peace: to focus on finding their own artistic voice and developing their artworks.
”The amount of audiovisual culture content offered to the public is exceptionally high at the moment, and only truly original works have any real chances of success. Right after graduating, young filmmakers and media artists are faced with a lot of competitive pressures, and the development of their own artistic idiom might prove challenging,” says Ulla Simonen about the premise for the Kehittämö programme.
The application process starts with a call for proposals. The authors of the selected project proposals will be matched with a production company to develop their project with. The aim is to develop the project far enough for it to then receive production financing from the usual funding bodies.
A bespoke development plan will be tailored for each project, and a designated mentor will follow the development of the project from the very beginning. In addition to personal mentors, the programme includes mentors on fields beneficial to all the projects, such as distribution and marketing. The expertise of these mentors will also be offered more widely to benefit the entire Finnish audiovisual field through open lectures or masterclasses.
Meetings between the selected working groups will also play an important role in the development programme as platforms of co-working, sparring and networking. Results of the programme will be presented annually at the Finnish Film Affair, the international industry event in Helsinki.
Five filmmakers or media artists with their project proposals will be selected for the Kehittämö programme. A development plan will be tailored for each project together with the selected artist, a production company and a mentor designated for the project.
The application is a two-stage process. In the first stage, the author will apply for the programme as a private individual with their proposal for an audiovisual project. From these applicants, ten will be selected and granted a sum of 3 000 euros to enable the completion of the second application stage.
The application period opens on 22 September and closes on 21 November 2022 at 4.00 p.m. The selections of the first application stage will be announced in January 2023.
Information session is organised online 12 October at 10 a.m. Register for the session by October 10.