Ulla Simonen has previously worked as the artistic director of the DocPoint festival and as a tutor in various international education programmes, such as Berlinale Talents and Dok.Incubator. Before AVEK, Simonen was a producer at MADE Oy. Simonen is already familiar with AVEK, as she worked as a production consultant at AVEK in 2004–2008.
‘AVEK is an important operator and promoter of the audiovisual industry – a great package successfully directed by Juha Samola throughout almost its entire existence. Becoming the guardian of such a legacy is particularly meaningful for me,’ says Simonen. ‘It is great to be helping AVEK move forward in a changing world. I am glad to come back to AVEK to work together with familiar people to promote the audiovisual industry.’
‘We are pleased to have the multi-talented audiovisual industry expert Ulla Simonen as the director of AVEK. Her know-how, vision and extensive networks are excellent for AVEK’s promotional activities,’ says Valtteri Niiranen, CEO of Kopiosto. ‘I also want to thank Simonen’s predecessor Juha Samola for his extensive work as the first and only general secretary in AVEK’s 30-plus-year history.’
Samola, who has worked as AVEK’s general secretary since 1989 will retire on 28 February 2019. ‘My work in the promotion of audiovisual culture has been very rewarding. The audiovisual industry is clearly going through a transition; digital technology has already changed practices in the industry, and will keep on changing them. The industry is also becoming increasingly international. Ulla Simonen offers the kind of expertise required for this development. With Ulla’s leadership, AVEK has all the qualifications to continue and develop as a promoter of the Finnish audiovisual industry and also as an international operator,’ Samola says