Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Finnish Chamber of Films 90 Years

The Finnish Chamber of Films (Suomen Filmikamari r.y.) is the central organization of Finnish film business associations. It was founded on 11 January, 1923, and until 1940 it was called Suomen Biografiliitto r.y. Members include The Finnish Film Exhibitors' Association (154 cinemas, 285 screens) and The Finnish Film Distributors' Association (23 members). It also houses the office of The Central Organization of Finnish Film Producers (49 companies). The President is Mr. Juha Mäkelä, the Vice-President Ms. Liisi Jauho, and the Chief Executive Officer is Mr. Tero Koistinen.

Filmikamari has had a central role in film politics. It launched the nationwide Finnish film (self-)censorship on its premises, and it has been instrumental in the founding of the Finnish Film Archive, the Finnish Film Foundation, the School Film Association, and Favex.

Today Filmikamari celebrates its 90th anniversary at the Astoria Hall, which from 1920 until 1987 served as a cinema known as Astoria, Empire, Astor, Takatie, and Takaportti. (In its last phase the cinema presented its regular evening repertoire as Astoria. Also known as The Back Door, it showed X-rated daytime fare with a special entrance.)

Industry awards were given to the film producers Timo Koivusalo and Markus Selin and to the cinema enterpreneurs Kimmo Lohman (Kauniainen, Vantaa) and Toivo Reijonen (Kirkkonummi), and to Merja Tolvanen, who has for a long time been responsible for accounting and statistics at Filmikamari.

There were many veterans present with experience dating back to the post-WWII years, a golden age of cinemas. There were cinema families with a continuity of three generations, some of them since over a hundred years. There were participants from all over the country.

The times have been difficult and turbulent for cinema owners since the late 1950s, and even more difficult since the 1980s, but the last years have been a turning-point to the better thanks to digitalization. This party is a celebration of the fighters and the survivors who believe that movies belong to the cinema, that nothing can surpass the engrossing audience experience of a good movie on a screen larger than the living-room wall.

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