Local characters in Finnish TV and film are increasingly diverse in ethnic, disability and gender roles, according to industry insiders who took up the issue in Helsinki at the Finnish film affair on Friday, but still have a long way to go.
“We know it’s not just a Finnish challenge এটি it’s a global challenge,” said Kylie Cat-Wells, CEO and founder of C Talent and Zeta Studios, who also advised Virgin Media from UCLA on disability inclusion.
But precise examples of success have fallen by the wayside, panel speakers said, “Representation now!” 2.0 – Forwarding tools. “
Max Malka, the scripted producer and chief moderator of Endeml Shine Finland, cites frequent complaints from production companies about hiring more actors and struggling to find them: “We can’t find them – there’s nobody there.”
But even in a small, larger homogeneous country like Finland, there are ways, said Katri Axola, CEO of Helsinki Casting.
“The production really needs to invest more in pre-production, make it longer and use a professional casting director,” Axola said.
Many production companies prefer to do their own casting, he admits, but said that where there is diversity among actors, “I think a casting director is needed.”
Over time, the availability of different, trained actors will improve, he said, but acting schools need to start working on the problem.
“We need to invest in education,” Axola said. “We need to bring in more students who are in a variety of disciplines so that there is potential for acting courses.”
Asked for a recent instructive moment, Axola mentioned a casting job for a major Finnish project where the director was clearly not happy “Some men don’t seem to fit in with the advice. We just suggested, ‘What if there was a woman?’ And that’s exactly how we had a lesbian couple with kids. And it worked. “
Scouting creative talent can also yield rich results, Aksola said.
“During Pride Week this year we threw an open casting for people of gender diversity. We planned to have an open casting day and we finished three full days.
To find out about the casting, Pride organizers partnered with the company and shared its posts about talent search.
The resulting discoveries could soon be seen in Finnish films and TV shows, though, he added, “Obviously not everyone will be a great actor – but we’ve found a few with great talent.”
Describing the highest priorities for industrial change, Cat-Wells said, “I think it’s about creating safe spaces but also about creating rooms that can be incubators for functional change.”
Production companies also need to prioritize diversity and plan for it, he said. “It can be about creating a greater sense of urgency and developing vision and strategy, key principles.”
He added that studying real world numbers is an essential first step. “The information behind it is incredibly important. Having that data-driven mission is very important and I think it will help create short-term and long-term goals for that systematic change and growth while maintaining a culture of change.”
As for the challenges of progress, Cat-Wells said, “Too much change is ‘operational’. We see a lot of onscreen presentations but we forget about the representation behind the camera. I think long-term improvements will include implementing things like universal design Conditions এবং and it creates access, not just for one person, but for everyone.
He added that the process and workplace needs to be reconsidered, especially for actors with disabilities. “I think the long-term change really seems to be to change the hiring process, to change those physical locations, to make sure all sets and studios are accessible and disabled এবং and inclusive প্রতিটি aware of every decision.”
He agrees that creativity is also important in casting.
“There’s a lot of talent that doesn’t go through the usual channels.”
Listeners hear similar lessons in implementing change at all levels from the BBC’s creative diversity partner Iyer Igiehon, Magdalena Jungard, head of production and development at the Swedish Film Institute, senior box office analyst at Gov. Street Analytics, and Jasmine. Tau, director of public policy at Benelux and Nordic country for Netflix.
Meanwhile, emphasizing the need for solid data tracking, Metropolia University students presented new statistical research, providing insights on improving character diversity in Finnish films and TV from 2019 to 2020.
Studying 18 films and 23 TV series from last year, students noted that of the 498 characters, only 89 were ethnic minorities and only three were main characters, while six disabled characters appeared mainly as side characters.
And often, they said, minorities were part of the story because of their skin color, concluding that, although the situation is better than 2019, there is still room for improvement.
The session was organized in collaboration with the Finnish Audiovisual Producers Association (APFI), closing the tenth anniversary edition of the Finnish Film Affairs.