Moving pictures were first seen at a screening of the Lumière Cinématographe in Helsinki on 28 June 1896, and the earliest Finnish-made film is thought to be Salaviinanpolttajat/The Bootleggers (1907), about the problem of alcoholism. In 1919 the Suomi Filmi studio came into existence, co-founded by pioneering director Erkki Karu who, with Eero Leväluoma, made the classic Finlandia (1922), a full-length documentary that was screened in some 40 countries. Until its closure as a production company in 1980, Suomi Filmi produced around 160 feature films and for most of its history was, with Suomen Filmiteollisuus (also founded by Karu in 1934), one of the most prominent film companies in the country. Finland’s first sound feature, a musical called Sano se suomeksi/Say It in Finnish (Yrjö Nyberg, 1931), was made at the Turku-based Lahyn-Filmi studio; but Suomi-Filmi quickly followed suit with Tukkipojan morsian/The Lumberjack’s Bride (Erkki Karu, 1931). Classics of Finland’s later studio era include Kulkurin Valssi/The Vagabond’s Valse (T.J. Särkä, 1941) and a series of films in the Niskavuori family saga. The value of establishing a national film archive was recognized as early as the 1920s, and in the late 1930s a government committee of inquiry proposed that a suitable storage space be created. The National Audiovisual Archive (KAVI), as it is now known, is part of the Ministry of Education and Culture, its remit the rescue and preservation of Finland’s audiovisual heritage. ...
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