Rabbit Films named recipient of Hulda – Finnish Audiovisual Export Award
This year’s Hulda – Finnish Audiovisual Export Award has been presented to production company Rabbit Films, in recognition of the company’s impressive journey onto the international market. Ultimate Expedition, produced by Rabbit Films, marks the first ever television series produced by a Finnish production company for the US market.
Over the last few years, Rabbit Films has made concerted efforts in both domestic product development as well as international format sales, while also making considerable investments aimed at breaking the US market. The stakes have been answered and Ultimate Expedition, based on the company’s own format, was launched on paid streaming subscription service YouTube Red this past January. The show’s premiere episode has already gathered seven million views and stands as the first show ever produced by a Finnish production company solely for the US market. The show, hosted by Jukka Hildén and staring popular YouTubers, also happens to be Google’s highest-budget non-scripted show to date.
The award was presented on March 23rd at the Jussi Awards – Finland’s highest film honor – to Rabbit Films CEO Olli Suominen as well as Chairman of the Board Jarno Laasala and Head of Rabbit USA Jukka Hildén, the gentlemen under whose leadership the company embarked on constructing a significant US presence in 2015. The award was presented by Finnish Member of Parliament Jaana Pelkonen. In just a few short years, Rabbit Films has grown to become one of Finland’s largest production companies, with a current employee roster of 60 in Finland and 10 in the US. The jury especially praised Rabbit Films’ role as a trailblazer in the US, effectively opening the door for other Finnish content makers to follow in their footsteps.
“Rabbit Films’ journey into the US market is a reflection of the company’s determination and ambition, which is integral to a Finnish production company succeeding on the international market”, noted head of the award jury Kopiosto CEO Valtteri Niiranen.
“Hulda – Finnish Audiovisual Export Award was now presented for the sixth time. It’s been such a pleasure to see how the list of serious contenders has grown each year. This year’s nominees once again included international success stories and projects that represented numerous different genres”, Niiranen went on to say.
“A few years ago we embarked on this journey to build our Rabbit Films US office with our own brand of Northern craziness, aiming to spread our message of positive anarchy across the globe. Thanks to our amazing team and the entire company’s incredible united spirit, all the hard work has finally started to pay off”, commented Head of Rabbit USA and official Dudeson Jukka Hildén. “Ultimate Expedition was an unbelievable experience both professionally and personally.”
In addition to Hulda – Finnish Audiovisual Export Award, the jury also wished to give an honorable mention to two internationally successful professional pairings. Anttu Harlin and Joonas Utti’s creation Gigglebug has captured the hearts of viewers around the world, including Disney, for whom Harlin and Utti’s company Gigglebug Entertainment developed a new TV series based on the 101 Dalmatians classic.
The other honorable mention went to It’s Alive Films’ Teemu Nikki and Jani Pösö for their original youth content series Mental, which has been sold to several European territories. The first remake of the series premieres in Germany later this year.
In its sixth year, this marked the first time the Hulda – Finnish Audiovisual Export Award was presented by the audiovisual sector’s new content creator advocacy and copyright association Audiovisual Producers Finland – APFI. Each year the prize is awarded to a Finnish audiovisual production, professional, company or team which has demonstrated innovative spirit and made a clear international breakthrough, thus inspiring others in the field with their success.
The Hulda derives its name from the 1937 film Juurakon Hulda, based on the Hella Wuolijoki play of the same name. The film’s Hollywood version entitled The Farmer’s Daughter premiered in 1947 and its star Loretta Young won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
For more information about Hulda – Finnish Audiovisual Export Award and how it is awarded:
Olli Nurminen, Project Manager
Audiovisual Producers Finland – APFI
+358 40 146 8210
For more information about Audiovisual Producers Finland – APFI
Mika Toivainen, Chairman of the Board
+358 40 753 4320
Images from the Ultimate Expedition production