Frequently Asked Questions

About AV-arkki

What is AV-arkki and what do we do?

AV-arkki is the centre for Finnish media art.

AV-arkki is a registered non-profit association. AV-arkki’s Business ID is 0976060-4.

AV-arkki was founded 1989 within the Artists’ Association MUU as a project for archiving and distributing experimental audiovisual art. After a couple of years, AV-arkki separated from MUU. AV-arkki became a registered association in 1991.

AV-arkki is a unique promoter of media art, a data bank and a network builder both in Finland and internationally. AV-arkki is a notable expert organisation that Finnish and international clients turn to when they want to exhibit Finnish media art.

Media art has moved from the margins to the centre of Finnish contemporary art and visual culture. Finnish media art is currently the most important form of audiovisual and contemporary art in terms of international visibility. AV-arkki has contributed to its success significantly.

AV-arkki organises events and exhibitions with its partners where it showcases media art in various contexts and venues in Finland and internationally. Its distribution archive enables clients to revisit older works and it is of particular importance to researchers.

In addition to its distribution programme and archive, AV-arkki also supports its member artists by offering them the tools and advice they need to promote their own work.

AV-arkki represents its members’ interests and promotes media art and culture in general. It also publishes media art and media pedagogy materials.

AV-arkki’s purpose is defined in more detail in the rules of the association.

How does AV-arkki make decisions?

Director Hanna Maria Anttila is in charge of daily operations at AV-arkki’s offices.

AV-arkki’s Board is responsible for major operative guidelines. The Board meets 6–8 times a year to decide on important and current issues. The Board also decides on accepting new members into the association. The President of the Board can be reached at president(at)av-arkki.fi.

AV-arkki’s general meetings are held twice a year in spring and the fall.

Members will receive calls to the meetings via email.

Membership

How do you apply for an AV-arkki membership?

AV-arkki membership applications are submitted via an online form.

The form may be submitted at any time. The Board processes the applications twice a year, in
June and December.

Who can apply for an AV-arkki membership?

AV-arkki is the Centre for Finnish Media Art. Our funding is sourced from Finland. Therefore, full membership is available for professional artists who are permanent residents in Finland and/or Finnish citizens. Finnish companies, associations and cooperatives that produce media art may also apply for a membership.

For information on becoming a supporting member, please contact the Director.

How much is the AV-arkki membership fee?

The membership fee is decided annually during the association’s spring meeting.

In 2020, AV-arkki’s membership fee was €60 for individual members and €100 for production companies or cooperatives.

Artists who are over 65 years old are exempt from the association’s membership fee. Members must inform the Director when they reach the age limit. AV-arkki does not monitor its members’ birthdays.

What are the benefits of an AV-arkki membership?

The benefits and services available to AV-arkki’s members are listed on the Services for Members page.

AV-arkki’s archive

What rights does AV-arkki retain?

AV-arkki signs an agreement with each individual artist.

The agreement defines through what types of distribution channels AV-arkki has the right to promote each individual title. Possible distribution channels include festivals, television, educational use, various online platforms and museum exhibitions.

Sometimes the artist may want to limit the distribution of an individual title. In this case, the limitations are recorded in the distribution agreement and AV-arkki distributes the work accordingly.

AV-arkki’s staff will check the distribution rights of the title with every order before an exhibition is arranged. AV-arkki’s distribution agreement is not exclusive. In other words, the artist may continue to distribute his or her own work as well.

AV-arkki is happy to cooperate with the artist’s gallerist and other associates.

How are titles selected for the archives?

AV-arkki’s member artists may offer their works for the archives twice a year: at the beginning of the year and in late summer.

About 100–150 new titles are admitted into the archive every year.

The selections are made by an archive committee appointed by the Board.

How does AV-arkki manage the online archive?

The staff manages AV-arkki’s online services. AV-arkki uses a database through which the titles are published in AV-arkki’s online services.

How can I change the information of my work on AV-arkki’s website?

Please contact AV-arkki’s staff and let them know what changes you would like to make.

When will information about my work be published on AV-arkki’s website?

Information about new titles is published on AV-arkki’s website after

  • the archive committee has admitted the work into the archives
  • the artist has delivered all necessary information, materials and a signed distribution contract to AV-arkki.

Necessary information for the online service and AV-arkki’s archive include

  • a master file with English subtitles
  • a master file without subtitles
  • an SRT text file in English and in the original language; for Finnish works, Finnish subtitles are required for accessibility; we aim to publish works with CC subtitles in the original language and in English.

In addition, we need the artist’s picture and a short biography. Most of the above information is submitted to AV-arkki if the artist fills in the information and distribution agreement forms with care.

See Distribution for further information.

What is long-term archiving?

AV-arkki works in cooperation with Finnish organisations that maintain archives of audiovisual materials. We conserve titles distributed by AV-arkki in long-term archives and for research purposes.

Our main partner in long-term archiving is the National Audiovisual Institute.

Long-term archiving ensures that the works will remain part of the Finnish audiovisual legacy for future generations.

Cooperation with Finnish archiving organisations ensures that the responsibility of archiving the works is shared and not the sole responsibility of AV-arkki and its resources.

What platforms and online services does AV-arkki use?

AV-arkki uses the Wordpress-based sites av-arkki.fi and meadiataidekasvattaa.fi.

In addition, AV-arkki saves its data on the following platforms and services:

  • Vimeo
  • YouTube
  • dropbox
  • G-Suite
  • Gruppo Titles 
  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Festhome
  • FilmFreeway
  • FilmFestivalLife
  • shortfilmdepot

Furthermore, AV-arkki may upload information and files to online services and databases used by festivals and other events.

Submitting titles for the archive

How do I submit a title for AV-arkki’s archive?

AV-arkki admits new titles into the archive twice a year. We will inform our member artists via newsletter every time admissions begin.

Usually admissions begin in January and June, but changes to the schedule are possible.

The archive may admit both new and older titles, and admit more than one at a time. The works can be single or multichannel, film or video works or moving image installations, VR or AR works, online works, performances or other live works with media art elements. During the admission process, we require a preview link, a synopsis, the duration of the work, information about the publication date and information about the music and other copyrights.

On what basis are titles selected for AV-arkki’s archives?

AV-arkki has limited resources, which is why we have to limit the number of titles we admit into the archives.

The titles are qualified by their threshold of originality and their suitability for AV-arkki’s archive as a whole. Copyright issues related to the title must also be in order. Unfinished works are not admitted into the archives. An open admission may, however, accept a working copy with unfinished postproduction as preview material. The preview materials must provide an idea of the work as a whole.

We do not admit titles that have been, for example, used as background material for other works or used in advertising.

Who decides which titles are admitted into the AV-arkki archives?

The admitted titles are selected by an archive committee appointed by the Board. The committee includes a member of the AV-arkki staff (e.g. the Director), a member artist in AV-arkki’s Board and a member artist who is not part of AV-arkki’s Board.

When does AV-arkki charge an archiving fee?

The first title selected to the archive that year is not subject to an archiving fee.

Admitting several titles into the archive and editing the title’s information or its files are subject to the archiving fee.

AV-arkki’s distribution

Why is the work of some artists exhibited more than that of others?

AV-arkki delivers titles to be exhibited according to the wishes of its clients.

Occasionally, a given title is very timely and several events will order the title from AV-arkki and include it in their programme. International visibility, an award at an important festival and other types of exposure aid the distribution of an individual title and add to its interest considerably.

At other times, an older title may become current due to, say, social change of some kind. This is why we encourage artists to submit also older titles for AV-arkki’s archives.

How does AV-arkki know where it should promote titles?

Based on distribution data from previous years, we know where titles have been previously exhibited. AV-arkki uses an actively updated deadline calendar as a tool for festival distribution.

Festivals and events have different selection criteria that affect what works are promoted for them. Limiting factors may include genre (experimental, narrative, documentary, animation, music video, etc.), duration, year of publication, premiere status (has the film had an international or regional premiere) or certain themes (human rights, equality, environmental issues, etc.)

AV-arkki’s festival distribution focuses mainly on events that do not charge a submission fee.

How does AV-arkki promote access to installations and interactive or live works?

AV-arkki’s online service and social media are essential tools for distribution.

We promote other than single-channel works in our communications and by recommending and directing curators to artist and title specific pages on AV-arkki’s online service. AV-arkki also routinely rents out installations to museums, events and other art spaces. In the Meet the Artist series on our online service we highlight artists who work with multifaceted art.

When does AV-arkki charge screening fee?

An artist has to be compensated when their art is performed.

AV-arkki collects screening fees in exchange for screening and installation rights. The artist receives 60% of the screening fee as royalties.

Competition series of film festivals do not normally pay screening fees. We always negotiate a screening fee for work screened outside of competition series.

How and when will the artist receive their share of screening fees invoiced by AV-arkki?

Royalties accumulated during the previous years are paid to the artists annually the following spring.

The royalties are paid to the artist when their accumulated worth exceeds €50.

Who selects the works exhibited in various events?

The programmers of film and media art festivals make the programme selections based on the previews submitted by AV-arkki and other distributors. AV-arkki has no direct influence on whether or not a specific title will be selected into the programme of a specific film festival.

Sometimes our staff receives requests from festivals and curators for specific titles to be included into a thematic programme.

At other times our staff receives requests for suggestions related to a certain theme or topic. In these cases, our suggestions are influenced by the title’s content, the duration of the screening or exhibition and other possible criteria set by the event. The final selections are always made by the event organiser.

AV-arkki cooperates with several Finnish and international film festivals, and each cooperation is different.

What do I do if my work is selected for a programme of an event through AV-arkki’s distribution?

AV-arkki will always notify the director if their work will be exhibited. We also deliver the screening copy and promotional material, and take care of communications (AV-arkki’s website, social media, newsletters).

AV-arkki supports its member artist with technical and promotional support. However, artists are also expected to maintain new contacts themselves.

When AV-arkki informs you that your work has been selected through our distribution channels for the programme of a significant film festival, for example, you should definitely attend the festival yourself in order to network. Contact the festival and ask if they can contribute to your travel and accommodation – festivals often house artists in hotels for a few nights. Support for travel expenses should be immediately applied for from the Finnish Film Foundation and The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture AVEK. You can apply for travel and material support from the Finnish Film Foundation only if you have not received support for you work from AVEK. If you have not, you may apply for support for international promotion from AVEK. Support for travel expenses can be applied for from, for example, The Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike) and Frame.

At the venue, it pays to network actively and meet contacts who might be beneficial in promoting your next title. Distribute promotional material: a small postcard or printout that includes information about the title, an image, screening schedule, your contact information and links to your own and AV-arkki’s website.

Please mention AV-arkki in your promotional materials and communications (social media and you website) as the distributor of your work. We also hope that you also include a link to AV-arkki’s website (to your title’s page or a news item related to the event). This way, we create more visibility for AV-arkki’s important work and ensure that AV-arkki will continue to have the resources to distribute and promote media art by its member artists.

Direct preview and screening copy requests to AV-arkki.

It is also important to inform AV-arkki’s staff about important meetings, feedback and new contacts. This way, we can develop our operations and network.

Festival distribution

What is AV-arkki’s festival distribution catalogue and how are its works selected?

AV-arkki’s festival distribution catalogue showcases the latest additions to AV-arkki’s list of titles and acts as the backbone of distribution. Our goal is to have as many works as possible premiere at the competition series or programmes of significant festivals.

We facilitate the work of the curators who make the selections for events by supplying a broad range of professionally produced preview materials. In addition to event organisers who make festival selections, the catalogue is distributed to curators and other experts.

We also promote other works from the archive not included in the catalogue according to the event’s profile.

Your work is included in the festival distribution catalogue selection process if

  • your work was already selected into AV-arkki’s archives after the curating of the previous catalogue, or
  • you have offered the work for the archives as a part of a call for a separate festival distribution catalogue.

Works admitted into the archive in the spring, for example, do not have to be submitted again for the festival distribution call in June-July.

The selections are made by a visiting curator selected annually from outside AV-arkki together with AV-arkki’s staff. 10–15 works are selected.

Why are there limitations to the number of works in the festival distribution catalogue?

There are a lot of member artists and AV-arkki’s resources are limited.

A limited selection increases the possibility that an individual work is selected.

An international festival gets offered thousands of works every year. It makes sense for a distributor to submit a limited selection of works to an individual event that are selected according to the event’s profile.

What if my work is not selected for the festival distribution catalogue?

see: Independent distribution and promoting

Independent distribution and promoting

How can I do my own festival distribution?

AV-arkki’s website publishes a deadline calendar for members that shows submission deadlines for events involving experimental film, short films, documentaries and media art. This is also a useful tool for starting your own festival distribution. AV-arkki’s staff is happy to advise artists on independent festival distribution.

There are many websites where you can upload films, information and preview materials, and through which submitting the films to festivals is easy. The websites also list festivals, their profiles and deadlines. These platforms include Shortfilmdepot and FilmFreeway.

If you have personal contacts at festivals – due to earlier festivals cycles or something similar – you should consider approaching these contacts directly and send them a link to the new title. Sometimes the title is not selected despite a lot of hard work. Competition is tough and often the programme of the event is a result of a compromise.

Each title selected to AV-arkki’s archive is added to AV-arkki’s online archive which is used by many curators and programme coordinators. Our staff get frequent requests for curated exhibitions and suggestions related to a theme or topic. This means titles outside the festival catalogue are also likely to get selected for screenings, exhibitions and events. AV-arkki’s online service is a search engine for Finnish media art and generates direct contacts between artists and event organisers.

Should I submit works to festivals with a submission fee?

We recommend you proceed with caution.

A submission fee does not guarantee selection, and some of these festivals are unprofessional “predatory festivals” whose only purpose is to charge fees. On the other hand, submission fees can be a way to limit submissions. The fees often also cover the expenses of freelance festival programmers. That is, fees do not automatically mean the festival is dishonest.

If the festival is not familiar to you, we recommend you search for unbiased information about the festival online. Are there pictures of the festival venues and events? What other works have been previously screened at the festival? Is there evidence of the festival’s existence? That it is professionally organised? Is the festival so distinguished and relevant to the work that it is worth paying the submission fee?

How can I promote the distribution and visibility of my works myself?

Good promotional material is crucial.

Good promotional material (synopsis, artist biography, press picture, the work’s technical information, still images and other documentation, including the work in AV-arkki’s online archive, the artist’s personal website) helps the title’s distribution. Carefully edited, professionally translated and subtitled materials create a positive image of the title and the artist.

Make sure your Finnish and international networks are aware of your new work, preferably before it is completed and premiered. Publish still images and a trailer in your social media, send a preview link to those Finnish and international curators with whom you have been in contact. Invite them to exhibitions, festival screenings and other events where the work is displayed.

Remember to submit the work to AV-arkki’s archive and/or festival catalogue as soon as it is completed. The archiving committee processes the submissions only twice a year, but you can fill in the form well before the selection deadline.

Think about people and organisations who might be especially interested in your work and approach them. Which events would be interested in its themes or methods? There are many festivals related to the environment and human rights, as is the case with dance film festivals, but even mountaineering and sports films have their own specialised events.

What do I do if my work is selected into a programme through my own distribution?

If someone asks for a preview link of your work or the work is selected for an event due to your own distribution efforts, you may also notify AV-arkki: we can help with screening copy and promotional material file transfers, negotiate screening fees and assist in communications.

If you distribute the title entirely by yourself, notify AV-arkki of the upcoming event with an event notification form. We are happy to add good news from the festival and exhibition front to our communications.

Distribution terminology

Distribution and promotional strategy

A festival strategy is often necessary, especially for film and video works.

A festival strategy is a plan about which festivals would be desired premiere venues for a work that is about to be completed.

If expectations are high, you should aim at a premiere screening at large and important events, and then approach smaller events.

However, it is important to balance ambition with realism. It benefits distribution if the title is seen as early as possible after completion.

With installations, it is important to think about where the work could be exhibited after the original exhibition. Often a work can be made into separate installation and exhibition versions. These versions can have different years of publication, duration and form.

Remember to submit both the installation and exhibition version of your work to AV-arkki’s archives.

Promotional materials

Good promotional materials include

  • a synopsis
  • the artist’s biography
  • the artist’s press photo
  • the technical information of the title
  • credits
  • still images of the title and other possible documentation

If the work is, for example, a site-specific installation or a live work, it is useful to draft accurate documentation about how the work is experienced in the space and at the event.

Other events may require additional materials, such as

  • an additional exhibition text about the work
  • the artist’s resume
  • a press kit for festivals (see: Press kit)

Although marketing in the field has moved largely online and to social media, it may be useful to press flyers or postcards about the exhibition or screenings which contain compact notes about when and where the work can be viewed. The flyer or card is a useful tool for networking at the venue.

Press kit

A press kit is a downloadable folder that contains basic information about the work and the artist:

  • a synopsis in English
  • the artist’s biography and filmography in English
  • the artist’s press photo
  • the title’s technical information in English
  • credits in English
  • still images of the title and other possible documentation
  • information about the title’s distribution and press contacts (AV-arkki’s member artists can enter AV-arkki’s contact information)
  • information about the title should include a link to a downloadable video trailer

The text should be clear and proofread. Save the text files in commonly used file formats (PDF or RTF) to make it easy for the reader to copy the information.

The kit should include a few image files. Make sure that the sizes of the files remain manageable.

The press kit should be a .zip-file that can be shared via Dropbox or via your website to anyone looking for further information.

Trailer

The trailer includes selections from the work. The aim of the trailer is to advance the title’s distribution. Programmers can get an impression of the title’s topic, approach, style and mood from the trailer and be inspired to watch it in its entirety. The trailer is especially important if your title is a long one or longer than usual.

Festivals, museums and event organisers use trailers online and in social media as part of the new programme’s marketing materials.

The trailer should give the idea of what the work looks like and what it is about. Its duration should not be longer than a couple of minutes.

AV-arkki’s website publishes the trailer or a clip chosen by the artist that is publicly available to everyone who visits the site.

Synopsis

A synopsis is a brief description of the title. Its aim is to entice, first, the programmers and curators, second, the audience at the event or exhibition. A good synopsis is informative. The synopsis should indicate the topic of the title (or what it is about) and its style or mood.

The synopsis may also briefly mention the medium and method (e.g. stop motion animation, hand-developed 35mm film) – especially if this plays a major role in the title’s content or style. The synopsis is not supposed to be a cryptic riddle laced with academic art jargon. It does not need to reveal the content of the work in its entirety, but it should focus on the essentials.

Key words

AV-arkki collects descriptive key words for its online service with which festival programmers and curators can more easily find the titles in which they are interested. Key words should describe the topic, structure, contents and themes of the title. Using YSO is recommended: https://finto.fi/yso/en/.

Biography

The biography is a short professional bio. It includes basic information about the artist’s career and praxis in brief: in which schools has the artist studied, where does he or she work, how does he or she work (methods and themes). Major merits can be listed at the end of the biography: which collections include his or her work, where have they been exhibited. Brevity is a virtue here as well: long lists of dates, museums, galleries and festivals can be exhausting. It is best to aim at timelessness: information pertaining to e.g. exhibitions and projects age quickly.

Artist’s statement

Sometimes a festival’s or exhibition’s communications require an “Artist’s statement” or a few words from the artist. This can be an opportunity to supply background information or thoughts that do not fit in the synopsis. What first pushed the artist to create the work? What was the process like and was there something special about it? Does the artist wish to convey a message with the work and, if so, what is it? Is the work linked to a broader or even a surprising context that is not apparent from the work itself?

Screening copy

The screening copy is required for various occasions and contexts: festivals, galleries, events, online and promotional purposes. A screening copy optimised for the screening context enables a trouble-free and quality screening. Please remember to check the screening copies and their subtitling before delivering them to AV-arkki.

Festivals primarily ask for DCP copies, prores422 and/or h264 files. 

DCP is not always necessary. For festival screenings, the work should have beginning and end credits, English subtitles and an unsubtitled version with SRT subtitle files. In addition to the screening copy, a time-coded dialogue list is required.

A version without the beginning and end credits may be included for exhibition purposes.

We would be happy to receive the following screening copies and materials:

  • DCP 
  • Prores422 and/or h264 files with English subtitles
  • Prores422 and/or h264 without subtitles 
  • SRT subtitle file in English and the original language. For Finnish works, Finnish subtitles are important for accessibility. AV-arkki’s online service publishes works with closed captions in the original language and in English whenever possible
  • Dialogue list
  • Trailer or clip
Still images

Still images are required to market the title at AV-arkki’s website and communications, and at the events and exhibitions where the title is screened. The still images should be of high quality and resolution. The resolution should be at least 300dpi. There should be three to five different images and they should be selected with care: Do the images attract or entice an audience? Do the images accurately represent what the work is like and what it looks like?