International co-production and collaborative agreements, the case of the Finnish film industry

Pia Naarajärvi

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


An often-used global model of international business (IB) cooperation in the film industry is ‘international film co-production’, consisting of two or more production companies from at least two different countries jointly producing a film. Based on their characteristics, international film co-productions can strongly be considered as international alliances between production companies, mainly coordinated and regulated by collaborative agreements called ‘co-production agreements’. Accordingly, international film co-productions are not only interesting from the IB perspective, but also from the legal perspective, since there are both business and legal challenges relating to such IB cooperation. Regardless of the relevant topic, there is still little knowledge about the use of collaborative agreements in international alliances obtained through multidisciplinary study combining business and legal studies, and more specifically on how one specific international alliance is structured, based on, and managed by an alliance contract, which contractual provisions are included in the contract, and how the design of such contract could be approached and further applied to the film industry. The purpose and objective of this study is to contribute to the understanding of international alliances based on and regulated by alliance contracts, including various business and legal issues to be agreed upon between the alliance partners and influenced by the international legal environment, in the context of the Finnish film industry as the case, international film co-production as the international alliance, and coproduction agreement as the alliance contract. This doctoral thesis explores the research topic through the case of the Finnish film industry by examining international film co-productions as alliances, the use and design of coproduction agreements as a basis for such international film co-production alliances, and the relevant and applicable legal regulation having influence on such alliances and co-production agreements. Moreover, this study follows a qualitative single-case study design, the primary empirical source of data consisting of ten interviews carried out in Finland in which Finnish film producers were the interviewees. As contributions, this multidisciplinary study enables the exploration of the research area from an extensive perspective, thereby contributing to the research on alliance contracting and the film industry. Based on the literature review and the legal structure, a conceptual framework is proposed for understanding international film co-production alliances based on co-production agreements and influenced by the different legal regulation. Furthermore, based on the empirical findings of this study, a process model is also proposed in order to identify different phases of the design of a co-production agreement from business and legal perspectives, one to be applied to international film co-productions in general, and the other to be applied to the Finnish film industry.
Translated title of the contributionInternational co-production and collaborative agreements, the case of the Finnish film industry
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Seristö, Hannu, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-4047-9
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-4048-6
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • kulttuurijohtaminen
  • elokuvat
  • sisältötuotanto
  • yhteistyö
  • kansainvälinen
  • sopimusoikeus
  • arts management
  • film industry
  • content industry
  • cooperation
  • international
  • contract law

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