This film tells the rise and fall of Nokia and the Finnish mobile phone industry from grassroots, the point of view of the basic engineers and experienced by those who made the miracle happen and then faced the destruction. Many ended unemployed, some moved to new areas of work, and few found a new innovative entrepreneur in themselves. Today, something new may be smouldering in the ruins of Nokia.
A film by Arto Koskinen
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Once upon a time there was a large Finnish company that manufactured the world’s best and most innovative mobile phones. The company was called Nokia. Nokia’s annual budget was larger than that of the Government of Finland. People who got a job in that company rose to an undefined higher caste in which abundance was guaranteed till the end of their life. They were often envied for this reason. Luckily other Finns were also able to enjoy the Nokia name. Even an Egyptian market vendor would call Finnish tourists ”Mr or Mrs Nokia” upon hearing from where they came.
Mobile phones changed the world. They have saved lives, helped deliver babies and conveyed messages of joy and sadness. Landlines and telephone booths disappeared. The time, when everybody had the opportunity to be reachable at any time, began. The world shrunk to the size of a block.
Along with success, the Finnish company’s ego began to swell. At one time, Nokia’s CEO wanted Finland’s whole school system to be revamped so it would produce more innovative Nokia employees. Whenever Nokia wanted something, the small northern country bowed.
The saddest part was that the phones that used to be such good quality began to deteriorate. The phones’ operating systems were confusing, and new models were churned out annually by the dozen. Quality beat quantity. A series of wrong choices taking place within Nokia slowly but surely dropped it from the market leadership.
In September 2013, the Finnish portion of the mobile phone story came to an end: Nokia announced the sale of its mobile phone operations to Microsoft. This caused country-wide mourning but maybe also relief. Some people thought the country and its citizens were released from the company’s false power.
THE STORY OF A MOBILE PHONE portrays the rise and fall of Nokia and the Finnish mobile phone industry from grassroots, from the aspect of the basic engineers, experienced by those, who made the miracle and faced the destruction. Many ended unemployed, some moved to new areas of work, but few found a new innovative entrepreneur in themselves. Something new may be smouldering in the ruins of Nokia.
The persons in the movie were either at the centre of the innovations or otherwise witnessed the birth of the new phenomena. The small town of Salo in southern Finland could be considered one of the main characters. During the golden years of Nokia and Benefon, Salo was one of the fastest-growing and wealthiest small towns in Finland. Now the streets, hotels and restaurants are quiet.
The film tells the grand story from a human aspect using a multitude of audio-visual means. We look at the characters’ life today and we hear their stories in interviews. In addition we show interesting archive material from both Nokia’s as well as the characters’ own archives, not forgetting the social media and advertising.
© 2017, Licensed by First Hand Films