Studied Russian, Czech and Spanish at the Universities of Helsinki, Leningrad, Olomouc and Prague. He started his career as a journalist in TASS-Helsinki bureau 1966, but left the job exactly two years later as a protest to the Soviet occupation of CSSR. During almost four years he didn’t get a visa to the USSR .
He worked for Finnish Broadcasting Company YLEISRADIO since 1968. From 1977 he was a Moscow-based foreign correspondent until 1987 when he became a full-time documentary filmmaker. The years 1991-95 he was a commissioning editor for Yleisradio`s Eastern Project.
He has written and translated a large number of articles for Finnish media and translated e.g. the Slovak novel by Ladislav Mnacko " The Seventh Night".
In October 2002 he published together with Teuvo Alava and Dmitry Frolov a book “Ruki verh – Finnish POWs in USSR 1939-1944”, 513 pages, including a full database of more than 4000 POWs.
In February 2003 he published on the internet www.yle.fi/tv1/sotavangit (in Finnish), another detailed database of over 1000 Finnish POWs, killed in Soviet camps.
He is married and has three children and two grandchildren.
He retired from Yleisradio in December 2001.
Reijo Nikkilä has produced foreign reports and documentary films on various countries and subjects incl.:
Latin America In Revolt 1969, together with Timo Hämäläinen
The Other Spain 1972, together with Jyrki Lappi-Seppälä
A Soviet Journey 1972
CSSR - Now 1973
Chile Will Win 1974
Spain After Franco 1975
Portugal, The April Revolution 1975
What Did UKK See In The USSR 1977
Victory Day 1979
Afghanistan. January 1980
Eastern In Zagorsk 1981
First Of May 1981, together with Ria Karhila
Paris In Moscow 1981
Andropov Time 1983, together with Yrjö Länsipuro
Andropov Time Is Ending ? 1983, together with Yrjö Länsipuro
Afghanistan - Now 1985
Religious Russia 1: A Thousand Years Of The Orthodox Church 1985
Religious Russia 2: Convents And Monasteries In The USSR 1985
Afghanistan National Reconciliation? 1987
The Happening In Moscow Manege 1987
Moscow Opens Up 1987
Alexander Gelman 1988
In Stalin’s Arms 1989
Gorbachev´s Early Years 1989
The Winter War - Two Poets, Yrjö Jylhä And Jevgenyi Dolmatovsky 1989
The Bloody Enemies 1989 – The Winter War, 50 Years Later,
together with Seppo Seppälä
Shalom Slavs 1990
Lieko Z. From Prague 1990
Zhdanov- Stalin’s Protégé 1990
The August Revolution 1991
In Beria´s Garage 1992
Memories From Mukkula. The Bridge Of Writers. 1993
I’m Proud To Be A Russian From Estonia 1998
Prague 21.8. 1968 1998
We Are Russia 1998
Matushka Julianija 1999
Moscow Party School 1999
Saturday 2000, together with Ari Lehikoinen and others
Damn Russkies - Soviet POWs In Finland 2000 www.yle.fi/dokumentti/ryssa/taustaa.htm (in Finnish), partly in Russian www.yle.fi/dokumentti/ryssa/djakov_1.htm , www.yle.fi/dokumentti/ryssa/esitesivu1.htm , www.yle.fi/dokumentti/ryssa/uusi_vuosi.htm , www.yle.fi/dokumentti/ryssa/nikolai/sivu1.htm
Finnish POWs In Soviet Camps 2000 www.yle.fi/tv1/sotavangit (in Finnish)
From Putsch To Putin 2001, together with Vesa Toijonen
Man On The Land 2004 (The Finnish part of 10 films to be shot in 10 Baltic Sea countries)
He has worked as a member of jury of different film festivals incl.:
St.Petersburg (Message to Man); Yekaterinburg; Ecological film festivals in Minsk and St.Petersburg;
Vyborg (Okno v Evropu); Munich ; Neubrandenburg; Valencia (Cinema Jove)
1996-2001 member of the selection committee of The Tampere Film Festival
2002 –2003 the curator of Russian documentaries for The Tampere Film Festival
His films have got several prizes incl. The State Prize in 1993 and 2001; The Bronze Prize in New York EXPO 1999; prizes in The Tampere Film Festival 1999 and 2001 www.tampere.fi/festival/film/99/ and www.tamperefilmfestival.fi/2001/eng/finvoit.shtml ; KOURA prize (founded in 1985 by YLE and MTV) in 2001 for the best Finnish non-fiction TV-programme; the annual prize of the Society of Investigative Journalists of Finland (in 2001);
The prize of Former Finnish POWs Association in 2001.