High time for a new filmpolicy

23-03 2010


It is high time for a new filmpolicy

 Swedish filmproduction. The new filmpolicy we suggest should create a completely new and dynamic interplay  between the artistic and commercial sectors on the filmscene, without added costs to the state, is what Anna Carlson, Rolf Björlind and Hakan Bjerking write.

 Films are an integral part of our culture. Both the coalition and the opposition have declared that culture should be a matter of election. We are therefore going to suggest a plan of action for a forward looking filmpolicy, that contains both vision and an embracing viewpoint. A policy that secures the production of both the commercial films and the artistic meaningful films.

 All three of us are in agreement with the producer Mats Svegfors on a crucial point. The present filmcontracts have reached their limit. It has created an underbalanced filmsector and isolated the film from the debate on culture and mediapolicy. The filmpolicy has been reduced to an affair between distributors and cinemaowners. Old structures and interests have been allowed to dominate. The cinemas´ unprecedented situation of monopoly has forced independent producers and copyrightholders to accept unhealthy commercial values that has restricted and undermined the Swedish cinema development og competitiveness.

Films must take priority

 We believe that the film must become a priority part of the Culture and Media Policy. Filmmaking must be given a wider economic space in the cultural budget for that artistic development and renewal. We need to get a better position to show and spread the film across the country. We need to get decent work for all professional working film makers. Only so can we live up to what is the film's unique opportunity: that through their stories of our time become a substantial part of our heritage.

 We propose that the state takes primary responsibility so that artistically valuable film can be produced and distributed in a non-commercial way. This can be made possible by defining the entire current state film support as cultural and not business grants, and is only aimed at artistically valuable film. The support would be managed and distributed by the Swedish Film Institute, with the help of consultants and advisory assessors. These would be complemented by a new fund directed by five artistically active filmpersons.

 We suggest that the production of commercially valued entertainment film be financed by a new filmlaw, which generates money for a special industry fund. This fund would be directed by five leading persons from the distribution and cinemaowners´ field, which decides for a preliminary support according to  commercial values. According to this new law anyone who sells, rents and / or shows films would be required to pay a certain percentage of sales to a film capital fund. Half of this capital would be distributed by the new industry fund, thereby financing the commercial entertainment film on commercial terms. The second half would be added to the Swedish Film Institute as a contribution for the pre-support of artistically valuable film.

We propose that pre- support paid to artistically valuable film would credit the film's copyrightholders for their part in the production. This includes directors and film producers, who count 1 / 3 each. The measure would establish a healthy balance between those who create films and those who distribute and show films. We assume that it also can create a vigorous production climate and decent worksituation for all those working with film, and increase interest in investing new capital in the Swedish film in total.

We propose the creation of a digital nationwide repertory cinema chain showing of Swedish films - Sweden Cinema. The aim is to give Swedish film the possibilty to be shown all over the country without being driven out of competition by foreign entertainment films. Principal for Sweden cinema will be the Swedish Film Institute in collaboration with the country's municipalities. The goal is that the chain should be self-sufficient, but not profitbased. It will not compete with ordinary film distribution, but supplement it.

We propose that every film that receives pre-support from the SFI is guaranteed a cinema distribution, either through a combination of traditional commercial cinema distribution and the Sweden Cinema, or only through the latter. The management of this proposal, would be drawn up in consultation between the SFI, producers, distributors and cinema owners.

High time to change

The above action plan for a new film policy should without being a troublesome burden for the State, create a totally new and dynamic interplay between artistic and commercial forces in the film industry. We believe it is high time for this.

Anna Carlson

Chairman of The Swedish  Theatre Union

Rolf Börjlind

Chairman of The Swedish Dramatists Guild

Håkan Bjerking

Chairman of the Swedish Filmdirectors Guild