Boost follows success of 'Sugar Man,' 'Palme'

STOCKHOLM — Following a stellar year for Swedish documentaries, with titles like Malik Bendjelloul’s “Searching for Sugar Man” and Fredrik Gertten’s “Big Boys Gone Bananas!*” gaining international attention, the Swedish Film Institute has decided to more than double its support to docu producers.

Instead of $1.8 million, SFI will distribute $3 million this year to the underfunded genre. Another $1.5 million will be earmarked for feature docs that secure theatrical distribution, SFI CEO Anna Serner said on Swedish Television.

While “Searching for Sugar Man,” which celebrates forgotten singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, has been the biggest success internationally, crowned by its inclusion on the Oscar shortlist and a BAFTA nom, it was Kristina Lindstrom and Maud Nycander’s “Palme” that was the biggest hit locally, with 240,000 admissions in cinemas. When a longer, three-part version of the docu, which centers on the murdered Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, was broadcast on Swedish Television recently more than 1 million people followed each episode, a unprecedented number for a docu.

The docus’ success story was also reflected in noms for the Guldbagges, Sweden’s top film honors. “Palme” collected four noms and “Searching for Sugar Man” had six, including best film.

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