Norwegian pic biz seeks more funds

OSLO — Norwegian producers have asked the country’s new government to increase spending on film and TV production and to require state broadcaster NRK to commission 25% of its total production from the independent sector.

The government already spends some 200 million kroner ($30 million) a year on subsidies to film and TV production, not counting hefty subsid coin to NRK.

The Norwegian Film and TV Producers Assn., consisting of some 60 film and TV companies, has asked to increase that by 10%. “For a small country like Norway, it’s enough for us to make another one to two good movies a year,” Tom Eilertsen, managing director of the association, told Daily Variety.

Currently NRK commissions very little from the indie sector, Eilertsen charges, although it does do a fair amount of co-production, some of it involving Norwegian companies.

The producers association has also asked NRK to lift its 1% cap on sponsorship. “Most of the sponsorship under that cap is for sporting events. By the time that is aired, there’s little else left open for independent producers,” Eilertsen adds.

He says Norwegian producers could easily line up sponsorship for a number of different TV projects if the cap was lifted.

Norway’s new center-left government is being seen as more friendly to indies than the older, solidly leftist coalition that Norwegians voted out in elections several months ago.

Producers in this country have been especially hit hard by a programming deal between TV2 Norway and TvNorge, the latter a channel owned by Scandinavian Broadcasting Service. TvNorge used to commission nearly all of its programming from the indie sector but now works exclusively in tandem with TV2.

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