Swedish gov’t throws coin into local pic biz

$12 mil set aside annually for film prod'n

STOCKHOLM — Theatrical attendance in Sweden is up 30% over last year, largely due to the success of local pics and the Swedish Film Institute is hoping to extend the success of those pictures.

Ase Kleveland, who took over Jan. 1 as managing director of the government-backed Swedish Film Institute, told Daily Variety: “The challenge is to continue this positive trend which reverses decades of declining attendance.”

And the government has obligingly chipped in by coughing up an extra SEK 100 million ($12 million) annually for Swedish film production and represents the largest commitment ever by the government to the film industry.

Kleveland’s appointment itself is a signal that more government assistance will be devoted to the sector. But the assistance will be more closely tied to the commercial viability of projects.

Kleveland is the former Norwegian Minister of Culture.

Kleveland stressed that the challenge now for Swedish cinema is “to increase production and distribution.”

“For the Film Institute this means monies we are distributing must be managed with more precision. We must be more effective in securing higher-quality and broader-based production output and to even out the divide that exists today between films of very low quality and those of higher quality.”

In keeping with her mandate, Kleveland also plans to put more emphasis on marketing.

Peter Hald, deputy managing director of the Swedish Film Institute, added that funding for feature films will now be based on box office performance as measured by gross receipts but also by factoring in the film’s budget.

Secondly, a new system of development slate funding, some $100,000 in total per production company, will also be made available to chosen projects.