GOTEBORG — On Saturday, Sweden’s Goteborg Film Festival premiered the two first mid-length films to emerge from Moving Sweden, a new three-year initiative intended to give primarily new – but also more experienced – filmmakers a chance to challenge their creativity and explore new formats, films at 60, 45 and 30 minutes in length.
At a Goteborg Festival seminar, organizers announced that this cooperation between Swedish Film Institute and Swedish Television now also includes important funds Filmpool Nord, Film i Vast and Film i Skane. Filmregion Stockholm-Mälardalen and Regionala resurscentrums samarbetsrad had already boarded the program, which has a SKr 20 million ($2.4 million) annual budget. Helen Ahlsson, a former producer at Tre Vanner and Svensk Filmindustri, is the newly appointed Commissioner for Moving Sweden.
“One of the great things is that we basically fully-fund the films we select – or at least to 90% – so if you get the green light from us you know your film will get made. Distribution is guaranteed and you can reach out to a wide audience via Swedish Television,” said Helen Ahlsson.
Head of drama at SVT, Christian Wikander pointed out the project’s crucial role in finding new talents that can continue to direct successful Scandinavian and Swedish TV drama.
“By now ‘The Bridge’ has sold to all the countries in the world, except three. Moving Sweden is a first step in order to create strong story-telling,” he commented.
The first films to come out of the project, initiated two years ago, were Anders Hazelius’ “Guerilla,” produced by Lizette Joncic at Migma Films; and the Plattform-produced “Råggywood,” by David Danial. These 60 minute works had their world premiere at Goteborg on Saturday.
As in the work of Ruben Ostlund, whose “Force Majeure” he produced out of Plattform, Erik Hemmendorff said that as a producer he is more inspired by watching YouTube clips than regular films. “Råggywood” is based on YouTube phenomenon, featuring a group of amateur actors in suburban Stockholm. “Out of very smart existential sketches we’ve tried to compile a story with strong characters,” said Hemmendorff, emphasizing that the vignettes already have a half a million views on YouTube.
Film commissioner Helen Ahlsson underscored that Swedish film has to show more courage: “Moving Sweden gives filmmakers a chance to focus on the storytelling without getting caught in accepted standards. I hope to be brave and curious about each submission. At the moment the number of applications is massive.”