When Sweden’s Göteborg International Film Festival – the largest showcase in the Nordic countries – closes its 40th edition today. the 30,000-plus audiences must wait till next year’s programme for another selection of art house movies.
Unless they subscribe to Draken Film. The festival’s VOD service launched in 2014 to show hand-picked films from around the world. So far 3.400 subscribers are paying a monthly $8.60 to watch a repertoire of more than 300 titles from over 80 countries, with new Swedish premieres added every week.
”Six-to-seven years ago we were talking about the huge variety of cinema we would be able to receive through the web, but it did not happen – today the big VOD networks basically offer the same mainstream cinema and television series,” explained the festival’s artistic director, Jonas Holmberg.
He went on: ”So there is a huge need for niche quality streaming services like Draken Film, especially in smaller countries like Sweden, where audiences may live far from cities with art house cinemas or film festivals, and accordingly have rare access to these films.”
Outside the annual showcase in January-February, the Göteborg Festival organisation organises regular art house theatrical screenings for its members; during the summer it unspools international quality films at outdoor cinemas in the Swedish city.
”But our main effort to prolong the festival experience is through the VOD service, which has this year for the first time premiered international films simultaneously with their screenings in the festival,” said Holmberg, who had also selected the three titles:
*Swiss director Tobias Nölle’s award-winning ”Aloys,” which stars Austrian actor Georg Friedrich as a private investigator whose bag ; replete with his camera and films with people he has been investigating – is stolen in a night bus by a mysterious woman.
*Also receiving several prizes, Russian director Ivan I Tverdovsky’s ”Zoology” – ”a hilarious comedy,” according to Holmberg – follows a middle-aged zoo worker Natasha (Masha Tokareva) in her life with no surprises, until she starts growing a tail.
*A touring festival winner, Israeli director Shavua ve Yom’s ”One Week and a Day” is the story of a father who tries to overcome the mourning for his the death of his son from marihuana, while trying to discover whether there are still things worth living for.
”We intend to further develop Draken Film, both technically and with regard to contents; currently it is only operating in Sweden, but it could be extended to include all the Nordic countries. There is really a need to help this kind of cinema reach an audience,” Holmberg concluded.