The film landscape in Scandinavia is far from homogenous. In Sweden, where no drastic coronavirus restrictions were enforced, shoots were not suspended so long as no more than 50 people were assembled, while elsewhere in the Nordics, a lockdown was imposed and film productions were stopped.
On April 14, film production resumed in Denmark — after a pause that lasted more than a month — under a new set of rules relating to the coronavirus crisis that also apply to Sweden, according to the Nordic Film Guide, which was put together by the Swedish banner Hobby Film and based on information released by government bodies. Besides leaner crew numbers, the guidelines also require at least 4 square-meters (43 square-feet) between each person on interior shoots and no buffets or coffee stations on set. Crowd scenes are out of the question right now. Shooting in public places in Sweden is permitted, while Denmark is allowing such lensing on a case-by-case basis.
In Denmark, where theaters are closed — as in every Scandinavian country with the exception of Sweden — the government has been covering 80% of fixed costs and 75% of staff salaries for exhibitors.
Movie theaters in Norway reopened May 8 after a near two-month shutdown, but drastic sanitary measures and a dearth of new films means many cinemas are staying closed.
Approved last week, the government’s decision to jump-start theaters caught exhibitors by surprise, and many haven’t had enough time to get prepared, meaning “it will be a soft launch,” according to Ivar Halstvedt, who previously ran the SF Kino and Odeon cinema chains in Norway, and has been advising the exhibitors’ body Film & Kino.
The current health guidelines are limiting admissions to 50 people per screen, with a minimum of one meter in between each patron, and one in every two rows remaining empty.
Elsewhere in Scandinavia, the Norwegian Film Institute has introduced measures to support the promotion of films directly impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The NFI will also grant an additional 14 million krone ($1.3 million) to help develop new films, games and drama series.
Scandinavian film major SF Studios, which is involved in theatrical distribution, has been hurt by the shutdown of cinemas but has seen an uptick in demand for home entertainment rights and increased activity on its own digital services, SF Anytime and SF Kids.
SF Studios had to pause the production of Charlotte Sieling’s drama “Margrete — Queen of the North” in the Czech Republic, and “Red Dot” for Netflix in Sweden (since more than 50 people had to be on set). SF Studios also had to delay the filming of the feature film “Pagten” and the “Snabba Cash” series for Netflix.
Scandinavia pics in the pipeline include:
Director: Mikael Marcimain
SF Studios’ action-packed film is about a couple on a small airplane that loses its way over the Pacific Ocean.
Director: Antti J. Jokinen
Drama is based on Ilkka Remes’ bestselling novel of the same name and revolves around a secret unit of European special forces.
Director: Eirik Svensson
This Norwegian World War II-era drama is inspired by true events about ordinary Norwegian Jewish families who were rounded up by local police and put on a German cargo ship bound for Auschwitz.
“Games People Play”
Director: Jenni Toivoniemi
A bittersweet Swedish comedy about a group of thirtysomething friends reminiscing about their teenage years during a surprise birthday party at a seaside summerhouse.