In April, Anette Novak took over as CEO at the Swedish Film Institute, a role previously held by the high-profile Anna Serner, champion of gender equality.

A trained journalist, Novak was previously head of the Swedish Media Council, a government body responsible for film classification, children and youth protection.

Earlier on, she was CEO of RISE Interactive, a Swedish state-owned IT and research institute.

How do you feel about attending Cannes with a record number of Swedish films in Official Selection and what does film in general mean to you?
I feel excited — three Swedish directors in competition for the Palme d’Or is amazing, and an impressive sign of strength for Swedish and Nordic films!

Film is the seventh artform and as such a potential carrier of all the other artforms, thus difficult to catch in a short explanation. It is a medium with enormous impact, capable of transmitting knowledge, insights, raising awareness and empathy, triggering laughs and tears, addressing imbalances, and creating new ones.

You’ve just started at the Swedish Film Institute in April. What are the priorities on your ‘to do list’?
My top priorities at present is to listen and learn, to pick the brains of all the competences we have in-house in the Swedish Film Institute and within different segments of the Swedish film industry, film heritage sector, film literacy field, academia and beyond.

What is your vision to help Swedish film navigate through this turbulent post-pandemic and streaming era?
It is way too early to formulate a vision. That work needs time, and inclusive processes with colleagues and representatives from Swedish film, in its broadest sense. As complexity increases, a focus on the users is more important than ever. The film industry is transforming at high speed, globally. This challenges everyone. The trick is not to adapt reactively but to stay a step ahead. How will we do that? Well, even that is too early to say, but I hope to bring some inspiration from the ICT (information and communication technologies) and design research field.