Swedish Industry Welcomes Government’s Plan To Axe Film Policy

Force Majeure6
Last week it was announced that the Swedish government would be removing the Film Agreement from 2017, after Culture Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke wrote in the Swedish newspaper DN. Industry members have welcomed the change, with the current Film Agreement being widely criticised for not keeping up with the times – which is unsurprising since it has remained unchanged since 1963.
From the Nordisk Film and TV Fund:
In her open letter, Bah Kuhnke acknowledges the fact that ‘today, over 80% of Swedish films incur financial losses” due to the collapse of the DVD market, not yet compensated by VOD earnings. According to the Minister, the new film policy would be ‘more techno-neutral’, it would involve a ‘better balance between the artistic and commercial interests of the film industry’, and the much criticised automatic support would be replaced by a new market support focusing on high quality films for a wider audience. Distribution support across the country would be increased to secure a greater diversity of the films on offer is also on the table.

However, to take full responsibility of the film sector, the government plans to increase VAT on cinema tickets from 6 to 25 percent. For cinema owners, the impact would be limited as the 10 percent levy on cinema tickets would be abolished.

Bah Kuhnke said the plan is for the new film policy to become a Bill by the end 2015.

Among industry commentators, Anna Serner, Head of the Swedish Film Institute said: “This is a historic change. It is an interesting new time and we look forward to understanding how the mandate of the Swedish Film Institute will be formulated.

Hanna Stjärne, CEO at SVT currently partners of the Film Agreement said: “SVT is a driving force in the Swedish industry. We want to continue to take a great share of responsibility for Swedish film and TV drama.”

Filmmaker Ruben Östlund said to SVT.se he was ‘positive’ as the new film policy could ‘lead to a totally new approach to the whole film sector and how people exploit the potential of the moving image’.

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.