Cinekid for Professionals is proud to have attracted some of the industry’s most creative, inspiring and productive media companies as partners. These are companies that have developed and maintained long and strong ties with (children’s) media, and each can boast a unique signature approach to their professional and creative endeavours. In this newsletter we train the spotlight on the Swedish Film Institute (SFI).
A Short introduction…
The Swedish Film Institute supports film in all its stages – from script idea to production of the finished film, from marketing and launch to screening and archiving. Production funding amounts to approximately SEK 325 million a year of which SEK 200 million is awarded by the six (soon to be seven) editing film commissioners who are appointed for a term of roughly three years. The remainder of the funding comprises audience related support and new forms of funding known as automatic funding and producer funding. The Swedish Film Institute’s main aims are:
- To support the production and development of Swedish films of value
- To support the distribution and screening of films of value in various viewing formats across the whole of Sweden
- To preserve and develop the Swedish film heritage and make it widely accessible
- To collaborate internationally and strengthen the export and screening of Swedish films abroad
Cinema for children and youth is one of the Swedish Film Institute’s areas of priority.
In 2012 we presented our Agenda for Children and Youth where we pinpointed our goals and achievements, including four different sub-areas:
- Film production:
All of The Swedish Film Institute’s film commissioners must support the production of films for children and youth.
- Film distribution:
Economic support is given to cinema theatres and distributors screening art house cinema for children and youth.
- Film Education:
Support for film education to children and youth in all of Sweden’s 19 film regions. This includes – among other things – economic support to schools that screen, analyse, make and in other ways work with film as part of the curriculum. This unit also yearly produces some 30 film study guides for teachers and arrange seminars on film pedagogy.
Support for young filmmaking in different ways, such as giving economic support to film education as well as arranging seminars and workshops for young filmmakers. One special aim lately has been to stimulate young girls to express themselves via film.
Generally, The Swedish Film Institute works to strengthen the position of children’s film in parallel and multiple ways that fertilize one another. Film education is a way to increase ticket sales, for example, and film production is stimulated by ticket sales. And a rich supply of children’s films from all over the world stimulates young people’s own filmmaking which, in the long run, stimulates the production of Swedish children’s films.
The strength and position of Children’s Films in Sweden:
Historically, Sweden has a long and strong tradition of producing high quality children’s films. Ever since 1945, with Children of Frosted Mountain, government grants have been used to make “meaningful” films for a young audience. And invoking the philosophy of Swedish feminist and educationalist Ellen Key (1849-1926), the country has always valued children as individuals and “fully capable human beings”, and this attitude has led to a rich and, in an international perspective, a bold children’s cinema. This has produced films that have refused to shy away from serious subjects such as death, sexuality and oppression. Parents in these stories are not always depicted in a kind way; threats such as sickness and war have always been part of children’s lives and kids have had the right to express all kinds of feelings, including grief, envy, or even hatred.
Today, children and youth is still a very large audience and American family films always find their ways into the top-ten-lists. Consequently, Swedish children’s cinema has lost some of its power,and has difficulties finding its audience. The competition from international blockbusters has increased and local producers and distributors hesitate before investing in children’s films. Also, the general overprotection of children in our time has influenced the films strongly and made them less bold, less interesting and less stimulating.
Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute:
“As an important financier of films for children we are very happy to be invited to participate in Cinekid and Cinekid For Professionals. All filmmakers need to meet and share knowledge, ideas, experiences, to inspire and be inspired, not least because of the obstacles they meet in financing their films. Platforms such as Cinekid For Professionals are therefore invaluable. I am certain that this collaboration between the Swedish Film Institute and Cinekid will benefit the future of Swedish films for children!”
Photo: Per Myrehed