Helen Ahlsson • Producer
Producer On The Move 2006 - Sweden
by Annika Pham
In Cannes last year with her short film The Parasite selected at Critics’ Week, Helen Ahlsson is back this year as Sweden’s Producer on the Move with serious plans to finally make the leap from short to feature length film with the Swedish production company Tre Vänner that she joined last August. At her side are three upcoming talented female directors, Munthe with whom she also co-directed the award-winning documentary The Armwrestler From Solitude in 2004, Lisa Langseth who was awarded a special mention for Best Script at the 2006 Gothenburg Film Festival for her short film Approve, and Nanna Huolman, the first of the three to direct a feature length film with Ahlsson next August. Hey Kid! will be a coming-of-age story co-produced with Finland’s Jarkko Hentula (Juonifilmi).
Cineuropa: What do you expect from the EFP Producer on the Move initiative?
Helen Ahlsson: I’m very honoured and it feels like an encouragement to widen my knowledge and to focus on the future. It will be a great opportunity to find new partners and new projects that I could co-produce.
You’ve participated in several European film workshops such as EAVE and Strategics supported by the MEDIA Programme and the Rotterdam Lab. Did you find them very useful in helping you to improve your skills?
Absolutely. I love co-production! I’ve co-produced with Norway, now I’m working on separate projects with Finland and Germany. We have a lot to learn from each other. In Sweden, we’re very good at storytelling, but we are a small country with little money, relying mostly on support from the Swedish Film Institute, so we need European partners with larger audiences and bigger financial possibilities. My aim as a producer is to balance my personal passion for storytelling and stable financing. Being a Swedish producer is an advantage because we have a great film history and people are very respectful when I approach them. But I’m still learning about how to build partnerships in Europe.
Sweden hasn’t had a feature film in official selection or in a sidebar in Cannes for several years now unlike Norway or Denmark for example. Why do you think this is?
Last year my short film The Parasite was at the Critics’ Week and it won many awards at international festivals. The problem is that for the last year, the Swedish production sector has been waiting for the Film Agreement to be signed with the government, so everything was frozen until then. But now it is signed, we know how much money the industry will get and we have new commissioning editors at the Swedish Film Institute. So I’m very positive about the future because we have great directors and scriptwriters in Sweden.
What kind of films do you want to produce?
I want to make films that have strong personal visions that tell something about what it’s like to be a human being and how one can improve their condition. We need love and hope in our world which is lacking in film nowadays, so my goal as a producer is to make films that want to change the world into something better, but in an entertaining way.
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