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FESTIVALS Sweden

Women directors' competition: Winner receives €500,000

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Women directors' competition: Winner receives €500,000

If you are a woman director with no more than two features to your credit and you complete a winning project including script, budget and schedule, the Stockholm International Film Festival will award you up to €500,000 so you can finish the film within a year.

Launched at the recent Cannes International Film Festival, the festival’s new scholarship for women filmmakers will be supported by Telia communications, facility companies Dagsljus, Cinepost, distributor NonStop Entertainment and the Swedish Film Institute (SFI).

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”The programme runs for three years, so at best we will be able to back 30 woman directors,” said festival director Git Scheynius. ”After their debut, they usually find it difficult to get through with their second or third feature – women’s share is thirty per cent, against men’s seventy per cent.”

A selection committee headed by SFI Commissioner Lars G Lindström, Scheynius and the festival’s head of programming George Ivanov will nominate between five and ten of the incoming projects; then, a master class jury will decide the winner, and the runners-up will each receive an SFI development support award of up to €27,000.

The winning project will be announced at the festival’s awards ceremony on Nov 19, and the film will have its world premiere during the 2012 showcase. NonStop Entertainment will handle international distribution in eight countries.

A recent study by the Swedish Film Institute confirmed that, in 2010, the gender distribution among directors was 30%-70% in favour of men, that there were fewer scriptwriters, but an increasing number of women producers, more than 40% of the total.

A special €800,000 grant over three years from the Culture Ministry will help the institute and the University of Stockholm to further analyse these unequal participation levels and how to change them. The first results of their efforts will be published at next year’s Göteborg International Film Festival.

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