by Annika Pham
03/12/2003 - The Danish producer, Kim Magnusson is THE man that counts in Denmark. He’s the chairman of the Danish Film Producers Association and of the Danish Film Academy, he is also behind successful films such as The Green Butchers [trailer] and has won two Academy Awards for Best Short Film (Election Night in 1999 and This Charming Man). He left his own production company, M & M Productions last May to take on the most important production position in all the Nordic region: the general manager of Nordisk Film Production. He tells Cineuropa why he joined the Scandinavian major and what his vision is for film production at Nordisk and in Denmark in general.
Why were you tempted to join a major group when you were running your own successful company M&M Production with your father, with the freedom that it all implies?
“There is a whole new strategy at Nordisk Film under the leadership of Kenneth Plummer and I was offered an opportunity I couldn’t refuse: to run the biggest production outfit in Scandinavia. For me, to be in charge of production not only in Denmark but also in Sweden and Norway was a real challenge and an opportunity I had to take at this stage of my life (at 38).
I thought, in five years, if I get tired of my job I will always be able to go back to independent production, which I perhaps won’t be able to do at 51 for instance.
Nordisk Film encompasses production, distribution, post-production facilities among other things, which was also one of the reasons why I wanted to take the job. I’m responsible for feature films, TV drama, fiction, documentaries, co-productions, and no other company in Scandinavia has just one person responsible for all that in three countries”.
You were appointed to head up Head Nordisk Film production activities seven months ago. What are your main objectives for the short and medium term?
“NF’s strategy is to become the leader in film production in the Nordic regions as it was in the old days, with more mainstream movies. My goal for the company, which we hope to achieve within the next couple of years, is to make between 10-12 feature films per year in all three Scandinavian countries, plus one long TV drama. The films will be all types of projects with budgets ranging from €1,5m to €4m.
Apart from the 10-12 projects that we will make for the Scandinavian market, we will be involved in two or three major international co-productions a year with European and/or US partners – in the English language - with budgets ranging from €18 to €25m.
Right now, we have a great stream of films coming with six currently in production in Scandinavia: we have a new film by Lotte Svendsen, which doesn’t have a title as yet, then Paprika Steen’s directorial debut Suffer The Little Children, which just finished shooting. We’re co-producing a film by Jacob Grounlykke, co-producing three different films in Sweden and finishing the shooting of Babylonsjukan, the first Swedish film produced under the Director’s Cut concept. The film is directed by Daniel Espinosa, a recent graduate from the Danish Film School. In terms of major international co-production project, we have The Royal Musician Visit, based on a book by Swedish author, P.O. Enqvist. This is a project we’re developing with ZDF in Germany, but we’re looking for other co-production partners. It will be shot in English”.
Traditionally children films have been a high priority for NF. What will be their share in NF’s yearly production output?
“Making films for children and families have been a high priority not only for Nordisk Film but also for Danish cinema as a whole. So at least 25% of our production output will continue to be for that market, which is very successful in Scandinavia”.
Danish films in general have been enjoying a healthy marketshare at home and critical success internationally over the last 5 years or so. How can that be sustained?
“This will indeed be the big thing to do in the future. But there are no rules. The only certain thing is that we are good at making movies in Denmark and we will continue to educate and train more talent to make more great films, thanks notably to the Danish Film School. Nurturing and keeping new talent has always been one of my key priorities at my old company M&M Production. I will certainly continue to give new talent a chance at Nordisk”.