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PEOPLE Sweden

WHAM BAM: Baker Karim takes over as Swedish film commissioner

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- The Uganda-born, US-educated writer-director-cinematographer heralds a new era when he starts his new job at the Swedish Film Institute

WHAM BAM: Baker Karim takes over as Swedish film commissioner

“WHAM BAM! Just like that! Obama gets elected president. Baker gets appointed feature film commissioner. The tide has turned!” Swedish writer-director-cinematographer Baker Karim (photo) has been named new film commissioner at the Swedish Film Institute, as of November 1, to succeed director-producer Linus Torell, and this was his reaction (on the institute’s website):

“Now it’s up to filmmakers here in Sweden to mobilise their most creative troops, to look sharp and polish their artistic bayonets. This day marks our unflinching commitment to making Swedish films of only the highest artistic order! Together we can create a new golden age for Swedish cinema. There’s no chickening out, no shying away. No being satisfied with things that have worked in the past. It’s all about excellence, diversity and courage. Swedish Film is going to war! It's about time. Damned right it is!”

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Born in Uganda, Karim came to Sweden when he was one, with his parents fleeing the Idi Amin regime. After high school he went with his elder brother Othman to the US, where he studied at the American Film Institute and worked as assistant director to Roger Corman at Concorde-New Horizons and production assistant to John Landis.

Back in Sweden, his feature debut, Four Women (2001) was followed by his international award-winning short, Malcolm (2002), which was selected for the Critics’ Week in Cannes. His works for television include Swedenhielms (2003) and The Babajou Family (2009). Both his brothers, Othman and Alexander, are in the business – Alexander had the lead in his Fragments of an Unfinished Journey (2005).

“Karim’s enthusiasm for seeking out quality projects is truly inspirational, and it will be exciting to see what he achieves in his role as commissioner,” said managing director Anna Serner, of the Swedish Film Institute. – The institute’s total 2013 budget is €60 million.

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