At Nordisk Panorama, Swedish film-fund representatives discuss their programmes for fostering new filmmaking talents
- What are “new voices”? How can talent programmes help them step into the professional arena? These were the two main questions tackled by the panellists at the event
On 24 September, Malmo’s Scandic Triangeln hosted a panel titled “In Times of Crisis – Can New Voices Emerge?” as part of the industry programme of this year’s Nordisk Panorama (22-27 September).
Moderated by Jenny Luukkonen, of Film i Väst, the event saw the participation of Patrik Axén (Swedish Film Institute), Katja Härkönen (Filmpool Nord), Rafael Franco (Film Stockholm), Ludvig Roman (Film i Skåne), Josef Kullengård (Filmregion Sydost), and filmmakers Linnea Huhta and Vonnie Larsson.
Axén spoke about the Talent to Watch programme, conceived in the midst of the pandemic in 2020 and launched in 2021. The initiative, set to run until 2023, was budgeted at 50 million Swedish crowns (circa €4.57 million) and aimed to promote emerging producers, directors and screenwriters, in particular those who had gained “from zero to extensive experience but had not yet worked on their feature”. Talent to Watch provides production and development support for both short and feature films. In detail, half of the scheme’s budget (25 million Swedish crowns, or €2.28 million) will be allocated next year, and it is set to cover four to six feature projects. In 2021, the scheme provided development funding for 25 features and production backing to 90 shorts.
Next, Rodman spoke about Film i Skåne’s own talent development programme, focused on shorts. “We didn’t want to only hand out the production money to filmmakers [to enable them] to do stuff. We wanted to reassure them that the money had some value in terms of creating a community,” he said. The body picked seven new talents, who initially worked on six different projects, ultimately focusing on four only. To identify them, Film i Skåne asked two recruiters to headhunt them. The team received 54 applications, two-thirds of which were signed by “completely new names”, which was defined by Rodman as “a victory in its own right [...]. It was very much worth the money and the extra time it took,” he added.
Franco spoke about Film Stockholm’s programme Nya röster STHLM. He explained that the scheme kicked off last year through some funds provided by the Swedish Film Institute. In collaboration with Fanzingo, they organised a number of workshops as “a way to reach out to people who normally don’t find them”, held by Pella Kågerman and Ali Quraishi. The programme received 83 submissions, and six projects were selected, all made by “new names”. Director-producer Jerry Carlsson was picked as the projects’ coach.
Later, Kullengård talked throughFilmregion Sydost’s Talent Up, whose main goals are to identify new voices and nudge them towards the “professionalisation” of their activities. The scheme covers the whole process, from idea to distribution, and applications were only open to teams, not to individuals. He said it was essential to “lower the threshold”, making the application user-friendly and accessible. The team recruited producers Caroline Drab and Gilda Naumanen to serve as the mentors, with the idea of “focusing more on the people behind the projects, rather than the projects themselves”. In total, they received 20 applications and selected six projects, providing a 20-hour production mentorship, exclusive directing and producing workshops held by Gabriela Pichler and Mikael Bundsen, a grant of 30,000 Swedish crowns (circa €2,700), free equipment, and support for distribution and festival strategies. “New voices mean recruiting completely new people into the world of film, but also that our existing regional talents should be given the tools to step out into a professional arena, and this is especially important in regions with weaker infrastructure,” Kullengård concluded. The 2022/2023 edition will see the addition of a talent scout, focusing on four projects with a bursary of 45,000 Swedish crowns (€4,100).
Härkönen talked about Filmpool Nord’s mission to “foster new voices for Norrbotten”, Sweden’s northernmost county where Sámi, Meänkieli, Finnish and Romani communities live, thus providing “great value for diversity”. The talent development programme focused on low-budget fictional shorts. Three films were completed during the 2021 edition, including Mummun leipä, which was directed by Larsson, produced by Huhta, and co-produced by Filmpool Nord and broadcaster UR.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.