Frank Bonn, CEO Nouvago Capital, quoted in national circulated article from TT News Agency about automatic support, introduced in the 2013 Film Agreement
Criticised film support has flopped. No new additional investment in film productions and no increases in ticket sales for Swedish films. Automatic support has so far failed to achieve the defined goals and there are plans to redesign the heavily criticised support mechanism. There were already protests from large parts of the film industry when automatic support was introduced in the 2013 Film Agreement. The criticism was that the pot of money allocated for the provision of support to all Swedish feature films was to be reduced and channelled into a support procedure with the sole aim of supporting commercial films.
The idea with the new support was to help create films that were considered to have high audience potential but which would probably be rejected by quality-conscious film consultants that traditionally hand out support funding. A condition for being able to obtain automatic support was that the film was estimated to result in at least 250,000 people watching it at the cinema.
The Swedish Film Institute, SFI, concludes in a new report that the support has not lived up to its goals. Only three of the seven automatically supported films (two films about Sune and the romantic comedy Micke & Veronica) achieved the required number of ticket sales. The most watched film in recent years, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, did not receive automatic support.
The other aspiration with the automatic support was to increase the number of private investors supporting film productions, as the productions more predictably could become a success as a result of the automatic support. SFI's report shows that two-thirds of the new private capital injected into the automatically supported films went to one single film and originated from only one (1) new source of financing.
Nouvago Capital has been investing in the Swedish film industry for five years, including Easy Money (Snabba cash), Hamilton and the Sune films, but CEO Frank Bonn is critical of the automatic support.
"To start with, a lot of films apply for funds at the same time, which makes things somewhat crowded. And secondly, only six million SEK is on offer. Up to ten million is available fromconsultants. I would probably be inclined to scrap the automatic support and define new guidelines for how to distribute funding. There are very few films that manage to sell 250,000 cinema tickets these days, but the success of The Hundred-Year-Old Man shows that it is possible to get it right", comments Frank Bonn.
Changes in the pipeline
It seems probable that changes will be made to the system of automatic support. The board of the Swedish Film Institute has now requested a proposal to redesign the system of automatic support for 2016.
"We have not been happy with the process for allocating automatic support and this is an assignment we have been given by the parties to the Film Agreement. In the current situation it is difficult to see how any of the parties could be satisfied with the agreement. A redesigned funding would still be used to support public films but maybe it is possible to distribute it more wisely. After all, it is 30 million SEK we are talking about", states Hjalmar Palmgren, Head of the Film Support Department at the Swedish Film Institute.
The future of automatic support after 2016 is unclear because the Film Agreement in its entirety only extends until 2016. It is still being looked at whether it will then be renewed or terminated.
By: Miranda Segander, TT News AgencyTT
News Agency is the national wire service in Sweden with a history dating back to the 1920's. TT News Agency is ranked as one of Europe's most profitable news agencies.
Photo: Ivan da Silva for Zap PR