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With the Scandinavian market becoming increasingly divided between blockbusters and indies, mid-budget films are left in limbo and struggling to get financial backing.
“The polarization starts at the funding stage,” says Hakon Overas of Norway’s 4½ Fiksjon, the production company behind Hans Petter Moland’s “Out Stealing Horses,” in competition for the Golden Bear in Berlin. “[The Norwegian Film Institute] won’t give money to those films ‘in the middle,’ the ones we used to make.”
Moland - Business - Partner - Turid - Oversveen
Moland’s business partner Turid Oversveen agrees. “We used to focus on quality art films, but today we are forced to include blockbusters and more commercial films or we are out of business.”
For Torleif Hauge, Project Advisor at the Nordisk TV and Film Fund, the investors’ risk-averse attitude is down to consumer behavior: “People still go to the cinema, tickets are selling like never before, but more money is going to blockbusters because that’s what people go to see.”
Figures - Danish - Film - Institute - Tickets
Figures provided by the Danish Film Institute tend to confirm this: with 13 million tickets sold in Denmark in 2018, cinema attendance was the same as a decade earlier.
“It’s not because the audience doesn’t want to go to the cinema anymore,” says DFI CEO Claus Ladegaard, “it’s because they want more cinematic quality. That’s a challenge that we are starting to grasp but we still have a way to go.”
Consensus - Mid-budget - Dramas - Scandinavians - Competition
The consensus is that the mid-budget dramas Scandinavians are so fond of are suffering directly from competition by global streamers and public broadcasters.
“My guess is that part of the audience is actually watching good American indie dramas on Netflix or HBO Nordic and not watching these films at the cinema. There is also competition from domestic TV series: DR and TV2 are doing pretty much the same kind of films we used to make. TV series are extremely good at this,” says...
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