“In 2021 our industry will face an enlightened new normal. 2020 was a year of rescheduling, rethinking and reflecting in the shadow of the pandemic. Only a little less than a year ago over 500 professionals gathered to celebrate our thriving industry at the Fund’s 30th birthday event in Gothenburg. Two months later we learnt to meet virtually and to avoid hugging in real life. A pandemic does not look at borders and it reminds us of how global challenges are best fought together.

Nordic collaboration has been a main principle in our region through history. In 2021, the Fund’s major partner and funding body the Nordic Council of Ministers celebrates its 50th birthday by looking forward. Its Vision 2030 defines three strategic goals: a green, competitive and also a socially sustainable Nordic Region, which is equal, inclusive and inter-connected.

All these values are important to our audio-visual industry too. In 2021 the Finnish Ministry of Culture and Education acts as the chair of the Nordic Council. In collaboration with Nordisk Film & TV Fond, the Ministry plans a year-long collaboration to bring industry professionals and decision-makers together to strengthen our industry. After its launch at the Göteborg Film Festival, January 29, the project will travel to events in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Our first discussion will focus on our Nordic audio-visual industry as part of the international competitive market.  

Last year was especially tough for production companies and cinemas. The Fund therefore commissioned two Nordic Covid-related studies, that will be published in early spring. One is an analysis on how governmental economic measures worked in the five Nordic countries. The other one studies Nordic consumer behaviour and distribution markets before and after the lockdowns. As the vaccine promises light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, the planning of our Fund events on rights issues, scriptwriting and young audiences will continue on a more concrete level.

In 2021 the Fund will have a special focus on documentaries. A wide research on the distribution of 62 high-end Nordic documentaries, is soon to be published.  It will provide concrete material to work on when analysing post Covid markets. In 2020 a high number of quality documentary applications showed the need to amend our financing of documentaries. In 2021 the total support will be NOK 12 million, having stayed at the same level of NOK 10 million, for years. There will also be a raise in the Fund’s fiction support, which in 2021 will be NOK 100 million [NOK 92 million in 2020].

In December, we took a close look at the Fund’s application guidelines to make our principles even clearer for old and new applicants. Last year’s growing number of unique series and film applications showed a need for a change in our rules. As announced earlier on our website, the Fund prioritises new titles from 2021 onwards. Second seasons and film sequels are thus no longer supported. Instead, the Fund is now looking into new ways to help our fantastic, existing Nordic brand travel all over the globe.

The pandemic has given us a number of big and small insights, many of which are connected to sustainability. How many festivals do we really need to physically visit? What sort of hybrid events will work best in the future? How can we better afford shooting at home? How should our networking models change? As the Fund’s office turned to remote working and festivals went virtual, the Fund’s networking became even more pan-Nordic. As pitching turned digital, it doesn’t matter how far from our office or the next big festival, your production or distribution company is. You are always close to us.

In 2021 we look forward to your brave new ideas and to meeting you digitally - and sooner or later - physically again!”