Scandinavian film institutes and trade bodies are urging their governments to allocate fresh cash to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus on the industry.
In a joint-letter published on Tuesday, the Danish filmmakers, actors and producers’ associations have urged Denmark’s Culture Minister Joy Mogensen to grant the Danish Film Institute with an extra DKK 25 million (€3.2m) to cover ‘unforeseen extra costs’ due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The trade bodies cite two high profile Danish films, among the 18-20 projects currently affected, that would need refinancing to be finalised:
The industry representatives argue that the extra DKK 25 million cash would help producers cover the losses that insurances are refusing to pay and avoid the DFI emptying its coffers, putting future films into jeopardy.
In neighbouring Sweden, the Swedish Film Producers' Association also called for “special efforts” from the government to save the film and television industry.
While acknowledging the government’s SEK 500 million (€45m) rescue package for organisers of cultural events and cultural players, Eva Hamilton, chairwoman of the association insists that film & TV producers need tailor-made measures, such as state guarantees for insurance companies, extra funding for development of upcoming projects and production incentives.
Meanwhile the Swedish Film Institute announced on Tuesday the redistribution of SEK 40 million (approx. €3.6m) within its existing budget to help mitigate the negative impact of Covid-19. “The main strategy is to make early payments to strengthen liquidity and contribute to continued activities throughout the film chain,” explained CEO Anna Serner, who also stressed that “the existing funds that the SFI has to distribute, are far from sufficient to secure the future of Swedish film and the Swedish film industry."
Serner’s appeal for more financial state support was echoed by Stine Helgeland, the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI)’s Head of Department Communications, Strategic Insight and International Relations. “At the NFI we have turned around fast to meet the industry, but we are very concerned that it is not enough,” Helgeland told nordicfilmandtvnews.com. “At this point there is no support from the Government in the form of targeted money for our industry and no extra money to the Film Fund, but good general packages to secure companies and people who are temporarily laid off/out of work. The Covid-19 crisis will however hit our industry hard if we do not have targeted measures and fresh money now or in the future,” she said.
Detailing the NFI’s actions to support the theatrical distribution of films, Helgeland said: “Right now, we are looking into redistributing our film fund to meet the acute needs of the industry in the form of a “promotion grant 2” for films that were already released, or just about to be theatrically released, and a “production grant 2” for films that were in production with funding from the NFI, and had to stop because of the pandemic. This will however have consequences for future films and drama series, and if there will be no fresh money from the Government at some point, it will mean that the industry will have less to do, and audiences will have a poorer offer of Norwegian films and drama series in the future. Our hope now is that there will be more money in the revised state budget in June,” she said.
Meanwhile the Finnish Chamber of Films (Filmikamari) issued yesterday Thursday a similar call for help to local politicians. CEO Tero Koistinen stressed that the current closure of 176 cinemas in 130 locations is having a dramatic impact on cinemas, distributors, but also on Finnish film producers, “whose major source of income is now closed.” He estimates that net losses from cinema closure over a three-month period could reach up to €35 million.
“Domestic film as a whole is in crisis and needs government help - and quickly”! he insisted.