George Ivanov • Stockholm International Film Festival
by Annika Pham
The Stockholm International Film Festival has become an efficient platform for Swedish and international emerging talents and filmmakers. Over 180 films from 50 countries are screening from November 17-28. On the eve of the opening, we spoke to Programme Manager George Ivanov.
Cineuropa: How would you differentiate the Stockholm Film Festival from other major Scandinavian film festivals, such as Göteborg?
George Ivanov: Unlike Göteborg, which focuses on Nordic productions, our focus is on international films as well as Nordic films that have international potential. Because of our ability to attract top international names this year, such as Gus van Sant [recipient of the Stockholm Visionary Award] and Holly Hunter [president of the jury], and Face2Face interviews with directors and talents, Stockholm attracts large audiences [130,000 visitors in 2009].
We also favour new directors – who make up 40% of our programming. With our long-time initiative, the 1 Km of Film scholarship meant to kick-start the careers of new directors, and Works in Progress, our goal is to help Swedish newcomers find a niche in the Nordic and international market.
Your 11 Works in Progress this year include established names like Norway’s Pål Sletaune with his new thriller Babycall, starring Noomi Rapace, and experimental films like We R Animals, a stop motion animation by Thobias Hoffmen. What are your selection criteria?
Again, we give priority to emerging talent and projects that are attractive for an international market. These include Losers by Mattias Johansson Skoglund and Markus Marcetic, and Katinka Kalas (The Games We Play) by Levan Akin, who directed the award-winning short film The Last Things. At last year’s Works in Progress, we presented footage of Easy Money [+see also:
film profile] and organised a seminar on Swedish film noir with Variety. The film went on gaining international attention.
With Easy Money and the Millennium films, there is a new golden age of Swedish cinema, of films that are able to find audiences outside the Nordic region. Until the 1990s, only one or two Swedish directors could have an international career, the rest made local films. Today, exporting film talent and directors is a new trend in Sweden.
This is one of the subjects of your industry panels: Swedes on the International Scene.
Yes, some of our Swedish directors like Mikael Håfström and filmmaking duo Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein have their latest English-language films Shanghai and Shelter, respectively, in our Open Zone sidebar. Mårlind and Stein also have a brand new US project: the fourth instalment of the Underworld series. The directors were at Stockholm five years ago with their film Storm [+see also:
What are this year’s highlights?
First of all, we’re delighted to welcome Gus van Sant, who will receive a Visionary Award; as well as Bob Murawski, one of the editors of The Hurt Locker, who will discuss a new technique to develop films on a laptop,; and documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker.
We also have an interesting spotlight on Extreme Politics on Film, the subject of a seminar with directors Chris Morris (Four Lions [+see also:
film profile]), Romain Gavras (Our Day will Come), Erik Gandini (Videocracy [+see also:
film profile]), Moa Jumström and Ingrid Holmberg (Thank You, Goodbye, Go Home).
We also have several world premieres of Swedish debut films, such as Four More Years by Swedish actress Tuva Magnusson, and the psychological drama Fuerteventura by Mattias Sandström.
You’ve already tested new distribution ways with your Telia - Festival on Demand initiative. Can you tell us about your new collaboration with Cinando?
We want to make festival films open to world buyers and bring the industry to the festival. We have several films looking for distribution and sales agents and we felt that Cinando was the optimum tool for that. We have selected ten international films that will have their European, international or world premieres at the festival and they will be available for secured streaming online. They include the Swedish films Fuerteventura by Sandström and 100 years of Evil by Erik Eger, the Irish/UK film All Good Children [+see also:
film profile] by Alicia Duffy, the US film Night Catches Us by Tanya Hamilton and Preludio by Mexican director Eduardo Lucatero.