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FkN Newsletter

October 2010

FkN News

Filmkontakt Nord is Out and About in the Fall 

Katrine Kiilgaard is on the international jury at doclisboa in Portugal, 16-23 October.

26-29 October Jing Haase is attending Cinekid in Amsterdam, promoting the children's films in FkN's film catalogue.

Katrine Kiilgaard and Karin Johansson-Mex will be at Sheffield Doc/Fest with a Nordic delegation of 26 producers.
During the Friday Night Gala Party Filmkontakt Nord, in cooperation with the Finnish Film Foundation, the Swedish Film Institute and the Norwegian Film Institute, will be hosting a Nordic Vodka Hour. All accredited guests are invited to meet the Nordic delegation over a shot of vodka!

At CPH:DOX (4-14 November), Katrine Kiilgaard has again this year curated a series of Nordic films for the digital DOX:MARKET.
Attending professionals will get a taste of some of the latest and greatest Nordic docs from this year's competition at Nordisk Panorama. These titles are also available at Nordisk Panorama Market Online for registered professionals to watch around the clock at their own convenience. Here they will find the remainder of this year's Nordisk Panorama competition programmes in addition to numerous other Nordic shorts and docs from the past year. More than 850 films are now available at the platform - just a click away.

Jing Haase will be in Switzerland 12-15 November, attending International Short Film Festival Winterthur.

During the same weekend, Katrine Kiilgaard will be present at Aarhus Film Festival in her position as Chairman of the Board.

And at the end of November, Karin Johansson-Mex and Katrine Kiilgaard will be at IDFA in Amsterdam. On Sunday, 21 November, Filmkontakt Nord is hosting a Breakfast Meeting for all attending Nordic filmmakers.
Nordisk Panorama Market Online will once more be at the center of FkN's promotional activities, when the platform will be presented to all the buyers attending Docs for Sale.

New Nordic and International Initiatives

Do-It-Yourself Distribution 
At Nordisk Panorama this September, distribution strategist Peter Broderick, head of Paradigm Consulting, gave a key note distribution speech on strategies and alternative funding methods entitled Seize the Future. The Cutting Edge of Distribution.
Broderick presented case-stories from documentary professionals who have exploited alternative methods like crowd funding and self-marketing to make their documentaries reach audiences and ultimately, increase revenues. He stressed the importance that the filmmakers stay in overall control of their distribution and avoid a total sell out of rights to distributors.

Director and producer Morten Daae from Norwegian Snitt Film Production attended the seminar, and he agrees with Broderick’s advice on staying in control and exploring differentiated distribution strategies.
 “In my experience, traditional distributors ignore alternative distribution. In my future projects, I will never give away distribution wholesale unless the distributor can present a wholesale distribution strategy!" says Daae to Filmkontakt Nord.

When it comes to alternative measures like crowd funding from Internet campaigns, Daae sees it as a real alternative to traditional funding and a model that could work as a distribution model for all docs. However, he mentions three types of projects for which crowd funding is especially suited, according to Broderick:
"- No-budget starter films, where you can whip up support from friends, family and fellow film nerds
- Niche films with a tight "fan base" - pilots, sports, etc.
- Political action films that go against the mainstream views
In theory there are no limits. However, your subject may attract investors you don't want. One doc I'm working on pinpoints African war criminals. I could approach people known to have racist views on this. Would I? No”, says Daae.

But can crowd funding replace traditional funding and what does it take to succeed?
 “Many topics have advocates, or in some cases a fan base. You could build a fan base as a filmmaker. In most cases, it depends on the film. You need to get enough people to believe that the film would never be made without their contribution, you have to care enough about it for crowd funding or micro funding to replace traditional funding”, says Morten Daae.
To Morten Daae the real challenge of crowd funding is not the size of the budget, but whether you’re ready to put the efforts needed – and the time – into the battle.
“Whether your budget is tiny or large, you have to be really committed to go this way. Traditional funding via broadcasters and funds is a tremendous amount of work, but crowd funding is a way of life. You have to give something back every step of the way to all the people who in essence become your producers and advocates. It's not only financing, but marketing”, Daae concludes.
More information about Peter Broderick here.

Crowd Funding – a Swedish Example  
The documentary project TBK-AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard, that was pitched at Nordisk Forum this September is partly funded through crowd funding.
In three days, the Swedish producer Martin Persson and director Simon Klose, raised the USD 25.000 they had set as a goal on the American funding platform website Kickstarter. 1.737 private persons made donations and doubled the amount to USD 51.434 before the end of the campaign. In return, the backers receive T-shirts, DVDs or if they have backed with 500 dollars or more, a name on the credit list.
The director Simon Klose believes that the crowd funding success of the film is due to several aspects.
“The reason we're successful is partly because of the great support the Pirate Bay has internationally. Also it was the result of using the Pirate Bay's homepage, one of the world's 100 largest web sites, to drive over 400.000 visitors to our project on Kickstarter. The trailer also seems to have worked, judging by all the positive feedback we got”, says Klose who appeared in a video trailer addressing the viewers directly and explaining about the project.
The filmmakers spent one month preparing a website, trailers, texts, T-shirts etc., and now after the campaign, they keep the community updated through their blog
“To us, having thousands of people on five continents talking about our film, is worth the time a little blogging takes”, says Simon Klose. He is optimistic about how far you can go with crowd funding for any kind of documentary project.
“I think crowd funding could work for any project. If you communicate honestly you can gain the trust of a community of likeminded people on the net. With trust it seems people are willing to back projects. But sure, if the topic is about a controversial issue that affects a lot of people it might work better. Raising money on the Internet for a film about the future of the internet apparently worked”.
The money raised on Kickstarter covers half of the USD 530.000 budget (approx. € 380.000). Funding bodies like Swedish public broadcaster SVT, the Swedish Film Institute and Film i Skåne are co-producing the project, and Simon Klose is confident that more financiers may get on board after the follow up on meetings from the pitch at Nordisk Forum. But: “It’s more fun pitching directly to your audience than to TV-commissioners”, he admits.

1 Million Film Prize and New Talent Award at GIFF 
The Dragon Award, the main award at Gothenburg International Film Festival, GIFF, has become one of the biggest film festival prizes in the world. Together with the Gothenburg Municipality and the region of Västra Götaland County, GIFF decided to raise the prize money from SEK 100.000 to one million SEK to ensure the high-level film standard.
The Dragon Award Best Nordic Film has existed for 22 years.
New Dragon Fund
Additionally, a new fund has been created to facilitate the development of Nordic films and secure the existence of the Dragon Award on a long-term basis. Profits from ticket sales to the celebration gala evening and contributions from companies, businesses and individuals, will go into the Dragon Fund. A sold out gala held earlier this October has so far generated SEK 500.000 to the Dragon Fund.
New Dragon Award New Talent 
Furthermore GIFF has announced the launch of a new international online competition and the international short film prize, the Dragon Award New Talent. The competition is open to everybody who has a film of maximum 10 minutes to upload on the Internet. Registration deadline is 31 December.
Audiences can vote until 16 January, and after this date a jury will select a winner from the 10 highest-ranking films.
The prize ceremony will take place at the Dragon Award Gala on 5 February 2011 in Gothenburg.

A Paradise for Film Lovers in Reykjavik 
In the middle of the economic troubles in Iceland, a new film initiative shines a light on the Icelandic capital. Thanks to the persistent efforts of local industry professionals’ to promote film culture and education, a new independent art cinema and film house Bíó Paradís, opened on 15 September in Reykjavik. Bíó Paradís replaces the of the older cinema Regnbogin that was located on the premises since 1977, and will operate both as a cinema and as a meeting place for audiences, film talents and professionals.
Bíó Paradís will present a wide range of contemporary Icelandic and foreign feature films, new art house releases, shorts and documentaries as well as archive material.
The film house and cinema will also host major film festivals such as Nordisk Panorama, Reykjavik Short Film Days and Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF).
The new four screen theatre was backed by the City of Reykjavik that granted ISK 12 million (approx. € 79.000), as well as funding from other investors including the Icelandic Film Centre.
Bíó Paradís is run by the non-profit organisation Heimili kvikmyndanna (The Home of Cinema), founded by The Association of Icelandic Film Producers, The Filmmakers Association, Film Director’s Guild Iceland, Reykjavik International Film Festival, and The Cinephiles Society . Managing director of Bíó Paradís is Lovisa Óladóttir.
For more information, see here

Nordic Cinemas on the Verge of Digitisation 
The transition to digital projection in cinemas is advancing in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
In Norway, the digitisation process, which began earlier this year when the industry organisation Film & Kino reached a distribution agreement with the major Hollywood studios, came to a halt when the independent cinema distributors refused to sign the digitisation agreement. They criticised it for being in favour of commercial films and demanded better conditions that would secure diversity of programming also in smaller towns.
Film & Kino announces in a press release earlier this month that a new agreement has now been reached and signed by all parties. The new agreement is based on a so-called VPF (Virtual Print Fee) which means that distributors pay a fee to set up films in cinemas for a period of between six and eight years, until the investments in digitisation are repaid.
The digitisation of cinemas in Norway is expected to be completed before summer 2011.

In Sweden, the Swedish government has set aside SEK 60 million over four years to the digitisation of cinemas. The initiative aims to help cinemas in smaller towns cope with the transition to digital technology and to allow for a more diversified programming in cinemas. Digitisation will also provide a possibility of screening operas, music and theatre pieces live as well as sports or computer game competitions.
The digitisation of Swedish cinemas will be managed by the Swedish Film Institute.

In Denmark, art cinemas in smaller towns will be able to apply for funding to digitisation from the Danish Film Institute. The government, however, has not reserved ‘new money’ for digitisation in the new Film Agreement for 2011-2014 meaning the Danish Film Institute that is managing the digitisation process, might have to find the funds within their total budget. Details on the matter are likely to be published later this month in the new Film Agreement, which is currently being discussed.

Increased NFI Funding to Docs       
The Norwegian Government will pool an extra NOK 32 million to film into next year’s state budget and promises to increase funding to documentaries.
21,5 million out of the NOK 659 million state budget will go to the Norwegian Film Institute’s funding of documentaries, TV-drama and feature films. 4 Millions are earmarked regional initiatives.
The documentary industry had asked for NOK 30 million extra as a result of the crisis that has led to cut backs on documentary content on the Norwegian TV-channels and affected the production companies.
Contrary to the Norwegian Film Institute’s funding scheme for drama series, there is no specific funding resources for documentary series. Single docs and series compete for the same money, a fact that makes is difficult to obtain funding for the more costly documentary series.
The Norwegian Film and TV Producer’s Association appreciates the boost to the documentary sector and sees it as recognition of the documentary industry as such. Other representatives from the documentary industry seem to be more hesitant as to whether the extra money is sufficient to bring the industry through the crisis.
See more about the budget increase here.

First Draft of New Film Policy Agreement Presented 
The Danish government has presented their proposal for a new Film Policy Agreement for 2011-2014. The keywords of the text are flexibility, sustainability and international branding of the film sector.
The overall budget of DKK 2 billion for the support of film in the period will remain on the same level as the present agreement. The funds will be managed by the Danish Film Institute Film, and DKK 480 million of the total budget comes from the two Danish public broadcasters DR and TV2.
The government’s proposal states that DKK 165 million will be earmarked to the documentary sector over the next four years, to development, production (of 120-140 documentaries) and distribution. DR and TV2 Denmark will invest DKK 60 million each per year in local documentary productions.
Preeceding the publication of the government’s proposal, the Danish Producer’s Association presented their 10-point documentary proposal to the new Film Agreement. The proposal aims to raise more funding to the documentary sector and provide measures to ease the transition to new markets and business models.
In brief, some of the points in the producers’ report include:
- More financial resources to the Danish Film Institutes funding schemes of documentaries
- A strengthened support to regional film funds
- The establishment of a central distribution office that can offer help and advice the industry in developing new business models and find their way around on new markets.
Some of these demands might be met in the new film deal, that is expected to be finalised at the end of October.
A summary of the government’s proposal to the Film Agreement can be found here.

Swedish Film Budget Status Quo for 2011 
The Swedish government’s proposal for a new film budget will not be increased for 2011 although the Swedish Film Institute SFI, during four years has been saying that the Swedish film industry needs another SEK 100 million to maintain the same level of quality, says SFI Filmnyheterna.
 The SFI will see its overall budget reduced by SEK 23,5 millions due to the redistribution of some SFI funds to other cultural bodies. Some of the areas managed by the SFI will now be placed under other culture organisations. The film archive for instance, will be transferred to the Royal Library as of 1 January. Also a new distribution model for the government support of the regional resources will be in place from next year, transferring SEK 16 million from the SFI to the Cultural Council that will be managing the funds to regional resources.
Read more about the Swedish governments budget proposal here.

Nordic Programmes on Baltic TV Screens 
Audiences in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be able to watch Nordic documentaries, life style, nature and culture programmes on their TV.
Nordvision, the Nordic TV and media umbrella of the five Nordic public service television broadcasters DR (Denmark), NRK (Norway), SVT (Sweden), YLE (Finland) and Icelandic RUV, earlier this year offered a package of 104 programs representing 50 hours of air time to the Baltic TV stations to broadcast over a period of years.
The initiative is made to strengthen the collaboration and the exchange of experience and is also meant as a helping hand due to the financial crisis that has put pressure on public broadcasters in the Baltic region, says Nordvision.
From an Estonian point of view, Heidi Pruuli, TV director of Estonian public broadcaster (ERR), sees the initiative as an opportunity for the Baltic broadcasters to further the development of exchange, collaboration and co-productions between the Baltic and the Nordic countries.

Nordic Children’s Channels a Global Success 
The children’s channels on the Nordic public service broadcasters in Denmark (DR), Sweden (SVT) and Norway (NRK) are highly popular. 
According to Nordvision, the television and media partnership between the five Nordic public service broadcasters, children’s TV that offers diversified programmes on non-commercial TV channels seams to appeal to both parents and children.
The children’s channels NRK Super, SVTB (SVT) and Ramasjang (DR) have shown the best ratings ever in terms of audience in the period these channels have broadcast, and the channels are competitive with globally oriented commercial children’s channels.

Short Films in German Cinemas 
A campaign to bring back short films into the cinemas has been launched in Germany.
The goal of the Kurz vor Film campaign is to promote short films and provide a theatrical window for a genre that is highly popular on the Internet and on festivals. The initiative can only be praised by all short film fans, and with the ever growing number of shorts that is being produced, the genre deserves exposure and attention in cinemas. This is what the people behind the campaign are working for, and the campaign will run from September – December 2010 and will include a signature petition to advocate for the revival of short films as supporting films.
The Kurz vor Film campaign (Shortly before the film), is a joint initiative between the Short Film Agency Hamburg, AG Kurzfilm and interfilm Berlin and supported by the Filmförderungsanstalt (the German Federal Film Board) since 2009. Cinemas that show short films on a regular basis can apply for funding up to € 1.500 from the German Federal Film Board.
For further information, click here. (Information only in German)

Online Pitching of Art Docs 
European Documentary Network, EDN, is organizing a themed online pitching session of art documentary projects on 9 December. This is the second EDN Online Pitching Session taking place in the EDN Video Conference Room. The session lasts one hour and three documentary projects will be introduced. Deadline is November 11, 2010.
EDN Online Pitching Sessions is organized to create a forum where documentary projects with a specific focus can be introduced and discussed. This low cost set-up makes it possible to create room for introductions and discussions of themes and focuses not always viable in the offline world.
At the EDN Online Pitching Session three documentary projects are pitched to a panel of international financiers and decision makers.
For the online pitching there will be 6-8 financiers and experts participating to comment on the presented projects and express their interest in potential co-production and financing opportunities.
Participation in the online pitching session is free of charge but requires membership of EDN.
Read more about EDN and the online pitching session her


New US Documentary Fund 
Tribeca Film Institute and HBO have launched the TFI Documentary Fund, a new fellowship and grant body open to international projects. The Fund will grant more than USD 100.000 in 2011 and support the development of character-driven documentaries. The fund is designed to support feature-length films with an intended length of at least 70 minutes and the fellowships will be granted to films in the early stages of development, production or post-production.
Additionally, three filmmakers will get an opportunity to have one-to-one meetings with key HBO documentary film executives, as well as to receive financial support, supervision and guidance from TFI and HBO.
Fellowships will be granted in three categories:
The TFI/HBO  ”Documentary Screen Test” Fellowship, to fund character-driven feature-length films from emerging filmmakers.
The TFI/HBO “House I Live In” Fellowship, to support the completion of dynamic documentaries from filmmakers.
The TFI/HBO “Outside Looking In” Fellowship, to propel exceptional films from advanced development into production.
Recipients will be announced at the annual TFI Awards held during the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. The application form can be found here.
Find more information about Tribeca Film Institute support programmes and funding here.

Coffee and Docs  
The documentary-focused online film library SnagFilms will be contributing its wide collection of documentary films to the coffee giant Starbucks’ Digital Network, SDN, set to launch later this autumn. This means that customers who visit the Starbucks stores and access its free Wi-Fi will be able to watch the more than 1.600 non-fiction films from the SnagFilms library.
Starbuck and SnagFilms also plan to co-curate themed online film festivals created specifically for the SDN. Launching a MusicFest, a series of three to six music-themed documentaries will be programmed on the SDN’s entertainment channel.
Snagfilms currently offers its free, ad-supported documentaries on its website,

Spanish VoD Portal Showcases Shorts on iPhone and Android   
A series of apps from Spanish mobile TV channel operator and distributor Kiwi Media S.L will make it possible to watch short films on iPhones and Android mobiles for free on continental Europe.
Shortz! (http// was launched in 2008 and is a European mobile video on demand portal showcasing European shorts.
The new applications will give mobile users access to a wide range of short films on their iPhones, they will be able to rate their favourites, share the films and get information about upcoming short film festivals worldwide, including Nordic film festivals like Nordisk Panorama.

Joint Venture to Produce Doc Conference 
Documentary Campus and Sheffield Doc/Fest join forces to coproduce what they call the biggest industry conference in Europe, to take place in 2011 during the 18th Sheffield Doc/Fest 8-12 June.
The Sheffield Doc/Fest is both a film festival and a market place with pitching sessions and an annual industry conference.
The German Based Documentary Campus offers advanced training courses and Master Schools for professionals and up-coming talents in the European documentary sector.
According to Donata Perfall, Director of Documentary Campus, the new partnership is an ambition  to stimulate international coproduction and to create a platform to exchange knowledge and set new trends.

Joint Venture Encourages Networking 
Getting in touch with the right people to work on a documentary project might become easier thanks to a close collaboration between Sheffield Doc/Fest and reelisor, a social networking platform for documentary professionals, offering networking tools and online knowledge resources. 
The aim of the partnership is to help match works-in-progress with potential collaborators and reelisor will act as a web supplement to the festival’s MeetMarket conference and other offline events.