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SFI heralds Diversity and Inclusion in 50/50 talk and Berlin selection

24 FEBRUARY 2020

Always Amber Göran Hugo Olsson Lia Hietala Hannah Reinikainen Amber / PHOTO: Annika Pham H

Trans teens in Always Amber, family fare in Sune, Best Man, puppet animation in Something to Remember reflect the eclectic Swedish Film Institute Berlin slate.

Under Anna Serner’s leadership, the Swedish Film Institute (SFI) has been campaigning aggressively in recent years for a shake up in industry practices to promote diversity and inclusion in film and television.

At Sunday’s seminar 50/50-a Roadmap for the Future, the SFI CEO and co-speaker Dame Heather Rabbatts, chair of Time’s UK reiterated that efforts from decision-makers – A-festivals, institutions, producers, financiers were simply not enough, but the fight continues and has spread across the globe.

“All countries and continents -including Africa- are doing something now to make sure talent is better represented across gender and race, to get more creativity out of each nation. It’s been hard to demonstrate that a lot of people from different parts of society were missed out on screens, but now we’re in a movement of change. And it’s all about quality,” claimed Serner at another gathering on Monday evening, celebrating Swedish talents and films in Berlin.

The Panorama selected Norwegian team of Maria Sødahl’s drama Hope – including actress Andrea Bræin Hovig - were on hand to thank their Swedish partners including Zentropa Sweden, Film i Väst and the SFI.

The creatives behind the Panorama documentary entry Always Amber – co-directors Lia Hietala and Hannah Reinikainen and protagonists Amber and Sebastian - introduced their film, which portrays transgender teens, love and growing up. “All youngsters can relate to our story and take something out of if,” said Amber. Story AB’s producer Göran Hugo Olsson (acclaimed director of Concerning Violence and That Summer) stressed that his company is a collective taking in established and new talents alike. He said having a specific idea and clear audience in mind is quintessential for documentary filmmaking as well. The film is repped in Berlin by Wide House.

Jon Holmberg, director of the Generation KPlus entry Sune-Best Man said he was thrilled to be back for the second time at the Berlinale with his epic family-oriented Sune film, while Guldbagge actress Sissela Benn was pleased for a ‘broad family” film to get so much attention. The film produced by Unlimited Stories is sold by Global Screen.


SFI heralds Diversity and Inclusion in 50/50 talk and Berlin selection

Jon Holmberg, Sissela Benn / PHOTO: Annika Pham

Acclaimed animation director Niki Lindroth von Bahr (The Burden) introduced her Generation 14Plus short film entry Something to Remember, recently awarded the American Film Institute’s Grand Jury Prize for Animated Short. The five minute film in which we follow among others two pigeons visiting a zoo without animals, a snail measures his blood pressure at a doctor, is described as a “ lullaby before the great disaster”. “It’s about parenthood and bringing up babies in this crazy world,” said the director. New Europe Film sales handles the film.

Von Bahr is also in Berlin for a retrospective of her work and for a conversation with Roy Andersson (to be transmitted live on Wednesday) as part of the Berlinale’s 70th anniversary. “Roy and I share the same meticulous care for set design and way of creating reality with a filter,” added von Bah.

Also on hand at the SFI gathering was up-and-coming actor Levan Gelbakhiani (And then We Danced), present in Berlin for the European Film Promotion’s Shooting Stars initiative.