In the Norwegian Ministry of Culture White Paper “The Power of Culture,” issued in the autumn of 2018, “relevance and representation” is one of the cultural policy objectives. The paper emphasizes an increase in representation across the board, a more diverse recruitment in cultural and culture-related professions, increasing cultural diversity and reaching new audiences.
The mission of the Norwegian Film Institute is further defined in the White Paper on Film, issued in 2015, which outlines four main targets of the current film policy: A broad and varied film selection of high quality, efficient distribution and accessibility for the audience, a solid market share for Norwegian films, and a professional film industry with a healthy economy.
What do we mean by inclusion and representation?
NFI’s work on inclusion and representation is essential for reaching these objectives. Norwegian film culture must be able to reposition itself and innovate in tandem with the changes in the overall society of which we are all a part. This means that our understanding of quality and cultural value must continuously be reevaluated and improved. Gender equality and broad representation are indeed of the utmost importance from a democracy - and freedom of speech – perspective. This applies to the entire value chain, from who the creators of the stories are to whom the stories are about, and who sees and experiences these stories.
NFI will work towards inclusion of new voices and the disruption of established patterns, as this will improve the quality, increase the relevance, and strengthen the sustainability of Norwegian film in the future.
Norwegian films should therefore contain diversity in terms of:
- Indigenous peoples
- National minorities
- Sexual orientation (LGBTQ+)
- Geographical location
- Social background
There are five major objectives in this action plan:
NFI shall be an open and accessible organization, continuously working for a fair and inclusive film policy.
NFI shall work to ensure that Norwegian films reflect contemporary society in a way that will enable all social groups to experience relevance and representation.
NFI’s objective shall be to make films reach all levels of society, and to stimulate an inclusive distribution.
NFI shall strive to achieve broader recruitment and targeted talent development.
NFI will, through these operations, include more social strata in the value chain, and thus strengthen the sustainability of Norwegian films.
Timeline and evaluation
The action plan is valid for five years: 2019 – 2023.
A separate schedule will be developed for when the various operations will be activated and fulfilled. An annual review of the plan will be performed, as well as revisions as required. In addition, NFI will execute a midway evaluation in 2021.
Nine actions for more diversity in Norwegian films and film culture.
1. Diversity standard
Applicants for production, promotion and distribution grants will need to fulfill a diversity standard. The standard includes demands for inclusion and representativeness on-screen, behind the camera and in audience development.
2. Diversity as a priority criterion
Diversity will be implemented as a priority criterion in all our schemes, meaning that an assessment of a project’s relevance and its aim of reflecting the population will be carried out in the review of the application.
Exception: automatic schemes such as the Incentive Scheme and ex post support.
3. Maintain the existing moderate affirmative action
NFI will continue to operate with moderate gender quotas, aiming for 50/50 by 2020.
4. Development reporting on relevance
NFI will introduce mandatory reporting from the producers who have received development support. The aim: Producers are encouraged, at an early stage, to make conscious choices in terms of relevance, audience orientation and sustainability.
5. Relevance workshop
NFI will introduce optional workshops for projects applying for market support, with the aim of enabling commercial projects to be more relevant, to better reflect society at large, and thus expand the project’s audience potential in the marketplace.
6. Development programme for filmmakers
NFI will introduce a development programme for filmmakers from underrepresented groups.
The development programme will be modelled on the development programme for female filmmakers, UP (2018/2019), which NFI is executing in collaboration with Talent Norway. Through UP, 12 directors and producers are offered scholarships, professional workshops, process meetings, coaching, and funding for professional development.
7. Better data
In order to secure relevant knowledge, statistics and analyses, NFI will:
- Continue to produce an annual report on gender balance in Norwegian film
- Produce a separate report on diversity in Norwegian film
- Contribute to a major audience mapping, in order to examine if Norwegian film is reaching, and is perceived as relevant by, various groups of Norwegian society
8. Joint strategy for talent development and recruitment
In cooperation with the regional film centres, The Sámi Film Institute and Talent Norway, NFI will prepare a joint strategy on how our organisations can cooperate on talent development and recruitment from underrepresented groups.
9. Courses and seminars
NFI will arrange courses and seminars on unconscious biases and workplace discrimination, and other challenges related to diversity, relevance, inclusion and representation.
Four actions for our day-to-day operations
1. Diversity standards
NFI will implement internal diversity standards for
• Selection of seminar speakers, lecturers etc.
• Curation at NFI’s Cinematheque
• Selection of suppliers, consultants and other service providers
2. Internal courses and seminars
NFI will arrange courses and seminars on unconscious biases and workplace discrimination, and other issues related to diversity, relevance, inclusion and representativeness.
3. New recruitment strategy
NFI will implement a new recruitment strategy in order to develop its workforce. The strategy will formulate objectives and operations through which NFI may achieve more diversity in its workforce.
4. Routines for whistleblowing and prevention of harassment
NFI will provide and maintain a safe work environment, and prevent harassment and improper behaviour, in accordance with the Working Environment Act. NFI shall have routines for notifications of discriminatory behaviour, in accordance with the WEA.
NFI will apply these same demands towards its funding recipients.