The Norwegian Film Institute is introducing new measures to help the Norwegian film industry in a very demanding time. It will now be possible to receive grants for a second stage in the production and for promoting films directly affected by the corona crisis.
“The film industry is being brutally hit by the shutdown of society,” tells Kjersti Mo, director of the Norwegian Film Institute. “Productions and launces are interrupted and postponed, cinemas are closed, and new investments and external financing being halted.
Unfortunately, the general crisis packages do not benefit the project economy that might help production companies. Since we must do our utmost to ensure that we will also have a Norwegian film industry when this crisis has passed, we are now introducing several new measures to remedy the situation.”
Redistributing NOK 85 million
NFI is currently redistributing NOK 85 million from the Film Fund to help produce and promote the films that have been directly affected by the corona outbreak. These funds will make it possible to complete productions that has been halted and also to launch films that have had their releases postponed theatrically or on digital platforms.
This is being put into effect by the introduction of new grants to Production 2 and Promotion 2. Thus, production companies can receive extra funds to resume filming when this situation is over, and to either re-release their films when the cinemas are reopened, or to promote their films immediately on digital platforms.
Extremely tough priorities
“We have to make tough priorities to achieve our goal, which is to assist the industry so that not all Norwegian production companies collapse and films stop being made,” continues Mo. “Therefore, we will move a total of NOK 85 million from pre-existing grant schemes into newly created measures.
However, we are concerned about the consequences if no fresh finance will be added to the Film Fund at some point, as this would mean that in the years to come fewer projects will receive grants, fewer Norwegian films will be shown theatrically, and fewer Norwegian drama series will be screened on television and streaming services. But we have to risk enduring this in order to make sure that there will be filmmakers left to tell our stories.”
The new measures are additions to the grants recently implemented by the NFI, which amount to an extra NOK 14 million for the development of projects.
The new measures
Film productions that have been halted or postponed due to the corona outbreak may apply for an additional grant from NFI to be able to continue their productions. This means that projects that already have received production grants from NFI will be able to apply for extra support. NFI believes that if these productions are not being realized, the entire industry will be affected and large sums already invested will be lost.
Without making this intervention, the negative consequences of not completing projects that already have been awarded substantial funding from the NFI and others, will be far greater. We will prioritize the projects that NFI has already invested in. The new scheme of Production 2 will apply to all formats.
NFI is creating a new grant scheme to help the Norwegian films that have been affected by the temporary closure of the cinemas. A production company can apply for subsidies for a theatrical re-release when the cinemas reopen, or for subsidies to launch a film on digital platforms immediately. This applies both to films that were in the cinema when the cinemas closed and to films that had to abandon their planned launches due to the closure.
For the re-release of a film in regular cinema distribution, the producer can apply for a maximum of NOK 400,000 in promotion grants. In order to release a film digitally on a documented platform, the producer can apply for a maximum of NOK 200,000 in promotion grants.
Read more about re-releasing films.
Distribution of foreign film
In respect to NFI’s grants for distributing foreign quality films, we have earlier prioritized grants for the distribution of films released theatrically, not on VOD. Due to cinemas being closed, we are changing this to include promotion on digital platforms.
This applies to the distributors of foreign films that should have been shown in the cinema during this period, and to the distributors who will receive grants in the application round with deadline on 16 March. NFI will approve changes to promotion plans on an ongoing basis.
Grants to re-release and change the distribution of foreign quality films are in effect from today, while Production 2 is in the works and will be implemented as soon as possible.
NFI’s new grants are additions to the existing crisis packages given by the government to the cultural sector. Production companies can also apply for the government’s new cash support scheme, which means that the state will cover a share of the fixed business expenses for companies that are suffering a significant reduction in revenue.
“This extraordinary situation requires extraordinary measures,” insists NFI director Kjersti Moe. “We hope and believe that the new measures will support a continued activity in the Norwegian film industry, get projects restarted and ensure that films and series are being developed and produced in the future. But it’s going to be difficult for a long time if no targeted funding will compensate for the amount now being withdrawn from the Film Fund.”
A united industry supports the measures
In recent days, NFI has held meetings with the Film Industry Council, the film distributors, the cinemas and regional film centres and foundations, and a united industry supports NFI’s measures. At the same time, the trade organizations emphasize the seriousness of the situation.
“We are supporting the good and purposeful measures NFI is now launching,” says Trud Berg, Chairman of FilmReg. “But unless another crisis package of fresh funds is added to help the industry, the consequences will be serious for the regional film business. We will see projects and companies close down, which in the long term will provide a less diverse offer of films.”
Adds Åse Kringstad, head of Virke Produsentforening on behalf of Bransjerådet for film:
“We are pleased that NFI feels it necessary to provide rapid assistance to our crisis-affected industry. We stand behind its bold strategy, as we at the moment have no other way to save our industry in the short term. But to withdraw money from the Film Fund in this way is only a short-term solution that will have very serious consequences for the industry in the future, so it is absolutely crucial that the government contributes an emergency package. The loss now being generated in the Film Fund means that the chances of seeing new Norwegian content in the future will be seriously weakened.”
Those who support the NFI measures are:
Norsk filmforbund/ Norwegian Film Federation (Elisabeth Sjaastad)
Norske Filmregissører/ Directors Guild of Norway (Marianne Kleven)
Norsk Skuespillerforbund/ Norwegian Actors’ Equity Association (Knut Alfsen)
Dramatikerforbundet/ Writers’ Guild of Norway (Monica Boracco)
Norske filmdistributører/ Norwegian Film Distribution (Morten Christoffersen and Vibeke Skistad)
Film & Kino/ Film & Cinema (Guttorm Petterson)
Virke Produsentforening/ Virke Producers Guild (Åse Kringstad)
More about NFI and the corona crisis
NOK 14 million extra for development funding
NFI is closed until further notice. Staff will work from home