Due to the corona crisis, NFI will grant an additional NOK 14 million to develop new films, games and drama series.
“It is important for us to help maintain the activity in areas that do not need to shut down while the rest of the world is put on pause,” says Kjersti Mo, director of the Norwegian Film Institute.
“At the same time, we must ensure that our film industry can put the best possible projects into production when we are back to normal activity. Therefore, by redistributing our film fund, we are increasing our development funding for all formats and including script development by NOK 14 million.”
We still need good stories
Minister of Culture and Equality, Abid Q. Raja, emphasizes that the Norwegian film industry is being hit hard by the coronavirus.
“The Norwegian film industry is in a period of growth and an increasing number of our films are reaching international audiences. Also, we have seen that our home audience seek out stories in which they can recognize themselves and that, in general, Norwegian productions have a high yearly market share at the box-office.
We wish this progress to continue into the future and therefore, it is important that we now lay the groundwork for developing good, new stories and projects,” says Abid Q. Raja.
An industry in crisis
The shutting down of society to limit the spread of the coronavirus is affecting the Norwegian film industry hard. Film productions have been stopped for contagious reasons, and the uncertainty in the global market makes it difficult to obtain finance for new productions. In addition, closed cinemas and postponed premieres mean a loss of audience revenue for finished and release-ready films.
“Without measures to meet this situation, we risk that many colleagues may go bankrupt and that we may lose professional expertise and projects that will set back the Norwegian film production hard,” says Kjersti Mo. “This will also affect the audience, which could receive a much poorer selection of future Norwegian films.”
Grants assigned progressively
Therefore, NFI is initiating its own measures within the financial framework provided by the Fund.
“Through extra funding, we will contribute financial help to scriptwriters, directors, film and game producers, so they will be able to use their capacity to create new stories and projects that can be realized in the future, and that will delight audiences in the years to come,” emphasises Mo.
“These funds will be allocated continuously without any application deadline and with a maximum of 3 - 4 weeks turnaround. In addition, NFI will pay out an extra early rate for further development to those who have received subsidies but are prevented from going into production.”
Promotion grants for online distribution
The situation is also precarious for those who have made films that are ready for theatrical release. The Film Institute is looking into how to help such productions reach an audience on other platforms.
“Among our possible options is to give grants to help companies launch their films on transaction-based platforms, meaning platforms that pay revenues back to the licensees on a pay per view basis,” continues Mo. “NFI will also support the promotion of films at digital markets and international festivals, where such platforms are alternatives to the cancelled film festivals and film markets.”
“As previously stated, the NFI will accept all postponements due to the corona situation, and will not require reimbursement of the grants that have been used to cover costs related to cancelled promotional activities due to the virus.”
“However, the costs must be documented in accordance with the grants’ objective, and the fixed proportion of the public grants towards private investments must be maintained.”
NFI is also in close dialogue with the Ministry of Culture on the need for further measures that can help reduce the virus’ negative consequences for the industry.