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Hollywood hails Sweden's high tech film cluster

With recent smash hit movies like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Searching for Sugar Man, the Swedish film industry has gained valuable global exposure. And international filmmakers have now turned their attentions to Stockholm.

In the Stockholm port area Frihamnen and Värtahamnen, a cluster of film companies – sometimes nicknamed "Stollywood" – have in just a few years become the country's most important hotspot for the film industry. Today, around 20 percent of Stockholm's film and TV production companies are found in the area, near neighbours to the country's two major TV broadcasters, SVT and TV4.

In 2011, Modern Studios, owner of one of the countries leading production companies, Strix, signed a 2,300 sq m lease in the Magasin 3 building. It turned out to be a good decision, according to Henrik Stenlund, head of Strix in Sweden.

"In addition to having raised the quality of our premises, the whole area is a creative hub," he said. "Being close to industry peers is also good from a recruitment respect."

The cluster got some Hollywood experience when the US-made version of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara – was made in Frihamnen, keeping some 100 staff members busy over eight days of filming.

There has been a lot of interest from foreign media and film companies in converting old port storage warehouses, according to Viktor Axelsson, the marketing manager for Ports of Stockholm, which has converted the warehouses for new uses.
"International media groups already today own some of the biggest companies, like Zodiak and Metronom," he said. "But we are also receiving a growing number of requests from other foreign production companies that are interested in establishing here."

That view was echoed by Patrik Forsberg, the CEO of Stiller Studios in Lidingö. His company operates a product called The Cyclops, which they describe as the largest and most sophisticated motion control system available

"Representatives from Apple in Cupertino have called us 'the world's most technically advanced studio' and when we were at The Mill, the world's premier post production house, we were told that we were 'The coolest place on earth'," he said.

In Stockholm, the film industry is playing an increasingly important role as most production companies, actors, directors and other key players are drawn to the capital, said Jeanette von Arnold, project manager for the creative industries at Stockholm Business Region.

"Apart from being an important messenger and promoting the Stockholm brand, the film industry also provides jobs and revenue to the city, both when a film is produced here and when it is shown in the cinemas," she said. "The most important issue today, if you ask the industry, is funding to make it possible for more films to be produced in Stockholm. This is where we put a lot of effort to find different solutions."

Stockholm Business Region is a member of Film Region Stockholm-Mälardalen, an organisation that aims to promote film production in the region, strengthening its competitiveness and increasing growth.

The organisation's CEO Anette Mattsson confirmed that many Stockholm-based production companies and films have made a real international impact and excelled at film-festivals, from Venice to New York.

"We notice an increasing international demand for such Swedish directors and actors," she said. "Moreover, we see how Swedish commercial production continues to stand strong on an international level."

How does the future look for film production in Stockholm?

"Through hard work and a crystal clear vision, we are on track to develop Stockholm into one of Europe's most interesting film regions," Mattsson said, explaining that more local municipalities have begun to see film and TV as a strategic tool for growth and jobs creation.

"The future is so bright, so we have to wear sunglasses," she added.

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This article was sponsored by Stockholm Business Region.

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Last Updated (Thursday, 26 December 2013 04:25)


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