ON THE BLOG: Focus on Norway

To celebrate MEDIA’s 25th anniversary, each week on Twitter and Facebook we’ve been focusing on a different country participating in Creative Europe. This week, it’s Norway – a member of Creative Europe since 1993.

The country has a population of 5.2 million. They produce about 25 feature length films each year, the market share for Norwegian films in theatres is around 20-25% and total cinema admissions in 2015 was 12 million.

But what does all this mean? Kåre Jensen from Creative Europe Desk Norway shares his insight. 

Tell us about Norway’s audiovisual industry. What are its strengths and where do you see it heading in the future?

"The Norwegian audiovisual industry has strong national funding, with 445 million Norwegian Krone (around £42million) granted by the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI) to development, production and promotion of feature length films, documentaries, short films, TV drama and interactive games in 2015.

We face the same challenges as the rest of the industry of course, with the loss of revenues from the DVD market. Producers are increasingly looking outside Norway for co-financing and collaboration, and I think there will there will be more private investments and an increasing number of films produced and published outside the traditional public support system.

A particular strength right now is the Norwegian video game industry: in 2015, around 75 games were released, a substantial increase from around 25 games the year before. The NFI supports Norwegian game developers with 20 million Norwegian Krone each year, and this year Norwegian games also topped the list of MEDIA support with four projects funded and a100% success rate."

How has participation in Creative Europe affected Norway’s audiovisual industry?

"I think one of the most important factors has been the MEDIA programme’s contribution in the ongoing development of a more professional and more international audiovisual industry. Through MEDIA training and network events the Norwegian industry professionals have found a unique platform to broaden their contacts, start new collaborations and to develop new competence.

The funding opportunities have also contributed to Norwegian producers seeking more co-financing outside of Norway, and the funding from MEDIA has heightened the quality of the projects. The distribution schemes have also been very important – both in getting Norwegian films screened in Europe and in giving the Norwegian distributors the possibility to put up non-national European films on Norwegian cinemas. This result is a more varied cinema offer to the audiences."

Which Norwegian productions have been supported by MEDIA and how were they funded?

"Some examples of Norwegian films, TV series and games, that have been supported by MEDIA by development, TV production or distribution schemes include:
The Golden Dawn Case (documentary), Aquitted 2 (TV series), Moons of Madness (video game), Louder Than Bombs (feature film) and Louis & Luca: The Big Cheese Race (animation)."

Tell us something about the Norwegian film world we might not know

"As the good Scandies that we are, the Norwegians are concerned with gender equality and opportunities for women in the audiovisual industry. Of the feature length films funded by the NFI in 2015, the female share of key staff in was 35, 7%. ‘Key staff’ includes the director, screenwriter and producer. The female share in documentaries was 37% and short films 50%. The highest female share ever registered for feature films was 53.9% in 2014."

As a non-EU country, how does it work participating in Creative Europe?*

"It’s pretty much the same as for the EU countries. We don’t have the Euro, so we have to convert the budgets from Norwegian Krone, and some documents are not available in our own language as they are in other countries. But most of the application documents and the communication are in English anyway. The Ministry of Culture pays a yearly fee to have access to the MEDIA programme (via the European Economic Area)."

*The other non-EU countries that participate in Creative Europe are Iceland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Republic of Serbia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Israel.

Image: Occupied is a ten-part Norwegian drama series supported by Creative Europe's TV Programming scheme.