ON THE BLOG: KlasseFilm on Creative Europe Video Games funding

Copenhagen-based KlasseFilm recently received Video Games development funding for their game Cosmic Top Secret – which centres on a girl who wants to find out what her Dad did for the Danish intelligence during the Cold War. Hear from producer Lise Saxtrup on the challenges and rewards of the application process, how to make a strong submission, and why strengthening narrative in games is a good thing.  

Tell us about your company

“We are located in Copenhagen in a loft space. We used to share it with another company but now we share it with a youth magazine. At the moment we’re unfortunately separated in a film and games department. We hope to unify soon.”

What appealed to you about the Creative Europe video games fund?

“The Creative Europe Video Games scheme is quite a big application. There is a lot of work to do to make the application. This of course can be quite stressful. On the other hand, the questions you have to ask yourself and answer takes you quite far in a process necessary to produce your game anyway.”

“I also really like the people handling the fund. They are helpful – not least when finalising your project and handing in the final report.”

“And of cause the grant is appealing. The grant is – if you get it – without any demands of paying back or producing in certain ways. If you get it, it’s for you to spend the way you already decided.”

Were there any challenges to the application process and, if so, how did you overcome them?

“There are always challenges because every project is different. We talk a lot to our local representative of Creative Europe in Denmark. We discuss our project with them and have them read our application to make sure the vulnerable parts are strengthened.”

The funding supports narrative games, how does Cosmic Top Secret tell a story?

CTS is a story about a girl who wants to find out what her Dad did for the Danish intelligence during the Cold War. There are three plot-strings: the actual story, where you help our protagonist finding out about Dad, there is a story about the developing relation between dad and daughter and there is a coming of age-plot for the girl.”

“I think it’s great to strengthen the narratives in video games. Some games can be all mechanics, where a story is added on. Or there can be a strong story with added mechanics. We aim at developing the two as equals in all our productions, because we believe that this is what makes great games, you can actually feel when you play them.”

What have the benefits of the MEDIA grant been?

“The grant took us a long way in developing our game. We are now in the final stage of production, but without the MEDIA grant, we could not have presented the game in its earlier stages at festivals, gatherings and conferences, which helped us to get the closing finance in place."

What advice would you give to potential applicants of this scheme?

“Talk to your local Creative Europe Desk. Their only interest is to have you submit the best application ever. Also ask your colleagues if you can read their applications. Carefully read the guidelines and make sure you have all papers ready. Have relevant people/companies endorse your project. Make sure your project is strong where it’s “easy” to get points.”

Image: KlasseFilm logo and producer Lise Saxtrup.