Monday, November 08, 2004

Swedes get in on the action

The completion of South African feature film, Max and Mona, in the studios of a small Swedish town may not be world news, but it is one of the reasons behind a growing desire for a co-production treaty between those two countries.

About an hour out of Gotheborg, the small town of Trollhaten is blooming into a tiny Tinsel town. Government subsidies to production companies have injected jobs and life back into the town as about 60 percent of Swedish film activity has now taken hold in the town.

Young Jo'burg-based producer, Tendeka Matatu, was in Trollhaten to oversee the final mix of Teddy Mattera's film, Max and Mona, which is on view at the Cape Town World Cinema Festival, November 12th to 20th.

Matatu said that film subsidies had reinvigorated the ailing town. A sound factory and studio facilities now attract the big names in Swedish cinema, like Lars Von Trier, to Trollhaten.

The final mix of Max and Mona was made possible by a straightforward barter deal with Swedish company, Film I Vast, who provided optical sound and Dolby in exchange for Swedish rights on the SA movie.

"It's great if we can continue doing these barter deals," Matatu said.

The Swedish delegation to Sithengi will include Bengt Toll, a representative of the Gotheborg Film Fund as well as a number of producers and directors.

The Gotheborg Film Fund has long-established links with Africa through IKON/South Africa. Currently IKON is developing documentary projects in Mozambique with backing from Swedish institutions before they turn their focus to South Africa at Sithengi.

It would seem that much is happening in Swedish small towns. A film from one of the Swedish delegations is a documentary made by Lisa Munthe and Helen Ahlsson, about a 23 year old woman arm wrestler from a tiny village in the snowy north. The film translates as the Arm Wrestler from Solitude (or Loneliness), this literally being the name of the small town where all of the sixteen inhabitants are the heroine's family.

It's the tale of a young woman, egged on by her whole family, who takes on the world in championship arm wrestling.

The delegation has been organised through the offices of Hanli Prinsloo, a South African filmmaker living in Sweden and working with the Swedish Institute. Ms Prinsloo will be part of the interesting Swedish entourage who will want to wrestle with South African counterparts to generate projects and perhaps pave the way for formal bilateral agreements between north and south.

From the Sithengi newsletter

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