‘Why not make films for New York?’: The interaction between cultural, political and commercial perspectives in Swedish Film Policy 1963-2013

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


During the last two decades or so, film support, film policy and the public financing of audiovisual production in Scandinavia and particularly Sweden have undergone extensive transformation. In diverse ways, these changes can be seen as responses to globalization, to increased sub-national regional independence as well as to the emerging idea of nurturing ‘creative industries’ taking hold. They may similarly be seen as a result of developments through which the borders of the European nation state have become more permeable. In addition, Scandinavia, as a region, has found itself as a provider of a popular cultural phenomenon with surprising international appeal and unforeseen longevity in the form of ‘Nordic noir’. This has paved the way for mounting co-production within the region. Moreover, it has also meant that production funding from abroad has regularly been secured.

At the same time as these developments, however, the longstanding tension between culture, commerce and national film is still very much reflected in ongoing arguments about cultural policy. For instance, suggestions such as that film policy’s foremost aim should be to support and help to establish a national film culture of ‘quality’ – a crucial concept in policy documents ever since the Swedish film reform of 1963 – has been a recurrent point of dispute throughout the years.

In the proposed article, it is our intention to trace a trajectory of tensions, contrasts and oppositions between art, economics and commerce, policy and politics as well conflict and cooperation in a geographically marginal part of Europe ever since film support were first introduced in the 1960s. A rationale for going thus far back is that the initial reform apparently planted the first seeds of tension and conflict that is still discernible in the present situation.


External organisations
  • University of Gävle
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Studies on Film


  • film policy , European film, Swedish film
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-757
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Policy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 20
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Included in 'Film Policy in a Globalized Cultural Economy' A Special Issue of the International Journal of Cultural Policy, Co--editors: Nobuko Kawashima and John Hill (Journal Editor Oliver Bennett, Warwick University). Other contributors to the Special Issue: Nobuko Kawashima, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan John Hill, Royal Holloway, University of London Michael Curtin, University of California, Santa Barbara Armida de la Garza, University College Cork Randall Halle, University of Pittsburgh Paul McDonald, King's College, University of London Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh, Hong Kong Baptist University

Related research output

Olof Hedling & Vesterlund, P., 2018 Jan 16, Film Policy in a Globalised Cultural Economy. Hill, J. & Kawashima, N. (eds.). London: Routledge, p. 55-68

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

View all (1)

Related activities

Hedling, O. (Invited speaker)
2017 Jun 2

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Hedling, O. (Invited speaker)
2016 Oct 27

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

View all (2)