Í sjónvarpshluta Gautaborgarhátíðarinnar fóru fram fjörlegar umræður um stöðuna í framleiðslu leikins sjónvarpsefnis á Norðurlöndunum og horfurnar framundan. Þátttakendur í panel voru Kjartan Þór Þórðarson forstjóri Sagafilm Nordic, Rikke Ennis forstjóri REinvent Studios, Martina Österling umboðsmaður og Filippa Wallestam dagskrárstjóri hjá NENT (Viaplay).
Nordic Film and TV News fjallar um málið á vef sínum:
Better communication, transparency, legislation, were some solutions put forward by panellists during the TV Drama Vision in Göteborg.
Between February 2-3, close to 60 panellists took centre stage to discuss to more than 450 online and onsite attendees, some burning issues such as mental health, the sustainability of the industry on an environmental, social and financial stand point, at a time of drama boom and production over-ride.
In the panel Future proofing the industry, four heavyweight Nordic executives shared their views – and put forward possible solutions, on how to create value together in a sustainable way to safeguard talent and the independent filmmaking sector in a changing environment.
The role of the indie producer – seen as the ‘weak-link’ in the value chain, was seen as a key issue.
“Great producers are rare species, in a tough job, with many of them over-worked, constantly chasing talent, trying to evaluate risk taking, wondering if they will exist in four years, while constantly looking at the pay cheque, to pay salaries. The indie world is a very fragile sector, where only the big players can afford to wait,” said Rikke Ennis, CEO at REinvent Studios. So how do we take care of [indie] producers? They are true talents,” she noted.
Kjartan Thor Thordarsson, CEO at Sagafilm Nordic concurred with Ennis. For him, only bigger players can survive at a time when margins for indie producers are shrinking, costs are increasing, as well as risk taking. “Our company is big in Iceland, but small in Europe. It’s simply not sustainable today to be a small indie, which is why we’ve joined bigger players in the industry,” he said, referring to Sagafilm’s sale of 25% of its shares to Beta Nordic Studios-part of the German major Beta Film group- in 2020.
For her part, Martina Österling, Agent and Partner at Albatros Agency, said the issue today is the lack of talented producers, with many either giving up altogether, due to the pressure of the job, or letting themselves being wooed by streamers, such as Viaplay or Netflix. “Indie producers need to feel supported by their companies and in a strong position when discussing talents with bigger players. In the US, producers have reps, There is a reason for this” she noted.
Filippa Wallestam, EVP and Chief Content Officer Nent Group agreed with her co-panellists on the need to nurture producers. “Producers are talents and one of the criteria for us to get into a project,” she stated. “The most important for us is to have a transparent dialogue with them. The more we know [about how they are], the more we can help.”
Wallenstam said her group has widened the support team to producers, and initiated in 2021 a small survey on the well-being of producers, “with the ambition to go broader”. The fast-expanding Nordic group is also sharing best-practice solutions, notably on how to produce safely during the pandemic.
Quizzed by moderator Marike Muselaers about quality versus quantity, Thordarsson went back to the over-demand on the market, forcing some producers to take short cuts. “You really need 3-4 years on a project [to deliver quality]. But you can’t really deliver a fantastic series to be on air six months later,” he argued.
Wallestam maintained that despite the 60 Viaplay Originals set to launch in 2022, quality is always a top priority for her group, and increased volume on the market the last five years, has led to a rise in skills and talent development, she argues. “Quality on the market has grown, with well-known talent, next to new talents working on projects. We want Viaplay to be recognised for giving talents a chance, and we have a great track record,” she said, mentioning Josephine Bornebusch’s Love Me and Henriette Steenstrup’s Pørni.
Asked to suggest possible solutions to create a more sustainable business environment, Wallestam said transparency is key. “We need to help each other, communicate better. Uncertainty notably around greenlighting, can be frustrating. But we are transparent during development stage to green-lighting,” she maintained.
Ennis agreed about the need for transparency between producers and all commissioners – streamers and pubcasters. She also asked for better transparency from streamers, regarding access to data. “How can we understand the market if we don’t have data? Now, we’re swimming in a pool, without knowing what direction to go,” she said, asking for legislators to do their job.
Referring the EU Audiovisual Media Service Directive and agreement in France whereby Disney+, Amazon and Netflix will invest 16% of their turnover in local productions, Thordarsson said: “you need legislation, but also for everyone to work together, and to be aware that we are a valuable asset. In the meantime, we will continue to try to protect our business. We are not giving up in negotiations on rights [with the big streamers] and we will try to future proof the industry,” said the Icelandic producer.