The Swedish Film Institute has, together with other branch organisations, invested in a platform whose goal is to boost diversity and increase the proportion of non-Swedes in domestic film production, Swedish Radio reported.
The new platform, called People of Film, is specifically dedicated to employ more “non-white personnel” behind the camera in Swedish film.
According to the Swedish media, the goal of the platform is to gather ethnic minorities, so that they are easier to find and hire. The ambition is thus to counteract the scarcity of non-whites by raising awareness and increasing their availability.
The initiators of People of Film are David Nzinga, actor and founder of DNZ Pictures, Hawa Sanneh, a film production student and Susanne Tiger, a production manager.
“There is a fairly strong nepotism in the film industry where you hire those you have previously worked with, or those who look like you,” Hawa Sanneh told Swedish Radio. “Now it's just to go to People of Film. I hope this is where you turn when you start recruiting for production in the future. It's easy to end up in old ruts and just recruit people you know or who look like yourself,” Sanneh explained.
“Now that the film industry has a shortage of staff, it is a perfect opportunity to work with diversity. And then we offer new names when film workers are to be hired,” David Nzinga said. He has worked as an actor for many years and often experienced that he is the only non-white person during shooting.
The Swedish Film Institute was founded in 1963 and is tasked with supporting Swedish film-making and promoting it internationally. It also allocates grants for the production, distribution and public showing of Swedish films in Sweden. Furthermore, the Institute organises the annual Guldbagge Award (or the Golden Scarab), the Swedish counterpart to the Oscars.
Earlier this year, the Swedish Film Institute declared plans to copy the Oscars' “diversity rules”. The new Oscar rules include four different boxes for the nominees to check, such as diversity among the cast, or the prerequisite that the film's plot revolves around women, ethnic minorities, LGBT or people with disabilities.
While this step was slammed as dictatorial and anti-artistic quota system, the Swedish Film Institute assured that there is no risk of political control over what constitutes quality cinema.