Copenhagen sets up film fund

FILM FUND. A new regional 4.7 million Euros film fund aims to put the Danish capital on the global map and make Copenhagen a film metropolis. Copenhagen Film Fund will be operating by summer.

After years of political struggle, public and private partners in greater Copenhagen have come to an agreement to establish a new regional film fund in the Danish capital, launched in January.

The aim is to put the Danish capital on the movie map, attract foreign productions, keep Danish productions at home, and create jobs and growth.

With 4.7 million Euros over three years, the fund will support 10-15 projects: First and foremost major co-productions with a budget of 4 million Euros, TV series and, in exceptional cases, ambitious documentaries. The fund can also invest in order to retain renowned Danish directors who would otherwise shoot abroad. So says Ulrik Bolt Jørgensen from Copenhagen Capacity, who has been project leader of the fund’s working group.

"I also have an idea that the fund can help qualify minor co-productions for Euoromages support; the fund could participate in the 10 percent funding that Euromages requires from the minor producer," says Bolt Jørgensen.

A good investment

While many major Danish productions take advantage of financial incentives in other countries such as Sweden, Germany or the Czech Republic as well as the neighbouring regional film funds Film Fyn and the West-Danish Film Fund, the parties involved in Copenhagen Film Fund hope to make Copenhagen an attractive alternative.

Although stakeholders hope to brand Copenhagen as a cultural metropolis, Pia Allerslev, Mayor of Culture and Leisure in Copenhagen, stresses that the Copenhagen Film Fund is ”a trade fund, not arts support”.

Ulrik Bolt Jørgensen also emphasizes that the fund will prioritise projects with great potential to create growth. "International TV series and slam-bang movies are very welcome," he says.

Productions receiving investments will be evaluated on their ability to create film-related businesses in the region. The support will be investments, and repayments may take place if productions are financially successful. The fund is expected to create economic effects of at least 3.25 times its investments.

Political firestorm

Copenhagen Film Fund has been in the pipeline since 2003. Even though the City Council allocated 2.7 million Euros already in 2011, the fund has been hanging by a thread and set off a political firestorm last spring. According to the conciliation parties, the minimum amount for the fund was 5.4 million Euros, so the fund was 670,000 short. When the state refused to support the fund, the mayor sounded the death knell for Copenhagen Film Fund. So why has it come together now – with the same amount of money?

"The death warrant of the fund wasn’t just grandstanding," says Bolt Jørgensen.

He explains that the condition of the conciliation was that the City of Copenhagen would only provide half the funding. When the fund couldn’t gather the remaining amount, the City didn't have the authority to grant the 2.7 millions. If the City paid less, the Capital Region and other municipalities would pay less accordingly, and suddenly the house of cards came down.

In the fall, however, the City Council agreed that the fund was so important that it would attempt to establish it with 4.7 million kroner, if the other contributors would go along with it. And on 24 January the agreement was signed.

"I think it's fantastic to launch with 4.7 millions," says Bolt Jørgensen.

The Danish Film Institute is not involved in the fund, but welcomes it with open arms.

"It's super great news. 35 millions is a wonderful start that will enable us to keep a number of Danish film productions in the country," says Claus Ladegaard, Head of DFI's Production and Development unit.