Lund, Skåne Lan, Sweden – 07.December 2011, 05:24am – Bus stop Universitetssjukhuset – one girl waiting to hop on the Skåne Expressen #6 to Ystad. Why Ystad you might wonder, and why at this god forsaken time? For somebody working in the film and TV industry in Sweden probably the only and correct answer would be: I bet they are filming another Wallander down there again. And indeed they did.
As some of you may know, Kurt Wallander is one of the most famous police inspectors of Sweden. Not in real life, mind you, but in the books by Henning Mankell, who has written more than 12 crime novels all revolving around the grumpy police man in one of the southern most points of Sweden, in Ystad – which, according to the books, apparently has one of the highest crime rates in Sweden.
Mariagatan, Ystad, where Wallander lives
Based on these books, a very successful and popular TV and film franchise has been born. 9 Swedish films based on the books, a TV series over 2 seasons being a Swedish-German co-production, and last but not least, the latest adaptation of the Wallander books originating in Great Britain for the BBC. In the British BBC production Kenneth Branagh is playing the title role of Wallander, who is currently nominated for an Oscar. So why is this important?
Wallander has an immense popularity in Germany, not so much amongst the mid 20s viewers, but nonetheless all of the Swedish and British productions have been released in Germany as well. While this was also part of my decision, it was not the only one which made me come to Lund to study the international Master program for Film and Media Producing. I have been studying here now since September 2010 – and have not regretted my decision ever since. The Swedish education system has so far kept its promises, and I don’t think I have to tell you how great a student environment Lund University is.
In my program, there are about 20 students coming from 8 different countries with backgrounds from purely business related until journalism and media production related programs. But we all came with the same goal: becoming a film and media producer.
Ystad - filming wallander exterior
When you think of Sweden, the local TV and Film business does not come to mind immediately. But once I started working in the field, started making contacts and increase my network - which has been an integral part of our program - I realised that there is a lot going on in media production here in Sweden. Even in Skåne itself, there are quite a few film schools, some for directing, or script writing, or other film production related topics. Then, there are several institutions which support young filmmakers in Skåne, like the regional film authority Film i Skåne, which is located in Ystad. There, they also have the Ystad Studios, in which almost all the Wallander series and films have been shot so far. But there is also Filmcentrum Syd and BoostHBG, which offer help with knowledge and equipment. So a lot is being done even down here in Southern Sweden to improve and grow the media landscape.
Ystad Studio, Filming Wallander
In Lund itself, there is, of course, Steve, the Student TV i Lund. Steve is an actual TV channel which is broadcasted 24 hours a day to over 46.000 households in and around Lund. The channel is completely operated by Students from Lund University, and everyone with an interest in TV production can help out – behind and in front of the camera. Me and two other students from my program have been producing a TV show during spring 2010 called The Box, which was a lot of fun and a perfect learning experience. There’s something for everyone, no limitations.
Apart from that, the students from my program got together last year to produce a short movie in the style of New York I love You, namely a short movie consisting of 4 shorter movies – I directed one of them. With the support of several official institutions, we produced the film completely by ourselves, from script to editing. Finally, we were able to enter the Pixel – Skånes Shortfilmfestival, where our short film was screened to a large audience. So yes, even with regards to festivals, Skåne has a lot to offer! (you should also check out Buff – the international children and young people’s film festival in Malmö, and also the FFF – Fantastisk Filmfestival in Lund.)
Steve Studio - shooting the Box
But back to me, standing at the bus stop at 5:24am – and yes, I am going down to Ystad to work on the latest Wallander production, this time round again produced for the BBC. And even though I stood face to face with Kenneth Branagh, it was not yet as the film producer I hope to be one day, but as a one of the “smallest” people on location, a Set Runner – cause that’s where everyone has to start. But it has been a starting point for many great producers nonetheless.
More info: Britta Heimann
Posted on: Jan 26, 2012 at 4:08 PM