Finland Dreams Up Its Own Bergman Island with Soderlangvik Residence Program: ‘We Want to Raise the Bar’

Soderlangvik Residence Program

Finland is gearing up to give the iconic Bergman Estate on Fårö a run for its money with a brand-new residency program designed for Nordic filmmakers. Located in Söderlångvik, on Kimito Island, this creative sanctuary was once the summer home of art benefactor Amos Anderson. The program is primarily aimed at actors and directors, offering them a fertile ground for collaboration and development.

This exciting venture is a partnership between the Föreningen Konstsamfundet association, originally established by Anderson in 1940, and the Helsinki International Film Festival—Love & Anarchy. The news is breaking exclusively through Variety, just in time for the 36th edition of the festival.

Anna Möttölä, the executive director of Love & Anarchy, states that comparisons to the famed ‘Bergman Island’ are apt. The goal is to make this new hub a catalyst for inspiration, fostering a community where artists can immerse themselves in their craft and learn from one another.

Stefan Björkman, the CEO of Konstsamfundet, emphasized the site’s one-of-a-kind nature, pointing out that Amos Anderson once had a cozy home theater in the basement during the ’30s and ’40s. It’s easy to picture Anderson engrossed in a screening of classics like Citizen Kane, he mused.

The initiative aims to go beyond just financial assistance. “We’re exploring different avenues to really elevate the filmmaking industry,” Björkman said. The focus isn’t just on monetary support but on nurturing the craft and uplifting the sector as a whole.

Anna Möttölä, executive director of Love & Anarchy, highlighted the “intergenerational” element of the upcoming program. The residency will officially open its doors with a first round of applications this spring, kicking off its inaugural run from May 3-5. The vision is to create a melting pot of talent where industry veterans and newcomers alike can collaborate and learn from each other.

Stefan Björkman, CEO of Konstsamfundet, stresses that the residency isn’t just for up-and-comers; it’s open to a diverse range of people. “Being established doesn’t mean you’ve reached your peak. There’s always room for growth,” he remarked.

The program has a Nordic-centric approach, a direction the festival and its industry component, the Finnish Film Affair, have been gradually veering towards. Maria Pirkkalainen-Barber, who heads both initiatives, emphasized the burgeoning demand for Nordic talent beyond Finland’s borders. “This is a game-changer for positioning Finland in the global audiovisual landscape. Nothing like this exists right now,” she said.

Anna Möttölä, Love & Anarchy’s executive director, echoed these sentiments, expressing excitement about the collaborative spirit among Nordic filmmakers. She said the festival aims to bolster its standing in the Nordic community while also extending its impact year-round. “We’ve reached a milestone in Finnish cinema, and it’s time for the next evolution. We’re committed to this for the long term,” Möttölä concluded.

While a masterclass led by a seasoned Nordic filmmaker is on the agenda, the core mission remains clear: fostering new relationships within the industry. “Finland can be a lonely place,” says Stefan Björkman, CEO of Konstsamfundet. “Our aim is to give film professionals a couple of days to immerse themselves in their craft, but not in isolation—rather, in collaboration with peers they might not have crossed paths with otherwise.”

The residency program is already set to host workshops in Jörn Donner’s former Helsinki apartment, where the late director and producer of “Fanny and Alexander” once lived. “Our goal is more than just a one-off encounter. We’re looking to spark connections that spawn even more connections down the line,” Björkman added.

Source: Variety

Written by Jacob Ant

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