Skål! A Closer Look at the Swedish Film Festival 2017

From left to right: Directors Roy Andersson, Karin af Klintberg, Lukas Moodysson, and Anders Helgeson.

Returning to The Projector for its 2nd Edition from 16 to 19 February, the Swedish Film Festival 2017 boasts a compact but powerful line-up. From a retrospective on the sparse and occasionally polarizing Swedish auteur Roy Andersson, to the works of established Swedish filmmakers, the Festival has something for everyone.

  • We Are the Best! // Vi är bäst! (2013)

Adapted from the graphic novel Never Goodnight by his wife Coco Moodysson, Lukas Moodysson's We Are the Best! is a warm Bildungsroman of three tween girls who decide to form a punk band.

Showing on 20 Feb, 8 pm. Tickets available here.

  • A Swedish Love Story // En kärlekshistoria (1970)

The stunning and successful debut of Swedish auteur Roy Andersson, A Swedish Love Story is a kooky romance between two teenager who falls in love despite the dismissal of adults who thought them nothing more than love drunk.

Showing on 19 Feb, 8 pm. Tickets available here.

  • World of Glory // Härlig är jorden (1991)

The work that marks the return of Roy Andersson into the film scene after the commercial and critical failure that was his sophomore feature Giliap, World of Glory is darkly comic look at a bleak world commissioned by the Gothenburg Film Festival for its 90 minuter 90-tal short film series.

Showing on 16 Feb, 8 pm with A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. Tickets available here.

  • Nice People // Trevligt folk  (2015)

A documentary in the spirit of the 1993 comedy Cool Runnings that follows a team of Somalian immigrants as they trained to compete in the  Bandy World Championship, Nice People is a thoughtful window into a social phenomenon that received much attention yet little understanding.

Showing on 18 Feb, 8 pm. Tickets available here.

  • A Separation // Att skiljas (2013)

A tragicomic look into her parents' divorce, Karin Ekberg's A Separation is a documentary that is at once heartbreaking and heartwarming as it traverses terrains and all its pitfalls of love.

Showing on 19 Feb, 2:30 pm. Tickets available here.

  • Songs from the Second Floor // Sånger från andra våningen (2000)

The first of Roy Andersson's Living Trilogy, Songs from the Second Floor is a compilation of vignettes centered around themes of modernity viewed with a tinted lens

Showing on 19 Feb, 5 pm. Tickets available here.

  • You, the Living // Du levande (2007)

The second work in Andersson's Living Trilogy, You, the Living too is a collection of sketches based around the tragicomic nature of life and living. 

Showing on 18 Feb, 2:30 pm. Tickets available here.

  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence // En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (2014)

The winner of the Gold Lion at the 71st Venice International Film Festival, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is Roy Andersson's final entry in the Living Trilogy. A series of tableaux that follows the attempts of two traveling novelty salesmen in selling their products, the film features Andersson's signature meticulous set designs and the existentialist comedy of being.

Showing on 16 Feb, 8 pm with World of Glory and a post-screening Q&A with Line Producer Johan Carlsson, and on 18 Feb, 5 pm by itself. Tickets available here (16 Feb) and here (18 Feb).


Beyond the lineup, here we also had a quick chat with the Swedish Ambassador to Singapore, Mr. Håkan Jevrell, on the work it took to make the Festival happen.

The Swedish Film Festival is now into its second edition. What prompted the initial collaboration?

In a way, it kind of just happened. It started with having an interest in doing something more substantial within the region, and seeing that film festivals seem to be doing well everywhere. Then, we met up with The Projector and came to the conclusion that they can be a really good partner—it was easier to work with them than the big players, because they are niche, well thought-out, and not really bound to the big blockbusters and popcorn flicks going on in the cinema world. For us, we thought it was quite a perfect match, and thus this came out quite early in the discussions

As we celebrated fifty years of diplomatic relations between Sweden and Singapore last year, we were driven to do something bigger. Since then, we have seen the warm responses and we realized that it was a good thing, so why not continue this endeavor?

Now, we really look forward to it and we hope we could keep on doing it. I thought it was a lot of fun, and it is incredibly gratifying to see that Singaporean audience seems to appreciate Swedish films.

What were your biggest helps or obstacles to holding an event such as this?

We are actually really lucky that the Swedish Institute back in Sweden worked with the Swedish Film Institute to present a selection of Swedish films every year that we at the embassies and other Swedish entities can use for purposes like this.

This selection is a box of eight films that the Swedish Institute have negotiated with the Swedish filmmakers and producers to provide for free to embassies and other institutions abroad for events whose only purpose is to further Swedish culture. The advantages of having this box is that all legalities and administrative processes were already resolved by the Swedish Institute and Swedish Film Institute in Sweden, which allowed us to skip all the complications regarding the films and focus on organizing the film festival.

Of course, to run a film festival requires us to broaden the breadth of what films we screen, but I think that we have been able to manage as far as ideas go, and there were good collaborations with the filmmakers and distributors, so the entire process has been relatively smooth.

Both fortunately and unfortunately, since not many Swedish films have actually made it all the way here to Singapore the normal commercial way, we did not need to be in discussions with the big cinema companies and distributors regarding screening rights and other sundry details, because we are not competing with them. This also made things easier.

One hurdle we did face is that because we are a very small embassy, we do not have a huge amount of resources to spare—we all had to work till the final moments right before the opening. Thank goodness that The Projector is such a trim and flexible organization, that our collaboration really did go as smoothly as it did.
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