Swedish short film platform offers curated video-on-demand programmes

In late October 2008, the Swedish video-on-demand platform “” presented its first thematic programmes put together by external curators. Called Vision IN/OUT, the project comprises four programmes of 15 to 30 Swedish and international short films each.

The categories in Vision IN that take a cinematic look ‘inward’ are “Ungt blod” (Young Blood) and “Perspective”. “Young Blood” presents films by up-and-coming filmmakers that deal with their own life experiences. These selections were chosen by curators Ulrika Bokstad and Maria Ahlin from the “Ví¥rrollen” festival. “Ví¥rrollen” (Spring Roll) is a pedagogical school media project.

“Perspective” is a programme of documentaries that take various viewpoints on the genre and exemplify different methodologies. The spectrum ranges from experimental films such as HONG KONG (Gerard Holthuis, NL) to short, witty observations like USELESS DOG (Ken Wardrop, Ireland) and classic documentaries including THE RUSSELL TRIBUNAL (Staffan Lamm, S), to staged films such as DU VAR Dí˜R MED DIN POLARE FRANK (Ola Simonsson & Johannes Stjí¸rne Nilsson, S). Curator of this programme was Niclas Gillberg, a film scholar who has been working since 2001 – at times as director – for the International Short Film Festival Uppsala.

Vision OUT is likewise made up of two programmes: “Minoritet >< Sprí¥k” (Minority / Language) and “Queer”. The latter is presented as a programme on ‘society’s most established outsider culture’ and is meant to demonstrate this culture’s heterogeneity. Included are films of all genres and types. These films as well were curated by festival staff: Erik Alm and Robert Bergh from the Stockholm Queer Film Festival.

Of the four, “Minoritet >< Sprí¥k” is the programme with the most comprehensive and international scope. Among the films chosen are TOI WAGUIH (Namir Abdel Messeeh, Egypt), BLUE, KARMA, TIGER (Cecilia Actis & Mia Hulterstam, S), ORQUESTA TIPICA (Lucas Gath, ARG), EXITOCORE (Nicolas Provost, B), RUGBY BOYZ (Khavn, Philippines) and SOUP OVER BETHLEHEM (Larissa Sansour, Palestine). This ambitious line-up was compiled by Christoffer Olofsson, who has been head of programming at the Uppsala International Short Film Festival for the past 10 years.

Overall supervisor of the Vision IN/OUT series is the current director of Filmkontakt Nord, Karolina Lidin, who has made a name for herself not only in the North, through her activities at the Danish and Swedish film institute, but also on the international film scene.

The project represents an innovative extension to the programming at “”. Up until now, films were selected by the provider and merely ‘sorted’ according to genre and categories. What’s new is the introduction of thematically oriented channels, along with the fact that the programmes are selected by external film experts from industry institutions or the film scene. The platform is thus following the current trend towards selected quality content seen elsewhere as well (see our article “Content Quality in Web 2.0” ).

For provider Glimz AB, the Vision IN/OUT project offers the added advantage of public support for its programme of “quality films” from Framtidens Kultur (Foundation for the Culture of the Future). It is questionable, however, whether the thematic coherence of programmes like those we are familiar with from the cinema or festivals is perceived in the same way by Internet users. After all, viewers are asked to pay a fee of 5 SKR to watch each of the films in the programme.

Reinhard W. Wolf

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