Stockholm For Film Lovers
Could the Swedish capital be a destination for film lovers? Writer Christie Petrakopoulos says yes.
Going to the cinema is an alternative to predictable activities in Stockholm. With a rich cinema history, an industry that promotes young, creative and edgy filmmakers who create award-winning films, the existence of iconic cinemas built in the 1920s as well as a passion for film festivals, film lovers have many reasons to visit Stockholm.
Swedish film history dates back to the silent era and through the years it has been represented by important figures. From Victor Sjöström and Mauritz Stiller to the amazing Ingmar Bergman, Sweden has a long tradition of talented directors. Actresses like Ingrid Bergman (Casablanca, 1942), Greta Garbö (The Saga of Gosta Berling, 1924) and Anita Ekberg (La Dolce Vita, 1960) have certainly left their mark on Hollywood and because of their indisputable talent earned many awards.
Among the most recognisable modern Swedish cinematic heroes are Stellan Skarsgård and his sons Alexander, Gustaf and Bill along with 2016 Oscar winner for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Alicia Vikander. Also, who can forget Noomi Rapace’s portrayal of the outsider Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium trilogy (2009).
Following the creative path opened by the directors mentioned above, Roy Andersson (A Swedish Love Story, 1970), Lukas Moodysson (Show Me Love, 1998), Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, 2012), Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, 2008), are just a few Swedish directors whose films you have to watch.
There are multiple film festivals in Stockholm of different genres, providing access to some of the best Swedish and international films all year round.
Stockholm Film Festival (SFF)
Since 1990, SFF has been creating a platform for quality films to be screened in Stockholm.
With a hardworking team and a growing reputation, the festival urges young filmmakers to submit their films and organises not only screenings but also seminars and talk events with actors and directors, thus making the 12 day annual festival unforgettable. Apart from member screenings throughout the year, SFF takes place in November.
In April, cinema doors open again for Junior, a festival for children and youth between the age of 6 to 19.
In August, Sommar Bio makes Stockholm summer nights special with free film screenings in Rålambshovsparken.
SFF’s 27th edition will be marked by the presence of cinema veteran Francis Ford Coppola who will receive the Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award.
Tempo Documentary Festival
Founded in 1998, Tempo Documentary Festival has been taking place in March (since 2008) and presents documentaries from all over the world. By presenting creative works from different mediums such as film, photography, radio and trans-media, Tempo has established a forum for a creative and critical discussion around documentary.
Debuting in 2015, non-profit Latin-american film festival, Panoramica, is the first of its kind to be held in Stockholm. It’s one of the newest and promising festivals in the city. Held at the end of September, the three-day long festival aims to promote and distribute Latin American films in Sweden and create opportunities for discussion and cultural exchange through film. I
Acting as a platform for introducing African and African-diaspora films in Sweden, CinemAfrica was established in 1998. Through seminars, talk events and other social activities, the festival introduces African culture to Sweden and strives to educate while challenging African stereotypes.
Organised for the first time in 2014, STOCKmotion is a short film festival that invites filmmakers, young and old, to gather, screen and discuss their films. It’s a three-day event organised by Film Stockholm and takes place at Filmhuset giving filmmakers the chance to experiment with the moving image.
Launched in 2014, Stockholm’s Portuguese Film Festival, Frames, takes place in three cities; Stockholm Västerås and Gothenburg during selected days in February and March. The venue in Stockholm is no other than Filmhuset.
If you love India, you will love this film festival. Organised by India Unlimited, an organisation that promotes Swedish-Indian relations, together with the Embassy of India, Cinema Indien presents the best films this beautiful country has to offer that discuss issues related to gender and diversity. Think great and think beyond Bollywood.
Organised by Sveriges Film- och Videoförbund (Sweden’s Film and Video Association) , Sveriges Kortfilmfestival shows the best independent short films at a two-day festival at Bio Rio.
Stockholm Feminist Film Festival
Established in March 2016, Stockholm Feminist Film Festival is a three-day film festival organised in collaboration with The City of Stockholm which aims to raise awareness around gender equality in the film industry. During the event, women take centre stage, and I hope this festival will be loved by Stockholmers and will run annually. The festival venue is Zita Folkets Bio.
Since 2012, Cinema Queer has been broadening our knowledge beyond hetero-normative cinema in Sweden. This international film festival invites us to look beyond stereotypes and question everything we think we know. Zita Folkets Bio provides the venue for those HBTQ-stories to be heard.
From my personal experience with festivals, I know that volunteers are always needed. If you’re planning to stay in Stockholm for a while and you wish to help, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your favourite festival.