MEDIA Salles at Kid Screen 1997
Villa Erba - Cernobbio, October 24, 1997
Speech by Ingrid Höglind
"The cooperation between the local cinema and the staff of the cultural board in order to make the cinema a meeting place and to increase the interest in films: the experience of Kungsbacka, Sweden
Ingrid Höglind, cultural secretary of the city of Kungsbacka and here representing Saga Bio (i.e. Saga Cinema) in Kungsbacka. The one and only cinema in the town.
Kungsbacka, population 62.000, is located 30 kilometres south of the second largest town in Sweden, Gothenburg
My reason for working with film is that film is magic, especially when it's shown and seen together with children and young people. No other medium can bring out feelings, explain complexities and focus small and everyday life, as well as the big sensations. This was very clear for me last night when, after the great meal we were invited to, I saw Cinema Paradiso as the late night film on Italian television. That film really is a trip down memory lane for me, because we had a sneak screening of it to celebrate one of our first terms of films for schools seven years ago. We also served wine and an Italian buffet (like yours) that evening. And if you know anything about Sweden you know that we have great restrictions on alcohol, and teachers are not used to be offered anything at teachers' seminars. By the way we started our cooperations with the schools with an evening at the cinema where we offered the teachers a film combined with a seminar, sandwiches and coffee; this despite the fact that coffee was withdrawn from teachers' ordinary meetings. Our approach was to ignore that and tell them that to us they were ordinary people, and ordinary people need coffee. And so the ice was broken...
However, from a political point of view, in Sweden film was not recognized as an independent form of art until last year. But in my hometown we worked with film long before. My own background is that I'm a journalist and I also worked as a production manager at Swedish Television for some years. So when I started on the cultural board, film was a natural topic for me even if at that time it wasn't hot on the political agenda. But it soon became so, because of the need to support the local cinema, Saga Bio, located in a miserable building, declining with the slumping economy, and even threatened with closure. It was in this crisis that the collaboration between the cultural board and the cinema started, in order to ensure the cinema's survival.
We started to reconstruct the cinema together and then we made efforts to use it throughout the day. For this we looked at pensioners and children as our target audiences. And we started screening for them both, with varying degrees of success.
Let's concentrate on the children here. The screenings became more important and better organised when, about ten years ago, we were among the first to receive a contribution from the Svedish Film Institute. We received this for three terms on condition that the local municipality and the cinema were prepared to take over the costs and go on with the screenings, once the trial period was completed. That really helped! We employed a teacher with experience in film, Birgitta Olsson, and invited schools to participate in the project. We started with a few schools, and then more and more began to join. Now we are screening for children from nursery school to upper secondary school. We asked all the schools to elect a contact person for film and today there is one at each school. With them we discuss how to work with the screenings, how to prepare them and how to integrate them into ordinary classwork. We support them with information about the films and their backgrounds, and we also give them a subscription to the magazine Zoom from the Swedish Film Institute.
Our concept is that the contact persons should feel that they belong to the cinema. Therefore we hold a number of several seminars with guests, directors or other people within the film industry in a wide sense, combined with sneak previews of new films. They should feel that we love them and their work, and that through them we reach the children and young people. The teachers are always offered a chance to see the films before they start working with a title, and before they see it together with the children. In the beginning some of the teachers felt that that they didn't know enough about film and they often felt that the children actually knew more about moving pictures. That feeling doesn't make a teacher either safe or strong. And so we tried to support with education. We try to repair the lack of knowledge that teachers feel by giving them possibilities to see as many films as possible at reduced prices. Teachers attending school-cinema have free entrance to our alternative screenings every Saturday.
Once a year we have a small festival together with 5 cultural clubs for children in our municipality. We screen shorts which the children would otherwise meet with only on television, and we organize a kind of festival around this. We have also developed screenings for children with mental disabilities and learning difficulties. We use shorts, preferably from everyday life, and combine it with a pedagogic dialogue. Then we rescreen the film once or twice. Sometimes we also invite the parents of these children to the screenings.
We have also arranged meetings between young people in schools and in our writing club with film and film directors. And these young people are sometimes also invited to the seminars we arrange for teachers.
Apart from this we have workshops for animations and now our film pedagogue is involved in a project to develop media boxes for schools with books, videos, records and tapes that together will give different aspects on specific topics. The boxes will be available in the libraries and information about them will be given on our website. The boxes will be presented for the first time at the Book and Library fair in Gothenburg next week.
Next month our cinema will celebrate its 60th birthday. We will mark this with several screenings throughout the day for one week. Usually a town like ours is too small to make that kind of schedule possible. But now we will try. We will be helped by a school class with children, 12 years of age. In a project they have studied film in all its aspects this term and they are going to participate in the anniversary by working in the cinema, helping with everything from marketing and selling tickets and candies to cleaning the floor between screenings.
The money we get from Euro Kids Network we are going to use for implementing new local projects, based on ideas from the schools connected to European films, in addition to the regular screenings we have established.
The politicians are now on our side. Last year a manifesto for film was established by the cultural board:
in the municipality of Kungsbacka, Sweden
In the Swedish national report SOU 1995:84 film is established as an independent artistic expression.
In Kungsbacka film has been firmly established in cultural policy since 1978, when the Cultural Board contributed to solve a temporary crisis of the local cinema in an old and run-down building. Following this, co-operation began and has gradually developed over the years. Today there are various forms of screening for different types of spectators. Besides regular commercial screenings in the evening, films are also regularly screened for schools, pre-schools, open day-care centers, children with mental disabilities and learning difficulties, pensioners. These are complemented by workshops for animations, seminaries, film clubs and various projects.

The cultural board emphasizes that:

Accepted by the Cultural Board 1996
If we look into the future we would like the Euro Kids Network to encourage schools with various types of film projects to make contacts, and we would appreciate it if we within the Network could develop systems to make it easy for schools to find each other. Maybe some chatting on the homepage would be one way. Being a member of the Network has increased our social status at home and it's a great help in marketing because the newspapers have given a lot of space to it. So I will finish by thanking you for our membership and we look forward to the money. Thank you.