The Danish Film Institute is ready to prioritize computer games, acknowledging that the number of qualified projects are greater than the amount of support available.
During a panel debate at the Danish Film Institute, the director of the institute, Henrik Bo Nielsen, promised that the institution will increase it’s support of computer games. When asked to sum up the results of the panel debate, Henrik Bo Larsen confirmed, that the institute is committed to improving the conditions for the games industry.
“Let me start with a promise,” he said.
We want to prioritize games. If we are asked to prioritize it by the politicians, we’ll do it gladly, and if at all possible, we will also prioritize it, even if we are not asked to.
However, he also warned, that the games industry has to remember to show, that they are a cultural medium, if they want to receive cultural support. “If you don’t also have a point regarding the cultural value to accompany the debate, then […] you won’t get far in that discussion,” he said.
The last remark from Henrik Bo Nielsen no doubt points to the fact, that the Danish political parties will begin negotiating a new 4-year agreement on film policy in a few weeks. And as the Danish game support program is part of this policy, the funding for the next 4 years of game support will also likely be decided at the same time. So far, games have had a hard time profiling themselves as a cultural medium to Danish politicians. The Danish game support program is still relatively limited, with only $1 million available per year, compared to e.g. the situation in Norway, where cultural support for games is around $3.4 million per year.
However, in the official proposal from the Danish Film Institute regarding the upcoming film agreement, they have suggested increasing the funding for games, to bring it on par with Norway. In it, they suggest an increase of support funds to $3-5 million. The Film Institute had suggested that this additional funding should come from the media-licence fees, used to fund Danish public service medias. This, however, was something that did not come to fruition, when the Danish political parties laid out the usage of the licence-fee funds earlier this year.
Thankfully, the fact that the current cultural support program for games is insufficient, was clearly acknowledged by Henrik Bo Nielsen. “It’s one of the, if not the, support program [within the Film Institute], where there is the heaviest pressure -where we reject the largest number of qualified projects, and where there is a huge potential,” he said. But he also pointed out, that games did in fact sometimes get overshadowed by film.
I can sometimes regret that it’s so difficult to lift games up into the limelight. […] We never forget that there is something called film and feature film production, but sometimes you could come to believe, that it’s not everybody who have noticed, that computer games are a huge factor in the film agreement.
The deficiencies of the current game support program were also pointed out by Brian Meidel, CEO of Cape Copenhagen, during the panel. He described how the lack of proper production support (currently the program only supports concept-, and project development) meant, that productions supported by the program had great difficulties in achieving what he called “cultural escape velocity”. Meaning, that games were sometimes only developed up to a certain point, but from there on they didn’t have enough momentum to enter the marketplace in a proper fashion, resulting in cultural duds burning up during reentry.
Negotiations regarding the new Danish film agreement are expected to start within a few weeks.