As the new 4-year film and games agreement is ready to be negotiated in Denmark, Nordic Game Bits checked in with Producentforeningen, the trade organization for the Danish Game developers, to hear their take on the upcoming agreement.
If you ask Klaus Hansen, leader of Producentforeningen, the very top priority should be to get more financial resources for games to begin with. A wish they share with the Danish Film Institute, who is administering both the games– and film support programme in Denmark. In the proposal from the institute, they have suggested increasing the amount of funding for games by 400% – from $1 million per year, to $3-5 million per year.
“On the overall level, we are very much in line with the Film Institute, regarding the game support program,” says Hansen to Nordic Game Bits. “There might be details regarding how much should be production support and how we profile games as culture [where we have our differences], but basically we agree.”
Another thing Producentforeningen would like to see change, is the requirements in the program, saying that the supported games should be aimed towards kids and youth. “It’s an artificial division,” says Hansen. “So, in principle, we think it should be removed.” Having said that, he does point out that the focus on the younger audiences has helped games garner political support in the past, because tagging the cultural support as reserved for products for younger people makes it easier for the politicians to support.
In the debate leading up to the political negotiation, most attention has been given to a proposal from Producentforeningen themselves, which suggests that Danish Internet providers should subsidize a part of the film support, as some of their money is made from streaming films over the net – approximately $14 million. A controversial suggestion, that has seen tempers flare in both the film industry and at the internet providers. But even if the suggestion is aimed only at supporting film funding, Klaus Hansen believes that it could also benefit the game funding program, if the proposal was put into the final agreement.
“Right now, we are looking at film. And what has happened in this political process is, as it is often the case, that film takes up all the space. But I think one of the advantages the games industry has by being a part of Producentforeningen, which also represents film, is that film can open up some new doors.”
We have kicked off a debate that will also affect computer games – certainly in the future. So you could say that on a strategic level […] you would remove some of the pressure within the Film Institute, which will make it easier to find money for the games industry within the existing budget. For that is where the challenge is. There is a limited amount of money to go around.
Klaus Hansen points to Canada as an example to work towards. The Canadian Media Fund can fund a number of types of productions, including computer games.
One last wish from Producentforeningen is that the game funding program should also be able to give out production support. As it is right now, the program can only give out support to idea- or project development, but not production as such. This means that many supported projects have problems reaching a finished state in the shape originally envisioned. “It seems strange, that the program stops there,” says Hansen
The new film agreement is expected to be negotiated within the coming weeks.