Citizen Schein, which charts the life of Swedish Film Institute founder Harry Schein, has been nominated for Best Documentary at the 40th Göteborg Film Festival (January 27th – February 6th 2017).
Austrian Harry Schein arrived in Sweden in 1939 at the age 15 as an unaccompanied minor. He trained as an engineer, patented a water purification system and eventually took over the company he worked for, which he then sold in 1960.
Schein then founded the Swedish Film Institute, and introduced the Film Reform of 1963, which drew 10 percent of box office sales into a central fund to support Swedish films. This ecosystem allowed such icons as Ingmar Bergman, Bo Widerberg, Jan Troell to flourish.
Jannike Åhlund, who directed Citizen Schein along with Maud Nycander and Kersti Grunditz Brennan, told SVT:
“We were surprised that there hadn’t been a film about him sooner… He was in public life for decades and achieved so much… With the film reform, he actually saved the Swedish film industry. It was about to be completely wiped out by television.”
“There wasn’t as much material as you might hope for when putting together a documentary. Whilst there is footage of Harry, it is in his official role and rather dull. He was at his best in written form, so we really tried to bring his columns and quotes to life. But how we went about it will be a surprise.”