Visitors to Faro included Istvan Szabo, cinematographer Manuel Alberto Ciaro and Henning Mankell (who has written forthcoming biopic series to be directed by Susanne Bier).

The eighth edition of Bergman Week, the seven-day festival celebrating the work and life of Ingmar Bergman, drew to a close this Sunday, with organizers heralding its best-ever ticket sales.

Taking place on Fårö, the Baltic island where Bergman lived from the early 1960s to his death in 2007, Bergman Week’s series of events included lectures from visiting filmmaker István Szabó, a workshop with Melancholia cinematographer Manuel Alberto Ciaro and a guided tour of some of the locations of the four features that Bergman made on the island, including Persona and Shame.

Bergman Week is aninitiative of the Bergman Center, an agency dedicated to promoting the Swedish director’s reputation at home and overseas. The festival is perhaps the most public expression of this aim, but Center head Jannike Åhlund hopes to establish more lasting opportunities for visitors to the island to learn of Bergman’s legacy.

“The worry is the Bergman fans visiting Fårö will simply go to the graveyard and stare at the stone,” she explains. For the past five years, Åhlund has been planning the establishment of a more permanent Bergman heritage centre in an old school, near the island ferry dock. It currently houses an exhibition marking Bergman’s relationship with the local islanders, but Åhlund hopes to raise fundsto realise architects Tham & Videgård plans to remodel the building into a
dedicated museum and venue.

“We’re looking for about 2 million Euros,” she explains, although admits to feeling frustrated so far with support from the
state and private sector. “If we don’t find the funds, we’ll have a creative shuffling of ideas.”

Åhlund can at least expect to capitalize on the renewed interest in Bergman that is likely to occur with the production next year of four-part TV biopic on the director (to be called Bergman). The script has been written by Henning Mankell,
best known as the writer of the Wallander novels. Mankell was on Fårö to discuss the series, which Susanne Bier will direct.

He’s yet to discuss with his director who will play the lead role, although he added that he is to have say in casting this crucial part. Discussing his approach distilling the life of the filmmaker, who was famously married five times and had nine children with different women, Mankell said that the series will explore “the high price an artist like Bergman pays for the life he lives.”

Married to one of Bergman’s daughters and a frequent visitor to the island when Bergman was alive, Mankell said his script will explore the way Bergman’s art frequently took priority over his personal relations. “You think about your work
and forget about your family.”