Norwegian distributor Kommunenes Filmsentral (KF) is considering various survival strategies following the decision by one of its major product sources, Buena Vista, to establish its own office in the country.
KF also recently lost 20th Century Fox's titles after the international distributor decided to open a Norwegian outpost, headed by former KF managing director Bjorn Jacobsen (ScreenDaily, August 4).
KF is owned by 42 Norwegian municipalities, with the cities of Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim holding the biggest shares. Oslo City Council has signalled that it is no longer interested in part-owning KF, due to its vulnerable market position, and the other cities councils are expected to follow suit.
KF chairman Hans Svelland said the company's remaining staff have requested a management buy-out. "We have asked our stockholders to hand the company over to the KF staff, and we expect a quick response," Svelland said, admitting that the only other option is to close the company which has now lost 95% of its product.
"We believe that KF has too many in-house resources and competence to fade away. We also know that we are able to run other film-related activities besides distribution, and hope to establish KF as a consultancy in the film industry," Svelland said.
KF, established in 1919, accounted for 26% of the Norwegian distribution market in 1999. Inger Warendorph, currently sales manager at KF, will head Buena Vista's new Norwegian office which is set to open in Oslo on December 1.