The Swedish Film Institute (SFI) has taken the unprecedented step of withdrawing its financial support of $540 000 (SEK 5m) for the screen adaptation of 2001 local bestseller, Popular Music From Vittula (Popularmusik Fran Vittula). The funding would have made up a quarter of the film's budget.
The dramatic move comes after the SFI discovered that some of the application documents for its financial support had been falsified - its suspicions having been aroused by a series of internal conflicts on the production. Earlier this year, the film's director, Geir Hansten Jorgensen, quit the project after a disagreement with the producer, Joachim Stridsberg of Happy End Production.
According to the managing director of the Swedish Film Institute, Ase Kleveland, Stridsberg has now admitted that he signed some of the application documents in the in the name of the, now departed, director.
"Our decision is a question of principle. Since the documents have not proved to be correct, this is the most concrete and distinct way for the Film Institute to act. We handle the tax payers' money, and we cannot support a project that is against the rules" Kleveland told Screendaily.
Kleveland said that although she knew of no previous case of the SFI withdrawing its funding from a film production, it was still technically possible for Popular Music From Vittula to get financial support from the Film Institute - if the producer were to make a new (acceptable) application.
The producer said the withdrawal of funds was a reverse for the production, but that the film would probably still be made despite the delay that this would cause.