In collaboration with Swedish public broadcaster SVT, Swedish regional film centres Film i Vast and Filmpool Nord, the Swedish Film Institute has launched the Rookie film fund, which will finance five low-budget, (primarily) first features annually. Nordisk Film will handle both domestic release and international sales of the titles.

Headquartered at Film i Vast in Trollhattan, where Swedish director Andrea Ostlund has been signed as project manager, Rookie is intended to invigorate Swedish film by recruiting new talent with lots of energy and creativity.

'I hope the result will be package of unique, powerful and edgy movies,' said Ostlund, who - with consultant Per Nielsen - will make the first selection of projects to be presented to the management group representing the partners involved.

The first, eventually second-time feature film directors must have a personal voice and the urge to reach an audience through 'alternative, cheaper, quicker, simpler productions' of stories 'with a strong drive, where something really is at stake.' Filmmakers submitting projects will be told within ten weeks whether Rookie is interested in further discussions.

For consideration a project must have attached a Swedish-based production company with a track record of feature film productions. Budget maximum is $1.4m (Euros 1.08m), to which the fund will contribute 80%.

The management group includes the Institute's feature film consultants, Peter Gustafsson och Lisa Ohlin, SVT head of drama Gunnar Carlsson, Film i Vast's Jessica Dahlof Ask and Filmpool Nord's Sirel Peensaar-Miel.

Rookie is one of the counter-measures staged by the film institute to meet declining admission figures for local fare. In 2006 36 new Swedish features sold three million cinema tickets - down 300,000 (9%) from 2005. In a growing market (+5%), domestic productions controlled 20% of the theatrical market, against 22.6% the previous year.