Director slams Swedish TV

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Director slams Swedish TV

Swedish Television can't seem to get a break at the moment, but at least the media has begun to focus on a scapegoat. Magdalenea Jangard, chief of drama for Swedish Television West, first made the news a while back with the big Birro/Hobert squabble (the writer and director who expressed their mutual loathing via open letters to the media, remember?). Now she's back in the news as the possibly-evil figure behind the new crisis of artistic freedom in Sweden.


Earlier this summer it was reported that Swedish Television had fired Filippa Pierrou, writer and director of a series entitled "Bonsai" that was to air this autumn. The lead actors on the series sent an open letter to the media condemning Swedish Television's actions and there was a murmuring in the press about a possible actors' strike.

It was reported at the time that Pierrou was fired for problems with her working environment and an inability to stay on budget. But she countered this week in Aftonbladet, saying that she couldn't have possibly gone over budget, as the budget was in the hands of the producers and a secret to her; rather, she argued that Swedish Television fired her after she refused to rewrite the series at short notice to get rid of the two final episodes.

"It would have been a whole new ending. I couldn't accept that and when I refused they fired me," explained Pierrou. Whatever the reasons for her abrupt dismissal, she seems to have almost total support of the cast and crew of the series, and they have demanded that she be reinstated.

This week executives from Swedish Television met with the series' cast but the next morning, when filming was to be resumed, apparently no one had any plans to show up. Johan Rabaeus, one of the series' lead actors, went to the press with an e-mail he'd received from executives saying that he'd be breaking his contract if he didn't show up, which he perceived as a threat.

"They demanded that I should appear according to my contract or I would be breaking the law. I think that threats are a bad way to send a message - especially when I don't have a valid contract."

Let's hope someone had the foresight to make a behind-the-scenes documentary of the production.



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