Cinema chain calls for security cameras

Sweden's largest cinema chain, SF Bio, has applied for permission to introduce security cameras in two of its cinemas in Malmö.

The company’s decision follows a growing threat to both staff and guests in its Filmstaden and Royal cinemas.

“This is not a general requirement in Swedish cinemas, but in Malmö we have escalating problems with disturbances, robbery and threats,” said Steve Södergren, who is head of the chain.

Södergren told Svenska Dagbladet that gangs have been going into the auditoriums and sitting in the wrong seats in order to cause trouble and throw things at the rest of the audience.

While banks, post offices and shops may use security cameras without special permission, other organisations, including cinemas, must have a permit from the local council.

In 2003 an application from SF Bio for cameras in Stockholm cinemas was refused. The company was told to find other ways of dealing with the problem because to introduce cameras in a recreational area was thought to be “particularly sensitive”.

In the same year, the Västra Götaland council approved the introduction of cameras in a cinema in Gothenburg but the Chancellor of Justice’s appeal against the decision was upheld.

But the situation in Malmö is, as SF Bio put it to SvD, “in a class of its own where trouble and violence is concerned”.

The city’s police have had to cut short screenings on at least three occasions and even children’s matinée performances have been disrupted.

The company says it wants to put cameras in the ticket office and foyer areas and submitted copies five police reports in support of its application.

A decision is expected after the summer holiday.

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, Skånska Dagbladet


How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic

A front-line Swedish nurse is getting some Covid downtime with a week of private screenings of the Gothenburg film festival, in a former lighthouse off the country's west coast.

How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic
Competition winner Lisa Enroth.

More than 12,000 candidates from 45 countries applied to watch the festival's films in almost near isolation on an island 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Stockholm.

The prize is a week viewing as many of the festival's 70 premieres as they like in a hotel in the former Pater Noster Lighthouse. But they will be in isolation and will have no access to their own computer or laptop.

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The bright-red lighthouse, built on a tiny island off Sweden's west coast in 1868, is surrounded by a scattering of squat, red buildings originally built to house the lighthouse keeper's family. It can only be reached by boat or helicopter, depending on the weather.

After a series of interviews and tests, festival organisers chose emergency nurse and film buff Lisa Enroth for the prize, in keeping with the 2021 festival's theme, Social Distances.

Before boarding a small speedboat out to the island on the clear, chill winter's morning, Enroth said she had applied not only out of her love for the cinema, but also to seek respite from her hectic work as an emergency nurse during the pandemic.

“It has been hectic, so it's a nice opportunity just to be able to land and to reflect over the year,” she said.

Months working amid Covid crisis

Sweden, which has taken a light-touch approach to the pandemic compared to its neighbours, has been facing a stronger than expected second wave of the virus. So far, more than 11,500 people have died from Covid-19 across the country.

Enroth works in the emergency ward of a hospital in Skovde in central Sweden. Since the start of the pandemic, her hospital's work caring for virus patients on top of their regular workload has been intense.

Lisa Enroth on her way to the remote festival location. Photo: AFP

“We had a lot of Covid cases during this year and every patient that has been admitted to the hospital has been passing through the emergency ward,” she told journalists.

The organisers said they were surprised by the numbers of applicants for the prize but were confident they had chosen the right candidate — not only for her love of cinema.

“She has also dedicated this past year in the frontline against the Covid-19 pandemic,” the festival's creative director Jonas Holmberg said to AFP.

“That's also one of the reasons we chose her”. 

Isolated screenings

Boarding the boat dressed in a thick survival suit, Enroth sped over the calm, icy waters, jumping off in the island's tiny harbour and disappearing into her lodgings.

A screen has been set up in the lantern room at the top of the windswept island's lighthouse, offering a 360-degree view of the sea and coastline around.

Another wide screen has been set up in one of the island's buildings.

Enroth will also have a tablet and headphones if she wants to watch films elsewhere on the island, which measures just 250 metres by 150 metres.

With only one other person staying permanently on the island — a safety precaution — Enroth's only contact with the outside world will be through her video diary about the films she has viewed.

The festival's films will be shown online and two venues in Gothenburg itself will allow screenings for just one person at a time.

Holmberg, the festival's creative director, said he hoped events like these would maintain interest in the industry at a time when many screens are closed because of pandemic restrictions.

“We are longing so much to come back to the cinemas and in the meantime we have to be creative and do the things that we can to create discussion,” he told journalists.