Hanna Sköld: Bucking the System with New Ways of Film Finance and Distribution

written by: Richard Kastelein

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I was lucky enough to meet Hanna Sköld recently at the 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels in June and share some time with her discussing future disruption in the audiovisual world - both in TV and film... and her story is simply brilliant - a must 'hear'  any industry dinosaurs and incumbents who ratchet on about how they hold the reins on TV and film financing and, it takes deep pockets and a strong traditional network to make a successful audiovisual product. Several industry pundits were skeptical of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing in general at the event - but in essence - this new movement and phenomenon only helps big players validate what can and will work in the 'big' market. 

There are other ways to raise funds and market. And Hanna's foray into crowdfunding, building community, social dissemination and open sourcing content is proof that one can launch a successful brand and cultural meme using unorthodoxy in all facets of the process of film making.

Why do so many people choose to fund a project - in essence donating money to get it done? Why do so many people choose to donate time and skills in translating it for free, screening it, sharing it, and remixing it? 

Because it feels good.

For me, it's quite similar to the Open Source Software world where I have dwelling for a decade. People do it for kudos and the real currency is ego - not in a bad way. But because it makes them feel good.

Hanna is a Swedish writer and director that explores new narrative models for participatory storytelling and is best known for the unconventional way she produced and distributed her first feature film Nasty Old People, which had its premiere at the end of 2009 on the front page of The Pirate Bay.

Pirate Bay? Yes.

Four years ago Hanna Sköld did what few people dare to do - she took out a private bankloan to produce her film Nasty Old People and when it was done smacked a Creative Commons license on it, then collaborated with researchers and students connected to MEDEA, Malmö University on the distribution and marketing strategy of Nasty Old People and her film was distributed through The Pirate Bay and marketed through social media. The film quickly spread across 113 countries and was downloaded more than 50,000 times and live screenings erupted around the world. Translations were made into multiple languages, it was remixed by numerous other creatives, and it all became an overnight sensation.

Her critics were silenced.

Her second project “Granny’s Dancing on the Table” raised over 50,000 dollars at Kickstarter.

Together with you, we will create a granny-invasion! Because this time we are not only creating a film, we are creating a whole universe – the GRANNIVERSE – which includes a feature film, a psychcological adventure game and International Granny day.

Here is Hanna warmly thanking close to 1000 funders who backed her for more than 50,000 dollars to shoot her second film, Granny’s Dancing on the Table, at Kickstarter!

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Sköld went on to win the European Talent Prize, awarded by the European Union's Media program - “the prize singles out Media-funded projects with the greatest potential to reach a pan-European audience”. They also won the £6,000 ARTE Pixel Pitch Award from Power to the Pixel with Granny’s Dancing on the Table.

Here you can see Hanna talk about her experiences at Media Evolution: The Conference in Sweden.

Filmography
2012 Granny’s Dancing on the Table
2011 tantlängtan.
2009 Nasty Old People
2007 Sista Måltiden
2006 Tid för Te

Contact: hanna @ tangramfilm.se,

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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