Back in 1990 the initiative to the festival was taken by Ignas Scheynius and Kim Klein together with present festival director Git Scheynius- three film enthusiasts who felt that Stockholm should have a film festival of international rank. During Cannes Film Festival a fax went out to Swedish media announcing the first edition of Stockholm International Film Festival would take place the same fall.
A small group of professionals within the film industry along with the assistance of some 200 festival volunteers helped make this first edition of Stockholm International Film Festival become a reality. David Lynch's »Wild at Heart« opened the Festival at Astoria that also served as the main theatre for the festival where the ceremonies were held. During 4 days in November a total of 45 films were screened.
Each year the festival's organization has expanded until it reached its current state of an all year round festival with outdoor screenings in the summertime, imports, distribution venues and monthly membership screenings. In only a few years the program had grown to 100 films and in 2006 the number had reached beyond 170.
In the past 22 years some 3000 movies from all over the world has been screened at the Festival and celebrated guests like Dennis Hopper, Lauren Bacall, Gena Rowlands, Ang Lee, David Cronenberg, Roman Polanski, Terry Gilliam and Elia Kazan have all attended the Festival.
The festival is also recognized for its ability to promote and offer a venue for young and unestablished filmmakers. As many as a third of the films selected are made by a debuting director and only directors who have made less than 3 films are selected for the competition.
The aim for Stockholm International Film Festival is to broaden the selection of films in Sweden with creative new films of high quality and to offer the visitor an orientation within modern film to stimulate a continuing debate. With seminars, opportunities to meet actors and filmmakers during Face2Faces along with the extensive catalogue, all means are given to make the film experience come full circle.
Stockholm hosts the first of its very own Film Festival as the founders Ignas Scheynius, Kim Klein and Git Scheynius (current head of the Festival) launches a film fest lasting four days in November. And what a launch it was! David Lynch's »Wild at Heart« opens the festival and independent film legend Roger Corman attends. 45 films are screened during the four days and Everett Lewis' debut film »Natural History of Parking Lots« is awarded the festivals very own prize The Bronze Horse. Seminars dealing with the topic of film and television co-existence forecasts the coming climate of the 1990's for television and film. Stockholm is the first of the Scandinavian festivals to be authorised by FIAPF (Federation of Film Produscers Associations) as well as being granted the right of having an international jury of critics by FIPRESCI (Fédération Internaionale de la Presse Ciématographique). The first scholarship for film, 1 km film, makes its debut. The scholarship is created to support the development of Swedish film by giving young filmmakers the funds to make a short. The winning contribution is screened for the first time during the festival the year after. Among the winners of this scholarship are Magnus Carlsson, Ella Lemhagen, Jens Jonsson and Daniel Wallentin.
Dennis Hopper is honorary guest of this years' festival. He introduces all the screenings of his films in person and stays for many of the screenings to watch. Lars von Trier and Ernst-Hugo Järegård also attend the festival and are happy to answer the journalists' sometimes pretentious analyses of the film »Europa«, which is also awarded Best Film that year. 7000 members bought 35000 tickets for this brand new venue for film enthusiasts. As part of the goal to broaden the Scandinavian selection of innovative quality film Stockholm International Film Festival starts all year round screenings. Among the events, the brand new Magazine Mabuse offers monthly membership screenings and show films currently relevant as well as offers outdoors screenings in Kungsträdgården. The festival expands to ten days and the program contains up to 100 films. Opening this years' festival is »Barton Fink« by the Coen Brothers.
The theme for this festival is The Future and a fourth of the films represented are made by a debuting director. A new section is set up for the shorts and Viveca Lindfors attends the festival as an honorary guest. She presents her favourites. Quentin Tarrantino also attends and accepts his first prize given by a festival ever. He is awarded the Bronze Horse for his directing debut »Reservoir Dogs« which also opens the festival. During the days of the festival a seminar is given on digital video making and it attracts much attention. A book on Pedro Almodóvar is released by publishing company Stockholm International Film Festival Library, a launch later to be followed with books on Krystof Kieslowksi and David Cronenberg.
Mabuse magazine changes name to Cinema and the first edition of a new kind of film magazine is launched. The Festival presents films under the motto "Film for all the Senses" and the Minister for Culture; Birgit Friggebo is there for the opening ceremony screening the film »True Romance« by Tony Scott. Because of the section Spotlight: Tromaville, Lloyd Kaufman guests Stockholm with his cult films about Toxic Avenger and other crazy characters. Mike Leigh is hailed for his script for »Naked« and French director Bertrand Blier collects the Bronze Horse with the compelling »Un, deux, trois soleil«.
Stockholm International Film Festival celebrates its fifth birthday and a record breaking number in audience attends. »Clerks« by Kevin Smith and »Before the Rain« by Milcho Manchevskis receives special attention. Quentin Tarantino returns with »Pulp Fiction« and collects the Bronze Horse for Best Film for the second time. Tarantino is also honorary guest and picks ten films that have influenced his filmmaking. "This is one of my favourite festivals!" says an overjoyed Tarantino and many agree with him, the love for film spreads all over town.
Film celebrates its 100th birthday and the debate on censorship is commented on by having the banned »Desperado« by Robert Rodriguez opening the festival. The brothers Ethan and Joel Coen comes to visit and picks their favourites. The Bronze Horse goes to twins Timothy and Stephen Quays for their »Institute Benjamin« and honorary guest is Jean-Paul Gaultier, the big fashion icon and costume designer in many acknowledged films. This year Stockholm International Film Festival is also the first festival ever to be represented on the Internet, following its sneak premier of the festival program back in 1994.
Rod Steiger is honorary guest and a selection of his films are screened, among others »On the Waterfront« by Eliza Kazan and »In the Heat of the Night« by Norman Jewison. Actor Steve Buscemi guests the festival with his directing debut »Tree's Lounge«. He exclaims how grateful he is the audience has chosen to see his movie instead of staying home to watch the MTV-awards. "One of the best festivals I've ever been to. Low key, very friendly, excellent selection of films. The Stockholm Film Festival rules!" says Buscemi. The Coen brothers are back at the Festival and gains great success with their film »Fargo«. With them Frances McDormand attends the screening with a baby stroller and all. Monica Pellizzari is awarded best debuting director this year with »Fistful of Flies« and »Pretty Village, Pretty Flame« by Srdjan Dragojevic is awarded best film.
»The Ice Storm«, »Copland« and »Lawn Dogs« are a few of the big films this year. Udo Kier pays a visit and Hollywood legend Elia Kazan, 88 years, is honorary guest and in section "Kazan by Kazan" screens nine favourites from his vast production. Also Paul Morrissey chooses favourites from his collaboration with Andy Warhol. The Swedish paper Svenska Dagbladet writes "The best thing about Stockholm Film Festival are the film makers attending. The heads of the festival show excellent ability in finding innovative stars like the director Paul Morrissey and cult actor Udo Kier and in bringing them here". With the upcoming year as Culture Capitol 1998, Sweden's grand master in film criticism, Nils Petter Sundgren presents 3 films capturing and depicting Stockholm. Nicholas Barkers »Unmade Beds« brings home the Bronze Horse and eventually becomes one of many films shown at the festival to premier at the regular Swedish theatres.
In the beginning of the year the Festival arranges screenings at the Central Station in Stockholm. Among others the German expressionist masterpiece »Metropolis« is shown. The ninth edition of Stockholm International Film Festival is dedicated to Akira Kurosawa and a new section for Asian Images is introduced. A new record in audience numbers is set and it's estimated that the festival events have had some 70 000 visitors. Srdjan Dragojevic is awarded the Bronze Horse for the second time, this year for the film »The Wounds«. Gena Rowlands is one of 60 international guests to visit Stockholm. As honorary guest she presents a selection of her films and receives The Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award. Among other guests, the noted Japanese director Yoshimasa Tshibashi chooses to get married during the Festival in Seglora church.
The festival continues to create a platform for the art of film in Sweden. This year theatre Skandia, a precious cultural heritage in Stockholm is once again operating through a joint effort by Stockholm International Film Festival, Triangelfilm, SF and the Swedish Film Institute. Distribution company Edge Entertainment is launched to increase quality film distribution in Sweden. In November the festival celebrates its tenth year anniversary and raises a debate with this years spotlight: Sinema. Many exciting international guests attend and Roman Polanski is honorary guest. Among the competing films the powerful »Boys Don't Cry« stands out and director Kimberly Peirce is in Stockholm for the screening. There was also a happy reunion with Gaspar Noé, who this time attended as a member of the jury. »Les Convoyeurs Attendent« is awarded the Bronze Horse.
The new festival for children and youth film is launched during spring. Junior is a separate festival produced for young film enthusiasts between ages 6 and 16 to give hem equal opportunity to watch, discuss and write about quality film. Distribution company Edge Entertainment launches the provocative favourite »Seul Contre Tous« as its first launch in Sweden ever. A section screening on the Internet called ifestival is created by the Stockholm International Film Festival as one of the first festivals in the world with a worldwide audience. In 2000 over 500 000 are watching online. Lauren Bacall comes to Stockholm to receive Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award and at Skandia a memorable Face2Face is held with Nils-Petter Sundgren. Swedish artist Olle Ljungström and director Linus Tunström are in the festival jury and begin conversations on making a film out of it. Maroquan Ali Zaoua brings home the Bronze Horse and British »Billy Elliot« leaves everyone including the FIPRESCI-jury awestruck.
This twelfth edition of the festival breaks all records despite current circumstances in the world affecting the air traffic rendering many reluctant of getting on an airplane. Musicals are a common motif in the program list with sparkling glam rocker »Hedwig and the Angry Inch« and Spotlight of the year Bollywood a festival high is created. Four four hour epics with Mission: Kasmir och Lagaan - Once Upon A Time In India among others screened in sold out theatres leading to spontaneous dancing between the chairs in the theatres. French legend and continuous new thinker Jean-Luc Godard is awarded Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award at the same time as his latest film Éloge de l 'amour makes it's Nordic premiere at the festival. Larry Clarks controversial Bully is awarded the Bronze Horse and Chinese Zuotian brings home the critics prize for Quitting. Norwegian Elling is the big favourite of the audience but finally Léa Pools boarding school film Lost and Delirious brings home the prize of the audience. Edge Entertainment establishes video distribution and releases several favourites from earlier festivals on video.
Hoards of people from Stockholm in the mood for film witness a couple of the most surprising events ever to take place under the festival sky. Gaspar Noés violent Irréversible competes for the first time since the festival in Cannes and is awarded the prize of the Bronze Horse while Carlos Reygadas epic show in existentialism Japón brings home the audience prize and America The Slaughter Rule wins the critics prize. Erland Josephson, one of Swedens most recognized and well thought of actors, authors and Bergman collaborator is guest of honour and is celebrated with a retrospective and as custom the 7,3 kilo Bronze Horse. The unstable situation for the theatres in Stockholm is palpable and festival theatres Rival, Park and Riviera faces the threat of termination. The festival is forced to alternative solutions - such as screening films in Citizen House under construction and also reinstate the old Pärlan made by architect Gunnar Asplund, now functioning as a conference centre.
The 14:th year of the film festival in Stockholm is opened by Quentin Tarantinos longed for Kill Bil volym 1. Svenska Dagbladet writes that this film concludes the entire film festival: "Kill Bill is an opening following the style of a festival which has always liked to provoke." Among other films premiering in Sweden at the festival are Gus Van Sant's acknowledged and noted Columbine drama Elephant. This years Spotlight Thai Cinema offers a diverse set of film experience from the Far East. Honorary guest is the incredible filmmaker with a mind of his own, David Lynch. News Paper The Guardian awards Lynch the same year as the most important contemporary director. This judgement seems to reflect well with the audience who rushes to the Festival to see his films and face2face. All in all 160 films are screened. German debuting director Michael Schorr accomplishes the most and is awarded the Bronze Horse for best film and best screenplay with his film Schultze Gets the Blues.
The festival celebrates its 15:th birthday and is described as "broad and equal." Out of the sixteen films competing, eight have been directed by women. As first Swedish film to compete Masjävlar by Maria Blom. Woody Allens Melinda and Melinda opens the festival. Some of the Film Industries heavy weights also visit this years festival as veteran Oliver Stone accepts Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award for his ever challenging and successful films. With him he brings mastodon Alexander which premiers in Europe at the festival. Todd Solondz who unabashedly challenges and explores our most intimate dark places, is awarded the new prize Visionary Award for his creative new thinking in film and screens his Palindromes. Edgar Reitz the man behind the Television epic Heimat, attends with the latest part in the trilogy. "When I was deciding which festivals to attend people told me go to Stockholm everyone is welcoming there,'" says a happy Reitz. Approximately 170 films from 40 countries are shown and the Bronze Horse for Best film is for the first time awarded to a female director, French debuting director Lucile Hadzihalilovic for her suggestive drama Innocence.
Stockholm International Film Festival is established as one of the most happening film events in Northern Europe. Despite declining numbers for moviegoers in general the festival breaks a new audience record with 87 000 visits. And a hundred international directors, actors and producers sparks the November dark Stockholm! The female revenge is the focus for this years Spotlight. Canadian master director David Cronenberg accepts Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award and ever full of imagination Terry Gilliam is awarded Stockholm Visionary Award. Bronze Horse for best film is awarded Argentinean Juan Solanas Nordeste. Also new wonder Miranda July accepts the prize for best debuting director with her much talked about Me and You and Everyone We Know. Korean cult director Park Chan-Wook pays a short visit to present his Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.
The festival continues to break records in all categories. This years outdoors cinema screens Saturday Night Fever for a full seated audience and 89 000 visits is noted at the festival. This film fest invites over a 100 guests and expands its screening opportunities with 30 percent and shows 400 films in eleven days. Most seen film is Wristcutters but the drama Sherrybaby by Laurie Collyer is the film to be awarded prize for best film, this marking the second time a female director collects the prize. Lasse Hallström visits the festival to accept Lifetime Achievement Award. He also makes an exclusive film for the festival section Mobile Movies- films made with mobile phones. The Visionary Award goes to Darren Aronofsky who guests Stockholm with his image driven The Fountain. The festival continues to explore new distribution channels and is from now on offering distribution over the Internet with its VOD, video on demand.
During the year 125 000 people visited the festivals activities, an increase of 7% compared to the 2006 festival. The most watched films during the festival is No country for old men, I’m a cyborg but that’s OK, Leo and The Darjeeling Limited. 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days by Cristian Mungiu wins the Bronze Horse for Best Film and the audience votes Jason Reitman’s Juno as a winner of Star! Audience award. Wes Anderson receives the Visionary Award and delivers an acclaimed acceptance speech in Swedish. The Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Paul Schrader and the festival is dedicated to Ingmar Bergman, with a viewing of Smultronstället and a seminar on the director's international importance.
This year's spotlight is "All you need is talent" and with the project Let's make a movie, the festival produces four own short films. The audience writes the script, and Rafael Edholm, Niklas Froberg, Björne Larson, and Andreas Tibblin are directing the respective films.
The festival retains its position as one of the premier film events in Northern Europe. The festival was this year proud to welcome icon Charlotte Rampling, who received the Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award, and the great visionary Wong Kar Wai, which was awarded the Stockholm Visionary Award. They both met the audience during a crowded Face2Face. One of the year's highlights was the visit by hunted author Roberto Saviano, who had a death threat hanging over his head due to his book about the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra, and the screening of the film version of his book, Gomorrah.
This year's most viewed films were Baz Luhrmann's epic Australia, Clint Eastwood 1920s thriller Changeling, Oliver Stone's biography of George W. Bush, W. This year’s spotlight was Russia with several Russian independent films showing at the festival. The Swedish film repertoire was also strong and premiered among others Ruben Östlund's acclaimed film Involuntary, which also became an audience favorite and was awarded the Star! Audience Award.
The grand celebration of the 20th Stockholm International Film Festival! The modern Hollywood legend Susan Sarandon visited the festival and was at her best mood during a Face2Face at Skandia Cinema before presenting her breakthrough movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show, shown on a ten ton ice screen shipped from the north of Sweden. The director and producer Luc Besson received the Stockholm Visionary Award. The festival was inaugurated with Precious in the presence of director Lee Daniels, who three months later was nominated for an Academy Award for best director.
Other highlights of the 20th anniversary was the premiere of Tarik Saleh's animated dystopia Metropia with the whole crew present at the festival screening, an intense quick visit from French enfant terrible Gaspar Noé who offered an exclusive (and of course packed) screening of his latest film Enter the Void, Lone Scherfig with his international breakthrough An Education and acclaimed Andrea Arnold, who although she did not want to be photographed, made a lasting impression during her Face2Face beforde the screening of her film Fish Tank. The festival also launched Festival on Demand, where ten films without Swedish distribution competed for a 100 000 SEK prize once it was picked up. The films were shown at the festival and also in main sponsor Telia’s Video On Demand service online.
The 21st Stockholm International Film Festival was inaugurated by another 21-year-old; Xavier Dolan came to town with his second feature film Heartbeats. Together with actress Monia Chokri they kicked started the festival. One of our favorite directors, Gus Van Sant, visited the festival and received the Stockholm Visionary Award during a Face2Face which ended with him and Stellan Skarsgård kindly slapping each other on the Skandia scene. We celebrated Harriet Andersson by awarding her the Lifetime Achievement Award. With the Bronze Horse in her arms she noted that she was stronger than Roman Polanski who apparently had collapsed on the floor by the weight of the same award.
This year's jury was lead by the stunning actress Holly Hunter who stayed throughout the festival. From the first screening to the Award Ceremony where she gave the Bronze Horse for Best Film to an overjoyed Debra Granik for her country noir Winter's Bone. We also arranged outdoors screenings at Norrmalmstorg which all had distinguished guests like Harriet, Holly and director Shane Meadows. He was also one of the movie aces who held a master class for Swedish filmmakers during the festival. The other was the Oscar-winning editor Bob Murawski (The Hurt Locker), effect genius Gareth Edwards, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker and Gus Van Sant who held a very exclusive master class for selected filmmakers.
Among the most popular films were The Town by Ben Affleck, Debra Graniks Winter's Bone, Biutiful by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Four Lions by Chris Morris and Heartbeats by Xavier Dolan. The festival had 130 000 visitors during the year and welcomed over 100 filmmakers.
The 22nd Stockholm International Film Festival opened with the acclaimed and Academy Award-nominated Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with the director Daniel Alfredson present at the Skandia theater.
The festival was visited by a true legend when the french actress Isabelle Huppert came to Stockholm to receive the Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award to roaring applause. The audience was equally enthusiastic when the recipient of the Stockholm Visionary Award - Alejandro González Iñárritu - answered their questions about his films Babel, 21 Grams and Biutiful.
The Bronze Horse for Best Film was awarded to Oslo, 31. August by the international jury headed by indie-icon Whit Stillman. Besides visits from acclaimed directors Andrea Arnold, Ruben Östlund, Christopher Doyle and previous recipient of the Stockholm Visionary Award Luc Besson, the festival arranged two Skype-face2faces with director Miranda July and actor Viggo Mortensen at the Skandia theater.
The most popular films at the festival included Drive by Nicholas Winding Refn, The Skin I Live In by Pedro Almodóvar, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by Tomas Alfredson, A Dangerous Method by David Cronenberg, Martha Marcy May Marlene by Sean Durkin and Hysteria by Tanya Wexler.
The 23rd Stockholm International Film Festival had 136 000 visits during 2012. The Festival opened with one of the year's most talked about Swedish films - Call Girl by Mikael Marcimain - and both die director and the cast were present at the screening. Actor Willem Dafoe received the Stockholm Achievement Award during a memorable Face2Face at the Skandia Theater and Hollywood-legend Peter Fonda was escorted by a motorcade of bikers to the screening of classic "Easy Rider". Master director Jan Troell was celebrated with the Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award and the uncompromising Jacques Audiard received the Stockholm Visionary Award. Ben Affleck sent a surprise greeting to the audience before the unannounced screening of Argo and Swedish rock icon Joakim Thåström signed dvd:s and LP:s in a crowded foyer before the premiere of "As the strawberries tasted". The 2012 Stockholm Feature Film Award was given to Amanda Adolfsson and her new project Young Sophie Bell"
The Year's most popular films were Killing Them Softly by Andrew Dominik, Ruby Sparks by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Flight by Robert Zemeckis, The Paperboy by Lee Daniels, The Company You Keep by Robert Redford, Call Girl by Mikael Marcimain, Bekas by Karzan Kader, Beasts of the Southern Wild by Benh Zeitlin, Safety Not Guaranteed by Collin Trevorrow and Rust and Bone by Jacques Audiard.
The 24th Stockholm International Film Festival celebrated and payed attention to Freedom, this year’s theme. Even though the Jury member Ai Weiwei’s was not physical present at the festival he was there in mind and we were constantly reminded by his work of art “The Chair of Nonattendance”. An empty chair, placed in Skandia’s lobby, as an protest against censure.
The festival was opened by John Ridley, screenwriter for the opening film "12 Years a Slave 'as well as writer and director of" Jimi: All Is By My Side ". Two of the film world’s most headstrong voices were honoured with the Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award and the Stockholm Visionary Award. The French master director Claire Denis and British genius Peter Greenaway.
The festival 2012 also gave the audience a lot of great Swedish films such as “The Reunion” by Anna Odell, “Nobody Owns Me” by Kjell-Åke Anderson and “Broken Hill Blues” by Sofia Norlin, recipient of Stockholm Film Festival Feature Film Scholarship.
The Stockholm International Film Festival celebrates 25 years with record numbers of films and visitors. We screened 201 film from 60 countries and had over 140 000 visitors. This was also a festival where female filmmakers were awarded and honoured. Uma Thurman won the Stockholm Achievement Award and visited the festival as well. Céline Sciammas movie Girlhood received the Bronze horse for Best Film and July Jung’s A Girl At My Door won prize for Best Debut.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival the recognized artist Ai Weiwei made incredible ice sculptures that were placed on Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm. The sculptures by Weiwei pictured two lions, inspired by the lions that guard the Forbidden City in Beijing. The ice melting down was a part of the artwork and can be seen as a symbolic expression of the power disappearing. It was also a symbol for 20014 year’s theme HOPE.
Stockholm film festival’s 26th year opened with Jonas Carpignano’s highly acclaimed film debut »Mediterranea«. Last year’s festival screened over 190 films from 70 countries - 48 of which were debut films and therefore in keeping with the festival’s dedication to promoting future film talent. Furthermore, for the first time in the festival’s history, the majority of films in the competition section were directed by women.
Stockholm film festival was visited by a large number of directors including Stockholm Visionary Award recipient Yorgos Lanthimos and Joachim Trier, whose film »Louder Than Bombs« was awarded the Bronze Horse Award. Acting legend Ellen Burstyn brought some extra film star glamour to the festival when she came to receive the Stockholm Achievement Award.
The international federation of film critics’ FIPRESCI prize went to Samuel Benchetri’s »Macadam Stories« whilst Zhao Liang was awarded the Documentary Competition prize for her brilliant film »Behemoth«. The Audience Award was given to Deniz Gamze Ergüvens for his powerful debut film »Mustang«.
Stockholm Impact is a new competition section designed to acknowledge films that focus on compelling contemporary issues. The impact jury was lead by internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, who designed the prize that Leena Yadav received for her film »Parched«. The award also consists of a monetary prize of one million Swedish Krona, making the Stockholm Impact award one of the largest film prizes in the world.