Let's say Traktor wants to shoot your board, which absolutely requires a European cityscape location. Everyone on the team has already shot so often in Prague and Budapest they're ready to make the case that the agency simply buy an apartment there. And someone has an insatiable desire to visit Ingmar Bergman's childhood home. Well, then, perhaps you're off on a fun-filled production expedition to Sweden, so long as the client's cost consultant is distracted by a monumental multispot effects package. It's not cheap to shoot there, but it certainly is one beautiful country. Then again, Lars von Trier, leader of the Dogme movement, which champions no-budget filmmaking as an aesthetic (actors wear their own clothes, lights are wherever the residents chose to place their table lamps, etc.), has shot his last two features in Sweden. (Dancer in the Dark and Dogville, set in an American small town c. 1930) And he's Danish. So if the idea is to emulate the Dogme style, you might not need to rack up much in the way of production costs, anyway. And cameras are cheap; according to Brandon Hooper, president of ProductionPoint Global Network (see above story), one Swedish services company is charging only $2,000 per day for an Arri 435 package, compared to about $4,000 in Canada.
There's no question that Sweden offers a depth of experienced and English-speaking film technicians. And there are signs that the Swedes may be making some efforts to bring down their costs. Their first-ever booth at the Locations trade show in Los Angeles this spring, designed by production designer Per Aase, was named the best booth in the show. There's a new website (swedenfilmcommission.com) and the consulate in Los Angeles has initiated a multiyear program to encourage production by U.S. filmmakers. Sounds like there may be deals to be struck. And with 18 hours of daylight in midsummer, the magic hour can extend long after shoots have wrapped for the day in Prague.