Jonas Holmberg will step down at Sweden’s Gothenburg Film Festival next year, following his 10th anniversary as Artistic Director of the leading Scandinavian festival.
Holmberg took over the helm in Gothenburg in 2014, succeeding Marit Kapla. In his decade at the helm, he helped the Swedish event become the first major A-list film festival to achieve full gender equality in its lineup (in 2020) with an equal number of films directed by men and women. Over the years, Holmberg also became known for his high-profile gimmicks, including such social experiments as “coffin cinema” in 2019, in which viewers were locked in a specially designed sarcophagus with a film projected onto the inside of the coffin; an event in the COVID era of extreme social distancing in 2021, where a single movie buff spent a week watching movies in a converted lighthouse on a rocky island off Sweden’s west coast; and last year’s experiment, in which a professional hypnotist performed mass hypnosis on gala audiences, breaking the spell only after the performance.
Along the way, Holmberg has also transformed Gothenburg into a hybrid event, with a digital platform alongside the in-person screenings and its own standalone streaming service, Draken Film, now Sweden’s leading VOD platform for art house films. The board of Göteborg Film Festival has started looking for his replacement.
“The next festival will be my tenth as artistic director. It has been a difficult decision, but it feels like a good time to step aside,” said Holmberg. “We have successfully weathered the pandemic, and both the Gothenburg Film Festival, alongside our industry platforms Nordic Film Market TV Drama Vision, as Dragons Film are doing well. I’m going to say goodbye to colleagues that I admire and learned a lot from, but before that we organize one last festival together. We are working intensively to make the 47th Gothenburg Film Festival to make something great.”
Gothenburg is Scandinavia’s largest film festival, attracting around 270,000 visitors annually, with around 2,000 coming from industry. The 47th Gothenburg Film Festival runs from January 26 to February 4, 2024.