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Swede Surrender

Filming in Sweden is not cheap but the country offers surreal and exotic
locations available nowhere else on earth


Sweden, with its thousands of coastal islands, inland lakes, vast boreal forests and glaciated mountains, offers filmmakers exotic, exciting and breathtaking locations that are yet unexplored. There are several locations in Sweden that can very easily be used as a backdrop for an Indian story.

Locations vary from the exquisite city of Stockholm to the majestic beauty of Lapland. As for talent, the existence of a strong indigenous film and television industry means that there is no shortage of talented producers, directors, crews and facilities. This is, after all, the home of the great filmmaker Ingmar Bergman.

So if you’re looking for stunning scenery and high levels of professionalism, Sweden is where you need to head. However, it is not a country to shoot on a tight budget.


In a land as varied as Sweden, seasons can be quite different, depending on where you are.

Being so far North, Sweden cannot boast a Mediterranean-style climate. Its winters are bitterly cold but it does get long sunny days in May and June.

Head for the Arctic and you can even see the fabled midnight sun and the enchanting Northern Lights aka Aurora Borealis, which can light up your film canvas like never before. The best time to film the Aurora Borealis is between September and March.

Average temperatures are just below zero in January, and snowfall is common.


In its mission to offer the audience something new, Bollywood has filmed a romantic horror sequel, 1920: Evil Returns which was filmed partly in Skane in the south of Sweden, by director Bhushan Patel.

A brief part of the 2013 Indian film Ship of Theseus directed by Anand Gandhi was also scheduled in Stockholm. The film also bagged several awards.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a Swedish-American psychological thriller based on the novel of the same name by Stieg Larsson, was also shot here. This film adaptation was directed by David Fincher and written by Steven Zaillian.

In terms of the overall image, Sweden has benefitted enormously from a run of hit crime series. Having succeeded in print, Henning Mankell’s Wallander and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium have sparked a wave of film and TV production. Not to be overlooked either is the quality of the country’s infrastructure. Good roads, regular flights and good, but expensive, hotels help explain why Sweden attracts business.


Sweden isn’t short of equipment rental companies. Among the best-known is Kameraten, a Stockholm-based firm that stocks a wide range of cameras and lenses. Other companies of note include Ljud & Bildmedia, Dagsljus and the multi-national operation Best Broadcast Hire.

Production services companies include Stockholm-based Swixer while Stopp Family is a creative collective focusing on interactive, content, virtual reality and post-production.

Swedish crews are very good and are experienced in cold-weather shooting. Art departments and set construction are of a high standard but set construction has been described as fairly expensive. Despite good locally-available kits, some specialised equipment needs to be brought in from abroad.


Sweden has a number of studio facilities around the country. These include Ystad Studios in the south, which is 20 minutes from Malmo airport and 65 minutes from Copenhagen in Denmark. There is also a studio in Lulea, in the north, and Trollhattan in the west. Trollhattan, 70 km from Gothenburg, is Sweden’s film capital and is affectionately known as Trollywood.

Other studios include Stockholm-based Botkyrka Kommun and CineStar Studio, 2.5 hours away from Stockholm in Kumla. There is also an Independent Studio, a full-service rental studio, offering client-based solutions within all areas of film and TV-production. With 900 sq mt of available studio space, their services consist of two modern and fully equipped soundproof film studios. Oscar-nominated movie As It Is In Heaven was shot at Studio Kronan.

The Swedish capital Stockholm is a delightful city blessed with the gorgeous old town of Gamla Stan, beautiful waterways, pretty parks and modern architecture. It’s also home to Skansen, a superb outdoor museum that has a collection of traditional Swedish houses dating back to the Viking era. Head out of the city and it doesn’t take long before you reach the Stockholm archipelago, a group of thousands of mostly uninhabited islands.

Filmmaking happens from the northern tip to the southernmost point of Sweden. In the northern province of Lapland, there are mountains and snowy wilderness. The north is also the place to see the midnight sun and the spectacular northern lights. One favorite location is the famous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi.

While summer is the most popular time for filming, it is possible to shoot year round. The autumn colours are very vibrant while winter provides spectacular snowy scenes. Filming on location in Sweden is partly determined by the season you’re in – for example, during winter, sunrise in the north is not until mid-morning – but conversely the summer time offers very long filming hours. In terms of finding locations, the Sweden Film Commission has four branches across the country that can provide local guidance (Swedish Lapland, Stockholm, West Sweden and Oresund).


There are number of ways to reach Sweden. You can fly to Arlanda, which is a 30-minute drive from Stockholm. It is well connected with most European countries as well as others. Mostly all the European countries are linked with Sweden like Finland, Germany, Denmark, Poland etc. So you can easily travel by either train or bus. There are several ports in Sweden are Stockholm, Malmo, Gothenburg and Helsinborg. So you can easily reach Sweden through any of these ports


To shoot films in Sweden, you will have to apply for a Schengen visa by a simple application process through the embassy office or the website. Apply for the visa 6 weeks prior to the travel date, although the normal processing time is 24 to 48 hours, but it can also take several weeks to complete the process.

Sweden has a film friendly and streamlined permitting process. There are no extraordinary restrictions or rules. The Stockholm Film Commission gives specific advice on when you will need a permit to shoot in the city and how far in advance you should apply. For example, it advises that “for closing off a street, apply for a permit three to four weeks in advance.”


Sweden’s production community has been lobbying for tax breaks this year. Echoing the situation in Norway, the industry is worried that, without some kind of government support, work will go elsewhere in Europe. As yet there has been no response from the government. That said, foreign producers can apply for financing from one of four regional film funds or the national film fund – subject to conditions being met.

One of these funds is Film i Vast, on Sweden’s west coast. To be eligible for financing, part of the film’s production must be done in West Sweden, this can be in the form of shooting days or post production. Film i Vast is an equity investor, and can invest up to 100 per cent of the production costs allocated to West Sweden. Now involved in 30-40 film and TV projects annually, it is the most significant source of funding for films in Sweden, after the Swedish Film Institute, and finances more international productions than any entity in Scandinavia.

Fact File
Country Sweden
Capital Stockholm
Dialing Code 46
Currency Swedish Krona (SEK)
1 SEK = INR 7.84
Official Language Swedish
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