Swedish Film Institute CEO Anna Serner Speaks at Gustavus

Posted on April 29th, 2016 by

Anna Serner (Photo credit: Swedish Film Institute and photographer Marie-Therese Karlberg)

Anna Serner (Photo credit: Swedish Film Institute and photographer Marie-Therese Karlberg)

The Gustavus Adolphus College Department of Scandinavian Studies recently hosted Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute (SFI), for an on-campus lecture on gender equality in the film industry.

Serner, who was profiled on Buzzfeed this week, visited Gustavus as part of a U.S. lecture tour that included stops in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

During her lecture at Gustavus, Serner focused on the SFI’s efforts to achieve gender parity in film production. Since she took on her role in 2011, she has led initiatives to increase funding to female directors, producers, and screenwriters in Sweden, resulting in all three groups holding at least 50 percent of those roles in 2014.

“Anna was a great speaker and it was fascinating to hear about how much change she has been able to make in just five short years,” Gustavus junior Noah O’Ryan said. “The message was that we can and should make positive changes in society.”

Serner spoke to a room crowded with students, faculty, and community members. The lecture was hosted by the Department of Scandinavian Studies, the Film and Media Studies Program, and the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Program. Throughout the event, Serner outlined the ambitious steps that SFI took to combat inequality, including creating a mentorship program for young female filmmakers, moving from a committee to administrative review of funding requests, and making the tough decision not to implement a strict quota system.

“I think the students benefitted immensely from hearing Anna Serner outline the concrete actions that the Swedish Film Institute has taken to promote – and achieve – gender equality in film production,” Scandinavian studies professor Ursula Lindqvist said. “She speaks bluntly about the work that still needs to be done about gender inequality, not just in film production but in society at large. Yet she herself is extremely personable and down-to-Earth, which makes her a terrific advocate and diplomat for the controversial policies and practices she’s put in place.”

Serner spent most of the day on campus and spent time visiting classes and having lunch with a group of students. There was also a reception and dinner to mark Serner’s visit to Gustavus.

“For me, the most meaningful part of the visit is the fact that Anna is currently working to make a change and will continue to do so in the future,” Gustavus senior Sofia Huitron said. “Her work is truly inspirational and I agree that it is our actions, not words, that will change our world.”

Learn more about Serner’s work online at the Sydney Morning Herald, Agnesfilms.com, and Screendaily.com.

 

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