The failure and success of a Swedish film diversity initiative
Mara Lee Gerdén
This chapter examines the affective politics of the Fusion Programme launched by the Swedish Film Institute in 2016 to promote diversity in Swedish film production. The programme emphasised innovation, intersectional analysis, and feminist and anti-racist perspectives on artistic practices. The author, a participant in the programme alongside seven other women of colour, investigates the tensions between participant motivations and a film policy which balanced conflicting frameworks: an outspoken effort to attain goals for gender equality, the desire to implement a perspective on diversity, a notion of quality informing Swedish film policy since the 1960s, and a Swedish self-image expressed as a need to ‘implement Swedish values’. While launched in the name of advancing diversity in Swedish film, it is argued, there was a clear tension between the quality film rhetoric of the Swedish Film Institute and the participants’ insistence on making race play a major role in the respective projects. The chapter investigates the resulting ‘affective indigestion’, analysing pain as a central theme in the majority of the participants’ projects, but also as a recurring emotion emerging from the affective clash between the institutional desire to produce diversity and the participants’ refusal to submit to that desire.