The Danish film industry has not just been highly successful in artistic and commercial terms over the past couple of decades with its products; it has also been highly successful in developing and especially retaining its cinematic talent.1 These two developments, cinematic success and talent retention hang together and comprise the central elements of a ‘virtuous circle.’ Though this virtuous circle might at first glance appear natural and logical, the opposite might just as well have been the case. Human capital theory (Becker 1964; Berry & Glaeser 2005) would lead us to expect that success and international acclaim for members of a minor, peripheral industry just as well could lead to a ticket out, to bigger and better dollar-greener pastures, especially in a globalised industry where production companies are always on the look out for new accomplished talent (Miller, et al 2008). If one looks at somewhat comparable film industries ‘talent drain’ is a real threat: the Swedish film industry has lost more or less permanently several key figures, primarily to Hollywood, and the Irish Film Board appears legitimately and perennially worried about ‘industry collapse’ due to emigration of central figures in Irish film (Irish Film Board, 2007, p.15-16).
This article focuses on why and how the Danish film industry has not (yet?) been subject to detrimental talent loss despite the potentially lethal combination of international recognition on the one hand, and comparatively low material and status/prestige rewards available in the Danish industry on the other. It also focuses on the meso industry or branch level, which seldom receives attention in studies of retention and argues that several factors, primarily social and cultural, at the industry level strongly contribute to the retention of elite talent in the Danish film industry. This article begins with a review of literature on international mobility of the ‘highly skilled’ which the supports the expectation that elite talent should leave the Danish film industry. This is followed by a brief discussion of the particularities and peculiarities of employment in film, and a brief overview of the contemporary Danish film industry. After presenting the empirical and methodological foundations of the study, the central above mentioned cultural and social factors contributing to elite talent retention are discussed. Though the industry-level factors are argued to be of profound importance, other individual and possibly even national-level factors that also play in are taken up before concluding remarks are made.
|Place of Publication||Frederiksberg|
|Number of pages||22|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2010|
|Series||Creative Encounters Working Paper|