OUR HISTORY IN SHORT

In 2019, SF Studios celebrates 100 years as a film studio. Since 1919, SF Studios has been a leading Nordic film studio that has produced and distributed some of cinema’s most iconic films and worked with some of the greatest talents in the business. Our 100th anniversary will be celebrated throughout the year to honor our history and tell the world who we are today and our ambitions for the future.

SF Studios was founded on December 27, 1919 through a merger of AB Svenska Biograft-eatern and Filmindustri AB Skandia. Already in beginning, the company achieved interna-tional success and contributed to the “Golden Age” of Swedish cinema with films like The Phantom CarriageWitchcraft Through the Ages and The Legend of Gösta Berling. Since then, SF Studios has produced award-winning films and box office successes such as The Seventh SealThe EmigrantsMy Life as a Dog and A Man Called Ove. In addition, SF Stu-dios has worked with some of film industry’s most praised directors such as Mauritz Stiller, Victor Sjöström, Ingmar Bergman, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Arne Sucksdorff, Jan Troell, Bo Widerberg, Lasse Hallström and Bille August. Also, some of the most popular film stars have started their careers at SF Studios. Among them are Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Stellan Skarsgård, Rolf Lassgård, Pernilla August, Joel Kinnaman, Alicia Vikander and Sverrir Gudnason.

Today SF Studios is a leading Nordic film studio with international ambitions. Its business includes production and distribution of feature films and TV series and the digital services SF Anytime and SF Kids. SF Studios has its head office in Stockholm, Sweden and subsidiaries in Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki and London.

A car outside the old SF Studio

THE SF STUDIO LOGO

AB Svensk Filmindustri (SF) was founded on December 27, 1919 with the merger of AB Svenska Biografteatern and Filmindustri AB Skandia. The new company had to register and it became urgent to have a new company logo.

There are two legends of how this was solved. One is that it was the head of the advertising department (department of artistic advertising as it was called), Nils Hårde, who rapidly created the famous logo. Nils Hårde was not only head of the department for more than three decades (1920 – 1953), he was also one of the most acknowledged poster creators of his time with quite a few posters that have become classics.

Nils Hårde (1888-1962) was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1908-1911. He then moved to Gothenburg and worked as an artist at the newspaper Göteborgs Morgonpost before he joined SF in 1920. On the poster for Gösta Berlings Saga, 1924, and the only SF picture Greta Garbo actually starred in, Nils Hårde’s signature is on the top right hand corner and the SF logo on the top left hand corner.

The other legend states that it was an unknown lady who created the texts for the silent films, but there is no proof of this theory.

The Nils Hårde theory is the most likely and the one that SF is using as its official version.

The first film poster that used the SF logo was director Mauritz Stiller’s Johan, in 1921. In those early days the logo was very simple with a white S and F against a black background. It was not until the late 30’s that the company changed it to the two thin circle lines with the two beautifully shaped capital letters (still in black/white).

The logo was mainly used for print media and in the news reels (SF Journal). For the films it was rarely used, sometimes at the end and almost never as a vignette at the beginning.

During the 60’s a somewhat thicker logo was produced and the SF mark was placed on a square-shaped plate. From then on a number of variations were produced but in the mid-80’s it was decided that the original shape and form (the one from the early 30’s) was the ultimate version but now in a red colour.

Sf logo evolution
THE SF STUDIOS TUNE STORY

The SF vignette tune was composed in 1943, but in order to see the big picture it is necessary to go back to the early days of 1910 to understand how the music is connected to the SF logo.

The exhibitor AB Svenska Biografteatern (the company was merged with Filmindustri AB Skandia in 1919 and re-named Svensk Filmindustri) decided to screen a weekly review in their theatres prior to the main film event. The review reflected the events and happenings of the time, both small and bigger ones, and of course had reports from the world of film. It was the only channel for live news in those days and the only way for people to actually see what was going on in the world.

When SF took over the weekly review in 1919 it was re-named the SF Journal.In the early 30’s the talkies had its breakthrough and a new SF Journal was released every fortnight and accompanied with neutral music.

During the Second World War there were a lot of competing journals screened in cinemas, such as the UFA Journal and the Paramount Journal, and in order to profile themselves the journals had to have its own signature tune.

At the time, SF had a Musical Director named Jules Sylvain employed. He was born in Stockholm in 1900 as Axel Stig Hansson and died in 1968 in Castiglione, Italy. Sylvain composed some 800 melodies during his career and is regarded the number one composer of Swedish popular melodies. Sylvain headed the SF musical department between 1937 and 1945.

According to the legend, Sylvain was in 1943, at a particular time, broke, had a slight hangover and in desperate need of money, asked to compose an “on and off signature” tune for the SF Journal.

Being a very talented musician it only took him a few minutes to come up with a melody that was to become the classic SF tune and he was paid 500 Swedish crowns for the trouble. The music was arranged by the skilful music arranger Julius Jacobsen and from then on and into the early 60’s the signature was heard at every screening of the SF Journal at SF’s theatres. Because of the breakthrough of TV during that period, the SF Journal no longer served its purpose and the production of the SF Journal was terminated and the music vanished into oblivion.

Then in the early 80’s SF decided that they wanted to profile their cinema screenings and the tune was once again put into use. The score was re-arranged by Peter Wiberg and kept in its new arrangement for almost twenty years. In 2002 the score once again was re-arranged in order to give it a little more fateful and classic touch. This time the arrangement was conducted by Adam Nordén, a well-known film score composer. We have since then also added a more “childish” version used for the brand “Children’s SF Favourites”, nowadays referred to "SF Kids".

Press kit

SF STUDIOS Logos and Fonts can be downloaded in the press kit below.

Press kit

SF STUDIOS Logos and Fonts can be downloaded in the press kit below.