Yellow Bird flits to detective pix

Andersson to helm adaptation's first two installments

Production shingle Yellow Bird Films has begun principal photography on the first of 13 films about author Henning Mankell’s police detective Kurt Wallander, on locations at Ystad in southern Sweden.

Swedish helmer Kjell-Ake Andersson (“The Christmas Oratorio,” “Family Secrets”) will direct the first two installments, while Danish director Peter Flinth has been signed for the third. Actor Krister Henriksson stars in them all as the lonely, slightly overweight crime investigator.

Three of the 13 productions will be theatrically released by Swedish major, Svensk Filmindustri, including the first — “Before the Frost” — which has been slated for a Scandinavian première on Jan. 14.

They will be aired by Canal Plus, commercial broadcaster TV4, pubcaster DR-TV and commercial broadcaster TV2.

“Before the Frost” is based on a novel, the other 12 films will be shot from new material.

With a total budget of $31 million, the Wallander series is Scandinavia’s most expensive film project.

Yellow Bird Film’s Ole Sondberg and Lasse Bjorkman will produce the package, which will keep the new film center at Ystad, Film i Skåne — already named Hollystad — busy until October 2006.

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