Fest Traveler: Stockholm Intl. Film Festival: Up Next
Swedish TV and commercials director Marcimain is making his long-awaited feature debut with “Call Girl,” a political thriller set in the late 1970s, starring Pernilla August, set for release in 2012. He made his name with the acclaimed miniseries “The Laser Man” and “How Soon Is Now?,” a drama of Swedish youth in revolt during the turbulent era of 1965-76. He’s known for his collaboration with Dutch cinemato-grapher Hoyte van Hoytema, who also worked with Tomas Alfredson on “Let the Right One In” and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” and with David O. Russell on “The Fighter.”
Kadar’s family came to Sweden from Kurdistan when he was 8, to escape the 1990 Iraq War. “Bekas,” his graduation short from the Stockholm film school, took a silver medal at the Student Academy Awards this year, and won a prize at the Palm Springs Shorts Fest. Kader is now expanding the story into feature for Sonet Film. “Bekas” is about two brothers living on the street in Kurdistan, who dream up a daring plan to get to America, which they think is just across the border. Shooting in spring was interrupted by the Arab uprisings, but the cameras are now rolling again.
The latest in the acting dynasty — fourth son of Stellan, brother of Alexander and Gustaf — 21-year-old Bill Skarsgard is on his way to becoming a major Swedish star. Appearing alongside his father in crusader epic “Arn: The Kingdom at Road’s End” convinced him that he wanted to follow in the family business, but it was his title role in “Simple Simon,” Sweden’s 2010 submission for the foreign-language film Oscar, which made his own name. His latest role is the lead in the World War II epic “Simon and the Oaks,” based on a classic Swedish bestseller about a boy who befriends a Jewish refugee.
When the Swedish Film Institute launched its Rookie program in 2009 to fund low-budget films by debut directors, the applicants were overwhelmingly male. So it decided that only women would be considered for the fifth and final Rookie project. That led to the selection of Aschan’s “She Monkeys,” about three teenage girls who perform horseback gymnastics. Pic premiered to acclaim at Berlin this year and won narrative feature at Tribeca. Despite its arthouse style, Aschan, who trained at the Danish Film School, describes “She Monkeys” as a Western, and is next planning a horror project.
Born in Iran, Najafi moved to Sweden as a boy in the mid-1980s. He trained as a documentary director, and won the Stockholm festival’s 1 km film scholarship in 1999 for his debut short “Rasten.” After several shorts, he made his feature debut in 2010 with the drama “Sebbe,” about a single mother and her son living on a tough working-class estate. Pic won the debut prize at Berlin, then best film at Sweden’s Guldbagge awards. In a sharp change to a more commercial direction, he’s now finishing “Easy Money 2,” the sequel to the 2010 hit crime thriller.
With just a couple of previous shorts on her film resume, 27-year-old stage actress Buska was a revelation in Bjorn Runge’s slice of Swedish miserabilism “Happy End.” Critics raved about her performance as a cleaner who is beaten by her boyfriend, but whose life changes when a troubled young artist asks to paint her. Although the film went largely unseen by the paying public, the role has put her firmly on the industry’s radar as a star in the making.
Andersson began his career in various marketing and distribution roles at Nordisk, Sandrew Metronome, the Swedish Film Institute and the Stockholm Intl Film Festival. He was headhunted by St. Paul Film to move across into production as head of development, where he is building up the slate. He’s also producing writer-director Lisa Langseth’s sophomore drama “Hotel,” following her Guldbagge script win for her debut “Pure.”
After film school in Gothenburg, Gabriela Pichler won for short at the 2009 Guldbagge awards for her graduation film “Scratches,” which also took fest prizes at Munich, Karlovy Vary and Uppsala. Her feature debut, “Eat Sleep Die,” is now in post-production. Written and directed by Pichler for Anagram Prods., it’s the story of a young woman’s fight to stay in her home village after the closure of the local factory makes everyone redundant. Pichler brings a strong storytelling instinct to the arty, political style associated with Gothenburg filmmakers.
After numerous stage and TV roles, including the SVT series “Bibliotekstjuven,” 32-year-old actress Mjones made her feature breakthrough this year with the lead in lesbian romance “With Every Heartbeat” (aka “Kyss mig”) directed by Alexandra-Therese Keining. She followed that with “Stockholm East,” released in October, and she’ll be discovered by a more mainstream audience next year in spy thriller “In the Nation’s Interest,” the latest installment in the Carl Hamilton franchise, Sweden’s answer to James Bond.
Erika Wasserman & Jesper Kurlandsky
“Avalon,” the second feature produced by Wasserman and Kurlandsky under their Fasad shingle, won the international critics discovery award at Toronto for its debut director Axel Petersen. Kurlandsky learned the ropes as part of Lukas Moodysson’s team on “Mammoth,” “Container,” “Lilya-4-ever” and “A Hole in My Heart,” with a variety of credits including cinematographer, casting director and art director. Now he and Wasserman, a former publicist, are closely associated with nurturing Sweden’s new wave of arthouse filmmakers. Kurlandsky is next producing “Blondie,” his second film with director Jesper Gandslandt, while Wasserman working on her second project with Henrik Hellstrom, “Hollows.”
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