Ninja Thyberg, the up-and-coming Swedish director of Sundance/Cannes-Critics-Week-premiering short “Pleasure,” is set to further explore the adult film industry with her feature debut, “Jessica,” an English-language odyssey set in Los Angeles.
Erik Hemmendorff is producing for Plattform Produktion, the Goteborg-based shingle launched by “Force Majeure” helmer Ruben Ostlund.
“Jessica” is being presented at Rotterdam’s industry confab CineMart along with 24 other projects from the Netherlands, Australia, China, Brazil, the U.K., Lebanon, France and the U.S. Thyberg has also been selected to participate in the Nordic Film Lab Discovery at the Goteborg Film Festival later this week.
Pitched as an intimate, raw and humorous observation of the adult film industry, “Jessica” tells the coming of age of a 20-year-old Swedish girl who tries to make it as a porn star in L.A. Working in the “amateur teen” category and sharing a flat with other wannabe actresses, Jessica aims at climbing the ladder and become a real porn star, capitalizing on the myth of “The Swedish Sin” and working on her body like an athlete.
The director has spent over six months in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley and plans on returning for another six months. She will be casting real porn actors in secondary roles.
“I’d like to present an objective image of this industry and depict the people who work in it as human beings, multi-faceted and complex rather than stereotypes,” said Thyberg, who penned the script based on 400 pages of interviews with porn industry players.
“Porn is an important part of our culture, but we never address its content collectively or publicly so I find it interesting to shed light on this industry,” added Thyberg.
The director, who studied gender science and is a high-profile activist in Sweden, said mainstream porn is centered around the male perspective and women’s bodies — a bias she aims at reversing in her film, allowing audiences to look at the film crews, the other actors and their faces from the female gaze.
Her short “Pleasure” already provided an inside look at the industry, turning on a young Swedish actress getting prepared for a big scene on the shoot of a porn film and interacting with “co-workers.”
The young filmmaker has been highly prolific and has consistently earned critical acclaim. She made two shorts in 2015, “Catwalk” which got the student visionary nod at Tribeca and “Stallion” which opened at Stockholm.
“Jessica” has received support from the Swedish Film Institute and Film Väst. It will shoot on location in the U.S. and in Sweden during the first half of 2017.
Hemmendorff said he was in discussions with co-producers, distributors and sales agents.