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Goteborg: Zentropa Sweden Preps ‘Hashtag,’ ’12 Dares,’ ‘MILF,’ ‘My Saga,’ Adapts ‘Iceburn’

Swedish shingle defines film-TV production profile

GOTEBORG — When seven years ago Swedish producer Madeleine Ekman was offered the opportunity to lead the Swedish outpost of Denmark’s Zentropa Entertainment, her main task was to co-produce Peter Aalbæk Jensen-Lars von Trier-Zentropa projects, eventually adding some local talent.

“But you can’t develop a production company without its own original profile,” said Ekman, who brought in her first Swedish director in 2011 – Björn Runge and his award-winning “Happy End.”

With Swedish regional film centre Film Väst and Poland’s Lava Films, Zentropa Sweden produced Swedish director Magnus von Horn’s “The Here After,” which was selected for Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, and recently won a Guldbagga Award, Sweden’s national film prize, for best film. It has just wrapped principal photography on Swedish director Izer Aliu’s feature debut, while shooting a miniseries for Swedish pubcaster SVT-Play, “Hashtag.” TV drama is based on the 2012 instagram.riots in Göteborg, when two teenage girls sent hundreds of people onto the streets protesting against their “Sluts of Göteborg” website with pictures of other girls and boys annotated with derogatory remarks.

After collecting several prizes for his 2012 short, “To Guard a Mountain,” and before the release of his first feature, “Hunting Flies,” later this year, Aliu is working on “12 Dares,” a youth film about a 16-year-old boy growing up in a run-down housing development, where nothing matters more to him than his friends. Their No. 1 rule is loyalty, and when he breaks it, he finds himself alienated; desperate and alone, and will do anything to be accepted back. His mates suggest some “Hercules s–t,” 12 dares to prove he is O.K. Zentropa Sweden’s second producer, Lizette Jonjic, produces.

Ekman has herself originated and will write and produce “MILF,” a $2.3 million romantic comedy about Internet dating, which Swedish director Katharina Launing, who helmed 2014’s “Cool Kids Don’t Cry,” will start filming in the fall. A big-screen version of Swedish author Aino Trosell’s novel “Iceburn,” about a single mother whose son is killed by neo-Nazis, will follow as the feature debut of Swedish director Annika Appelin, who has worked in television since the 1980s. With U.S. producers Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger, of Bona Fide Productions, Ekman and Jonjic are also developing a Swedish-American film project, “My Saga,” about a Swedish journalist retracing the footsteps of Vikings in the U.S. of today.

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