PARIS — With the Nordic film and TV industry gaining more clout abroad, Scandi powerhouse Svensk Filmindustri is set to rebrand as SF Studios as part of a move to leverage its worldwide ties and dive deeper into international production.
The banner, which has output deal with MGM, Fox, Warner, STX and Studiocanal, will also be launching a U.K. office by the end of the year with soon-to-be-announced high-profile U.K. execs.
“The U.K. boasts a strong pool of creators and producers. Especially in London where there’s a cluster of talent. For SF Studios, London is a very strategic base to develop and co-produce upscale English-language thrillers and work with local exec producers, producers and renown sales agents,” the company CEO Jonas Fors told Variety, adding that SF Studios will gather all of the group’s sub brands and businesses.
One of the first drama series that will be developed and produced in-house by the U.K. office is “Horizon Line,” a suspense thriller directed by Babak Najafi (“London has fallen,” “Snabba cash 2.” The series, penned by Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken (“10 Cloverfield Lane”) , follows a couple on a small airplane that gets lost over the Pacific Ocean.
“The idea is not to compete with international or european studios that do english speaking shows. We’re looking to produce shows that have a Scandinavian tone and work with Scandinavian directors. We’ll always mix Nordic and international talent,” said Fors.
Svensk’s intention to venture into English-language productions was underscored in 2015 when it announced the development of Daniel Espinosa (“Child 44”)’s “The Emigrants,” a series adaptation of Vilhelm Moberg’s novel.
The topper said SF Studios is aiming to produce one to two English-language series per year with a three-year goal to produce up to 5 big international shows annually.
Since taking the helm of Svensk in 2013, Fors has taken the outfit through major changes, positioning it in Scandinavia’s digital landscape with the launch of VOD services SF Anytime and SF Kids.
“A few years ago, 95% of our business was theatrical and physical distribution, today it presents 30%, while digital represents 30%, and about another 30% comes from our own productions for the local market,” Jonas Fors told Variety.
Thanks to its large volume of local films and international releases acquired through output deals, Svensk still reps between 30% to 50% of the theatrical markets in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.
In terms of local productions, SF Studios will continue developing several movies — about five per year for the domestic market, said Fors.
Next up, SF Studios is looking at the Chinese and Turkish territories as appealing markets.