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Up Next: Nordic creatives making waves

Kristina Aberg

Together with helmers Tarik Saleh and Erik Gandini, Aberg runs the Stockholm-based production shingle Atmo. Company scored its biggest success so far when two of its films, “Videocracy,” helmed by Gandini, and “Metropia,” helmed by Saleh, preemed at the Venice Film Festival this year. Aberg is the person behind the scenes at Atmo, which is developing both domestic and international projects. An English-lingo TV series and a feature helmed by Saleh are on the horizon.

A.J. Annila

After domestic and international success with his Finnish kung fu film “Jade Warrior” and horror film “Sauna,” helmer Annila has signed on to direct a pic in the U.S., thriller “Adrift,” which will be produced by Mike Macari for Dimension Films, with a script by Finn Iiro Kuttner, based on a story by “The Ring” writer Koji Suzuki.

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Karin Arrhenius

Swedish scribe Arrhenius’ credits include “One Eye Red,” fest fave “The Girl” and last year’s drug drama “In Your Veins.” She’s now working on the script “In the Shadow of a Crime,” based on the bestseller by Helena Henschen, to be produced by Bob Film and shot in 2010. Arrhenius also is working on a script for “The Girl” helmer Fredrik Edfeldt, skedded for a 2011 shoot, although she won’t give away details about the film.

Pernilla August

Being the only actress who has played the mothers of

Ingmar Bergman, Jesus and Darth Vader, August now has set her eyes on directing. After her well-received short, “Time Bomb,” she is tackling an adaptation of the bestselling novel “Svinalangorna.” Advance word is very good on the film, with buzzworthy thesp Noomi Rapace (“Millennium”) in the lead. But August is still acting as well, and can be seen in Hakon Liu’s “Miss Kicki.”

Jakob Cedergren

Even though he was born in Sweden, it is in Denmark that Cedergren has become a household name. After several parts in features and TV, his breakthrough came at the end of 2008 with “Terribly Happy.” This dark thriller has won 19 awards domestically and internationally, and is this year’s Danish entry in the Oscar foreign-language race. Cedergren will next be seen in Thomas Vinterberg’s “Submarino.”

Teresa Fabik

Having waited five years since her first film, the well-received “The Ketchup Effect,” which won her a Norwegian Amanda award for best Nordic newcomer, helmer Fabik once again hit with this year’s “Princess,” the story of an overweight teenage girl with dreams of becoming an actress. Fabrik also wrote the pic and is in talks for a U.S. remake. She’s also in talk for another U.S. pic, an untitled romantic comedy.

Olaf de Fleur

De Fleur is one of Iceland’s most prolific filmmakers, working as a helmer, producer, writer and editor. He actually did all four jobs on 2008’s “The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela,” which won awards in Berlin, Manila and New York, and was nominated for this year’s Nordic Council Film Prize. Since then, he has helmed action comedy “The Higher Force” and is currently in post on “Polite People.” And, yes, he wrote the script, produced and helmed it. No editing this time, though.

Matias Armand Jordal

Norwegian helmer Jordal was educated at the Dramatic Institute in Sweden. After having helmed several shorts, he presented his first feature, “Together,” at Toronto this year. Pic is the story of how a family falls apart after the mother dies. Jordal is writing his next project, “Melketryne,” about a young man from a Central Asian country who is smuggled to Norway and goes into crime to make money for his family. The shoot is expected to start in 2011.

Joel Kinnaman

This 30-year-old Swedish actor grabbed attention as a police informer in the straight-to-DVD series “Johan Falk,” and in the upcoming gangster film “Snabba Cash” he plays a naive guy who gets caught up in the Stockholm underworld.

Hakon Liu

Liu has a varied background, having been born in Norway, raised in Taiwan and graduated from the film school in Gothenburg in 2005. He made several shorts and five episodes of Swedish TV series “Habib,” but moved into features with “Miss Kicki,” starring Pernilla August and Ludwig Palmell. It’s the story of a mother and a son traveling to China to find the boy’s father; pic premiered in Pusan. Liu is prepping a project to be shot in 2010.

Valdis Oskarsdottir

Icelandic film editor-helmer Oskarsdottir has been involved with some seminal films in the modern Dogma movement, including “Festen” and “Mifune’s Last Song” as well as Thomas Vinterberg’s “It’s All About Love.” Her resume also includes such U.S. fare as “Finding Forrester” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Oscar-nommed Russian epic “Mongol” and Harmony Korine’s “Julien Donkey Boy” and “Mr. Lonely.” In 2008, she made her feature helming debut with “Country Wedding” and is in production on her sophomore feature, “Kongavegur 7.” She recently edited Vinterberg’s latest film, “Submarino.”

Tarik Saleh

Being part of radical production company Atmo, Saleh has previously co-directed political docus “Sacrificio” and “Gitmo.” His animated pic “Metropia” premiered in Venice (where it won the Future Film Digital Award) and has since traveled to fests such as Sitges and London and will unspool in Stockholm. Saleh, who was born in Egypt, next plans to shoot an English-language feature in his native land. Shooting will probably start in 2010.

Charlotte Sieling

Dane Sieling has made her mark as both an actress and helmer. As a thesp, she has been seen in features and TV films including “Love Me, Love Me Not,” “The Dogs of Riga,” “The White Lioness,” “Unit One” and “Triple Dare.” As a helmer, she has worked on popular and award-winning TV series “Unit One,” which won an Intl. Emmy in 2006, “Better Times” and “The Killing.” Her first feature as a helmer, comedy “Over Gaden, Under Vandet,” which she co-wrote, has just opened in Denmark.

Fredrik Wikstrom

With thriller “Snabba Cash” being one of the most eagerly anticipated Swedish films in early 2010, pic’s producer Wikstrom knows he’ll be in the spotlight when the film opens. Helmed by Daniel Espinosa, based on a bestselling novel and starring buzz actor Joel Kinnaman, pic looks to do well. Having produced a series of shorts (and also having helmed one of them), Wikstrom produced his first feature with the well-received adaptation of bestseller “One Eye Red.” Wikstrom has several other projects in development.

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