Stockholm: Up Next: Scandinavian Filmmakers

As the Stockholm Film Festival kicked off Nov. 10 with opening night gala “Mediterranea,” Variety takes a look at some of the top emerging film artists on the Scandinavian entertainment scene.

Daniel Dencik, writer-director

A novelist, a film editor, a documentarist and now a feature filmmaker, 2015 marks Dencik’s debut with the evocative historical drama, “Gold Coast,” which made its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary festival and is now competing at Stockholm. The film, starring Jakob Oftebro and scored by Angelo Badalamenti, revolves around the Europe’s colonial past in West Africa, and marks a promising entry in the festival world.

Daniel di Grado, director

Di Grado’s feature debut, “Alena,” springs from an acclaimed graphic novel and will have its world premiere in the Twilight Zone section at Stockholm. This feature evolved from a shorter, hour-long version produced within the Swedish Film Institute’s Moving Sweden program for emerging filmmakers, and recently screened on pubcaster SVT. Di Grado’s sanguinary take on the material has been dubbed by a critic as “Let the Right One In” meets “Fucking Amal” —  a welcome contribution to Swedish genre pics.

Elisabet Gustafsson, writer-director

Gustafsson had her critical breakthrough in 2014 with the children’s musical “Annabell’s Spectacularities,” based on Lennart Hellsing’s characters and lyrics. Showing trust in the young audience, Gustafsson dared to build on atmosphere and production design. “Dreamgame” is her next project, presented as a Moving Sweden work-in-progress at Stockholm, an adventurous film about 8-year-old Nicholas, who builds a world on his own on his iPad.

Fijona Jonuzi, writer-director

One of Sweden’s most provocative short filmmakers, known for her gender-issue studies like “Girls” and “June,” Jonuzi will be at Stockholm with her Moving Sweden work-in-progress “The Greatest,” a critical and partly affectionate look at the collaboration between actor Mikael Persbrandt and director Thommy Berggren, eminent artists and possibly the two biggest egos within Swedish drama today. The film is produced by Erik Hemmendorff at Plattform.

Marcus Lindeen, director

Lindeen’s films look at wide-ranging subject matter, from transgender issues to Ingmar Bergman. “Regretters” won the Guldbagge award — the highest prize for Swedish filmmakers — for best documentary in 2011, the same year as his “Accidentes Gloriosos” took a prize in the Venice fest’s Orizzoni section. At Stockholm, Lindeen competes in 1 Km Film with “Dear Director,” which world-premiered at Locarno. His next documentary, “The Acali Experiment,” will start shooting early next year. It’s an exploration of events in 1973 when five men and six women embarked on a 101-day adventure on the Atlantic.

Lisa Loven Kongsli, actress

Norwegian actress Loven Kongsli wowed auds as the mother and wife in Ruben Ostlund’s Cannes hit “Force Majeure”; she also won a Swedish Guldbagge award for her role. Loven Kongsli, educated at Lee Strasberg Institute in New York, is up next in Vibeke Idsoe’s “The Lion Woman,” playing opposite Connie Nielsen and Swedish star Rolf Lassgard. She also stars in TV series “Occupied,” based on Jo Nesbo’s novel.

Alexej Manvelov, actor

One of Sweden’s brightest rising actors, Manvelov appears in two films at Stockholm: as the lead in Ninja Thyberg’s “Stallion,” playing a good-looking teacher approached by a 16-year-old girl; and as one of the agitated male actors in Lovisa Siren’s “Audition.” He also stars in TV series “Occupied”. Manvelov, who didn’t attend drama school, is currently making an impression in “The Idiot” at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, playing opposite David Dencik.

Lovisa Siren, writer-director

Last year, Siren won the prestigious Startsladden short film award with “Pussy Have the Power” at the Goteborg Film Festival. At Stockholm, she has two projects: “Audition,” a take on inherited power structures and an attempt to reverse the existing gender roles in the film industry; and “Baby,” presented as a Moving Sweden work-in-progress, about two strangers, a male teenager and a woman twice his age, who are drawn to each other.

Ninja Thyberg, writer-director

Last year, Thyberg won Stockholm’s 1 Km Film scholarship with her short film “Hot Chicks,” which enabled her make her new short, “Stallion,” palying at the festival this year. Thyberg is also repped this year with her 2015 graduation project, “Girls and Boys” in the short competition. In 2013, her short “Pleasure” was awarded in Critics’ Week at Cannes, and her film “Catwalk” won the Student Visionary Award shorts competition at Tribeca this year. Produced by Erik Hemmendorff at Plattform, Thyberg is now working on her first feature, about a Swedish girl working in the porn industry in Los Angeles.

Magnus von Horn, writer-director (pictured)

One of Scandinavia’s biggest revelations this year was von Horn’s “The Here After” at Cannes, which debuted to acclaim in an exceptionally strong Directors’ Fortnight section. A Swedish-Polish-French production, shot by “Ida” cinematographer Lukasz Zal, the Lodz film school-educated von Horn has since been applauded at festivals worldwide for his a mature filmmaking in a European auteur tradition. “The Here After” is competing for the top prize — the Bronze horse trophy — at Stockholm.

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