As SF Studios bulks up its pipeline with ambitious in-house productions, the company’s international sales division is now aiming to widen its scope through third-party pickups, with an eye on non-Scandinavian projects.
Spearheaded by Anita Simovic, SF Studios’ international sales team will be bringing to Cannes a couple pickups: Santiago Requejo’s heartfelt comedy drama “Grandpas,” the company’s first Spanish-language acquisition, and Kasper Torsting’s WWI-set Danish love drama “A War Within.”
Simovic says the company is now actively seeking projects from independent producers which have definite international potential. “These can be Nordic, but can be of any origin and in any language, as long as we find them commercial from an international perspective,’ says the sales exec, who added that SF Studios is primarily looking for actioners, thrillers, crime tales, family animation and genre films.
A feel-good Spanish drama, “Grandpas” underscores this new mandate because it “will resonate with audiences around the world thanks to its warmth, charm and universal theme,” says Simovic.
Produced by the Spanish outfit 02:59 Films, “Grandpas” tells the story of three old friends having a hard time adapting to the job market, which seems uninterested in anyone over 50 years old. Reluctant to retire, they decide to set up a daycare center.
“ ‘Grandpas’ generated a lot of attention in Spanish media when it premiered at the Malaga Festival earlier this year — not the least because it sheds light on a problem a lot of people over 50 encounter,” says Simovic.
“Fun House,” an English-language horror film produced between Sweden and Canada, kicked off the strategic shift of SF Studios’ international sales as its first third-party acquisition. The movie is in post and will be released this fall.
When it comes to SF Studios-produced movies, the international sales division is focusing on the company’s Scandinavian titles rather than its in-house English-language productions such as Allison Williams-starrer “Horizon Line,” which is being handled by STX.
With SF Studios hiking up its production and co-production input, the sales team already has its hands full. Within the last five years, SF Studios acquired two high-profile production companies, Tre Vänner in Sweden and more recently Paradox in Norway.
“Together with our in-house production in Denmark, Tre Vänner and Paradox provide us with a far more steady flow of films than ever before,” says Simovic.
As it strives to board projects which have an international appeal, SF Studios’ sales team has also started working closely with the banner’s Nordic co-production team in order to identify projects — including non-Nordic ones — at an earlier stage.
SF Studios’ sales slate also includes hit “Britt-Marie Was Here,” the comedy-drama based on a bestselling novel by Fredrik Backman, the author of “A Man Called Ove”; and Espen Sandberg’s epic adventure film “Amundsen.”