Picturehouse Entertainment Acquires U.K. Rights for Maria Sødahl’s ‘Hope’

Picturehouse Entertainment has acquired U.K. rights from TrustNordisk for Maria Sødahl’s “Hope,” which stars Stellan Skarsgård and Andrea Bræin Hovig, and will have its European premiere at the Berlin Film Festival this month.

Based on the director’s own experiences after being diagnosed with brain cancer, “Hope” explores the relationship between artists and partners Tomas (Skarsgård) and Anja (Hovig), which is put to the test after Anja gets a life-threatening diagnosis. The film world premiered in the Discovery program of the Toronto Film Festival and will screen in the Panorama section of the Berlinale.

Sødahl took a long break from filmmaking after her diagnosis nearly a decade ago. Her first feature, “Limbo,” premiered to wide acclaim in 2010, earning her a share of best director honors at the Montreal Intl. Film Festival and nabbing 10 nominations at the Amanda Awards, Norway’s top film prize.

Speaking to Variety ahead of the world premiere of “Hope” last year, Sødahl said: “I had the urge to tell my story, and at the same time my aim was to make a personal but not a private film. It’s about what happens when someone faces the threat of death. Everything becomes more clear and the communication very direct. The incertitude, the subtext—it all disappears.”

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“Hope” is produced by Thomas Robsahm (“Louder Than Bombs,” “Thelma”), executive produced by Yngve Sæther (“Force Majeure,” “Bergman: A Year in the Life”), and Espen Osmundsen (“Thelma”), and co-produced by Lizette Jonjic (“Thelma,” “Stockholm, My Love”) and Peter Possne (“The Dead Don’t Die”).

The acquisition was negotiated by Clare Binns and Paul Ridd of Picturehouse Entertainment with Susan Wendt of TrustNordisk. The trio previously collaborated on Mikkel Nørgaard’s Danish crime thriller “The Keeper of Lost Causes” (2013) and its sequel, “The Absent One” (2014).

“Director Maria Sødahl’s film ‘Hope’ surprised and delighted our team at TIFF this year. [It was] a moving and uplifting drama with the wonderful Stellan Skarsgård and the superb Andrea Brӕin Hovig giving career-best performances,” said Binns, Picturehouse’s joint managing director. “This truly is a film about something we all want: hope for things to work out. This film captures this beautifully.”

“I am thrilled to be working with Picturehouse on ‘Hope,’” added Wendt. “I know they will give the film the special care and attention it deserves and will ensure it reaches a wide audience in the U.K.”

Upcoming Picturehouse Entertainment titles include Justin Kurzel’s “True History of the Kelly Gang,” Johannes Nyholm’s “Koko Di Koko Da,” Alice Winocour’s “Proxima,” Quentin Dupieux’s “Deerskin,” and Ira Sach’s “Frankie.”

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