Swedish documentary specialist Momento Film, the company behind “Tiny Tim: King for a Day” and CPH:Forum work in progress “Stories from the Debris,” is ramping up its narrative feature film output.
A decade after he founded his outfit, helmer/producer David Herdies has propelled Momento Film among Sweden’s top creators of cutting-edge documentaries and shorts. Award-winning pics to his credit include “Ouaga Girls” (2017), “Hamada” (2018), “Transnistra” (2019), and most recently Johan von Sydow’s docu biopic “Tiny Tim: King for a Day,” currently touring the U.S., courtesy of Juno Films. Herdies also produced and co-helmed with George Götmark the buzzed about Visions du Réel competition entry “Bellum: The Daemon of War,” and is spotlighting Jennifer Rainsford’s works in progress documentary “Stories from the Debris” at this week’s CPH:FORUM, industry sidebar to Denmark’s CPH:DOX fest.
While keeping a solid foundation in documentary films, Herdies — a former European Film Promotion “Producer on the Move” — said he is letting Momento Film producer and co-owner Michael Krotkiewski take over the doc leadership, as he gears up for growth in the narrative feature film space.
Heading the company’s fiction slate is “Dogborn” by debut helmer Isabella Carbonell, whose breakthrough live-action short “Boys” bowed at Cannes Critics Week 2015 before scooping the Grand Jury Prize at AFI Fest in L.A. The raw and intense thriller follows two homeless refugees, twin brother and sister, who turn to the criminal world in order to survive. Things take a radical turn when the goods they are paid to transport turn out to be two young girls.
Toplining the cast is hip hop artist Silvana Imam in her screen debut, and Philip Oros (“Blinded,” “Top Dog”). Herdies said “Dogborn” will go into edit next month, with a premiere slated for Cannes 2022. The pic is financed by the Swedish Film Institute’s Moving Sweden, Filmfond Norrköping and Creative Europe. NonStop Entertainment holds Swedish rights.
“Madame Luna,” slotted for a 2022 production start, will be “Morbius” helmer Daniel Espinosa’s first Swedish pic since the hard-hitting crime drama “Snabba Cash.” Based on a true story, the drama chronicles the extraordinary fate of an Eritrean refugee girl, washed ashore in Libya, who becomes one of the most notorious human smugglers with ties to the Italian Mafia. Herdies says details of the ambitious project will be unveiled around Cannes.
“The Swedish Torpedo,” helmed by Friday Kempff (“Knocking”), is another real-life female-led project, due to start filming next year. The biopic charts Swedish swimming champion Sally Bauer, known as the first Scandinavian to swim across the English Channel in the fall 1939. “It’s the strong portrait of a woman who swam against the tide and challenged pre-war conventions,” said Herdies, long time production partner to the helmer. The project in development is penned by Kempff with seasoned script consultant and writer Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten (“Call Girl,” “Ragnarok”). Herdies is producing with Erik Andersson.
Herdies also mentioned two forthcoming co-productions and potential fest-pullers.
“Amparo,” in post-production, is the feature debut of Colombian helmer Simón Mesa Soto, Palme d’Or winner with his short film “Leidi” (2014), and nominated two years later in the same category for “Madre.” Set in Colombia in the 1990s, the pic features a single mother’s struggle to keep her eldest son out of the army. The Colombian/Swedish/German co-production is produced by Mesa Soto with Juan Sarmiento G. Germany’s Martin Heisler serves as co-producer, next to Herdies. Distributor Folkets Bio has pre-bought Swedish rights.
“Kalak” will be Danish helmer Isabella Eklöf’s sophomore pic after “Holiday.” Eklöf (also credited as scribe of genre-bending “Border”) has penned the script based on Norwegian/Danish author Kim Leine’s eponymous novel. The Greenland-set drama, in late development, is produced by Denmark’s Manna Film.