Swedish helmer Johannes Nyholm, best known for 2019 Sundance pic “Koko-di Koko-da,” is re-teaming with producer Maria Møller Christoffersen of Copenhagen-based Beofilm on the surrealistic comedy “Firehawks,” which is set to start production this summer in Sweden.
It’s one of a number of films Møller Christoffersen has in the works at Beofilm, where she’s also co-producing “The Wall,” Philippe Van Leeuw’s drama about a U.S. border patrol agent working along the Arizona-Mexican border, who tries to cover up an irrevocable crime. Luxembourg actress Vicky Krieps (“Phantom Thread”) is set to star in the film, which is scheduled to shoot in November with Brussels-based Altitude 100 majority producing.
Møller Christoffersen says the film is “about putting up national and mental borders, and of course it’s an indirect comment on the wall that Trump wanted to put up towards Mexico. It’s a film about being afraid of what you don’t know because you want to protect yourself.”
Van Leeuw’s directing credits include Rwandan genocide film “The Day God Walked Away,” winner of the Best New Director award at San Sebastián Film Festival, and Berlin Panorama Audience Award winner “Insyriated,” a war drama set in Damascus.
“Firehawks,” meanwhile, marks Beofilm’s third feature with Nyholm and is one of 17 projects selected this year for the International Film Festival Rotterdam’s CineMart co-production market.
Nyholm, who is also producing, describes the film as “a dark, surrealistic comedy with some pretty crude slapstick elements, but also a lot of philosophical undertones about society and how to cope with a stressful, chaotic life.”
The director says it’s “much brighter” than his previous film, the award-winning “Koko-di Koko-da,” a nightmarish time-looping thriller in which a grieving couple repeatedly meet their demise at the hands of three psychopaths. As well as Sundance, the pic screened at IFFR.
“Firehawks” follows an English-speaking filmmaker in Sweden as he tries to shoot a low-budget film in the countryside while tension and conflicts arise among the crew. The film within the film will feature prominently in the story – a part of the movie that Nyholm plans to shoot this summer, with the rest of the production and principal photography scheduled for summer 2022. Nyholm is ideally looking for an American lead for the part of the director.
The film is budgeted at €2.5 million to €3 million, but that figure could rise, says Møller Christoffersen. “It depends on how big our international setup is and how many countries we’re shooting in.
Nyholm and Møller Christoffersen are looking for partners from one or two co-producing countries. “Our character gallery is quite mixed,” Møller Christoffersen adds, noting that in addition to the English-speaking main character, there is also a non-Swedish intern who can be of any other nationality. “It’s supposed to be a crew of diverse people who gather to create this film. It’s pretty early days for this project but we’re ready to talk to co-producers, sales agents and distributors and excited to see who’s out there.”
In addition to “Firehawks” and “The Wall,” Møller Christoffersen is producing “Boost!” by Swedish director Cecilia Torquato de Oliveira, which was presented last year as a project in development at the Göteborg Film Festival’s Discovery market, and co-producing Macedonian filmmaker Teona Mitevska’s Sarajevo-set relationship drama “The Happiest Man in the World,” which picked up the 2019 Eurimages Co-production Development Award at Sarajevo’s CineLink Industry Days.