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Swedish helmer Mika Gustafson, one of a roster of promising Swedish voices with “Clara Sola”’s Natalie Álvarez-Mesén at Stockholm-based Hobab, has finalised the cast for her directorial debut “Sisters.” 

The feature is in final stages of filming, and co-produced by Italy’s Intramovies, Denmark’s Toobox and Finland’s Tuffi Films.

Ida Engvoll, who broke out in Netflix romcom “Love & Anarchy,” plays Hanna, a young woman drawn into an unexpected adventure when she encounters Laura (16), eldest of a trio of socially-deprived sisters. 

Laura asks Hanna to “play” their mum when social services come knocking at the sisters’ doors, threatening to separate them and place them in a foster home. But when Hanna shows her affection, Laura loses control and starts spiralling downwards.

Gustafson who was trained at Ruben Östlund’s auteur-driven Valand film school in Götenborg, said in a statement that she was inspired “by the playfulness of the French New Wave, the absurd world of Harmony Korine, and Andrea Arnold’s way of making girls the owners of their own gaze and masters of their own story.”

The emerging director has cast the young non-professionals Bianca Delbravo, Dilvin Asaad and Safira Mossberg for the parts of female siblings Laura, Mira (12) and Steffi (7). Producer Nima Yousefi, named a Producer on the Move at last year’s Cannes, said the acting beginners, were “found through an extensive street casting among thousands of candidates.” “The youngest sister Steffi (Safira Mossberg) was found by accident. on a train platform when she missed her train by two minutes and by chance our casting director was sitting on the platform and saw her!” the producer said.

Delivery for the female-led drama, currently in final stages of filming, is scheduled for May 2023. Yousefi, who successfully launched Costa-Rican-Swedish helmer Nathalie Álvarez Mesen’s atmospheric debut “Clara Sola” at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2021, is also hoping for a Cannes slot. Sales are still open for discussion.

Meanwhile Álvarez Mesen’s ambitious next move – “The Wolf Will Tear Your Immaculate Hands” – produced by Yousefi in co-production with Alan McConnell from U.S. banner Resolve Media, is entering the financing stage. Filming is due to start in Latin America in early 2024.

The 1790s gothic tale centres on a governess who travels to Latin America to educate the two daughters of a widower. The project won the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award at last year’s Torino FilmLab. 

New York Columbia University graduate Álvaréz Mesen and Yousefi are guests at this week’s New Nordic Films’ confab in Haugesund, which runs Aug 23-26. On Tuesday, they both took centre stage to receive their nomination for this year’s Nordic Council Film Prize.