Stockholm-based production house Hobab whose buzzy Cannes Directors’ Fortnight “Clara Sola” was snapped by New-York-based Oscilloscope Laboratories, is ramping up its ambitions, with female-led projects.
“Our vision is to combine arthouse sensitivity with mainstream appeal, and to help talents – both Nordic and international – grow with care,” said Nima Yousefi, producer and joint owner with Peter Krupenin.
Pedigree European shingles Finland’s Tuffi Films, Denmark’s Toolbox and Italy’s Intramovies have boarded as co-producers Hobab’s next Swedish feature drama “Sisters,” from first-time fiction helmer Mika Gustafson.
Ruben Öslund’s former alumna at Göteborg’s Valand Academy, Gustafson had her international break with the short film “Mephobia,” followed by the doc-biopic “Silvana,” about rapper and feminist icon Silvana Imam.
Due to start lensing in June, “Sisters” is penned by Gustafson with actor-screenwriter Alexander Öhrstrand, seen in “The Bridge” and “The Hunt for a Killer.”
The coming of age story follows siblings Laura (16), Mira (12) and Steffi (7), fending for themselves in a Swedish working-class suburban housing estate, as their mother vanishes for lengthy periods. When social services get in touch, Laura has to find someone to play their mom, to avoid the sisters being placed in foster care and separated.
“The story is told from the sisters’ point of view, which helps soften the harsh social drama and makes the film relatable and engaging. It will also mix authenticity with magic realism, and offer a heart-warm portrait of sisterhood,” said Yousefi who looks forward to Gustafson’s take on the girls’ journey into adulthood.
In final stage of financing, The film has received support from the Swedish Film Institute, Film Stockholm, the Danish Film Institute, the Finnish Film Foundation, the Italian Ministry of Culture, public broadcasters SVT in Sweden, DR in Denmark and Yle in Finland and distributors TriArt in Sweden, Scanbox in Denmark and Aurora Studios in Finland.
Meanwhile, Hobab’s most ambitious project to date is the Berlinale Co-production Market selected “The Wolf Will Tear Your Immaculate Hands,” reuniting ”Clara Sola”’s Swedish-Costa-Rican helmer Nathalie Álvarez-Mesén with Yousefi and U.S partner Resolve Media.
Tagged as a tropical gothic tale, set in colonial Latin America in the early 1800s, the drama centres on a governess who travels to Latin America to educate the two daughters of a widower.
Slowly, she discovers that a wilderness runs within the women in the house, regardless of class and ethnicity. Yousefi says the drama will be thematically similar to “Clara Sola” [dealing with breaking free from patriarchal structures] but “will go deeper into the conventions of horror, before breaking them.“
Yousefi who is location scouting between Portugal, the Canary Islands and Latin America, says the project will be shot mostly in English, with some French, Spanish and indigenous language – depending on locations. He expects an A-list female lead (mixed with non -professional actors), Álvarez-Mesén’s track record and the solid script to pull in strong international partners.
Last year’s Producer on the Move will be pitching the project at the Co-Production Market, which runs Feb. 12-16.
“The Wolf Will Tear Your Immaculate Hands” won the Swedish Film Institute’s Wild Card and Eurimages Co-Production Development Award at the TorinoFilmLab in December. Production start is estimated for late 2023.
Elsewhere, Hobab is co-producer of the Berlinale Panorama-bound “Beautiful Beings” from Icelandic director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson (“Heartstone”), marking its second collaboration with Iceland’ s Join Motion Pictures after “A White, White Day.”
Hobab is also attached to the Sundance Midnight selected Finnish chiller “Hatching,” acquired by IFC Midnight.