Zentropa’s first epic Viking movie The Long Ships directed by Hans Petter Moland, and the adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s best-selling novel A Man Named Ove directed by Hannes Holm are some of the star projects unveiled on Saturday at Film i Väst’s annual press meeting in Cannes.
Some of Scandinavia’s finest talents including Mads Mikkelsen, Anders Thomas Jensen, Ruben Östlund, Kristian Levring, Hannes Holm, Johannes Nyholm were on hand to pitch their current and upcoming projects co-produced by Sweden’s largest regional film fund that has an annual budget of around SEK70 million for feature films and SEK15 million for TV series.
The most ambitious project The Long Ships budgeted at around €11 million for two features and four TV episodes will be produced by Zentropa in co-production with Nordisk Film. Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland will direct his favoured actor Stellan Skarsgård from a script by Tobias Lindholm. “We have a package deal with the whole Skarsgård family,” said the high-spirited Zentropa producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen”. “Stellan gets to play the old Röda Orm and then the rest of the family will play the character at different ages”.
Based on the 1945 eponymous classic novel by Swedish novelist Frans Gunnar Bengtsson and set in the 10th century, the film centres on the character Röda orm (Red Worm) who embarks on a journey that ends changing the course of history Shooting is set for 2016.
The Swedish project A Man Named Ove is based on Backman’s best-seller described by the literary house Partners in Stories as “a feel-good story in the spirit of The 100 Year-old Man Who climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”. The project set to start filming in the fall 2014 is produced by Tre Vänner’s Annika Bellander. Nordisk Film holds Scandinavian distribution rights.
Other upcoming Swedish projects backed by Film i Väst include Under the Pyramid by Axel Petersén (Avalon) and The Giant by Johannes Nyholm (Las Palmas), both set to start filming in September, and Sanna Lenken’s feature My Skinny Sister (supported by Nordisk Film & TV Fond). On the Danish front Anders Thomas Jensen is currently filming for M&M Production his comedy Men & Chicken Starring Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas.
Speaking to Nordiskfilmogtvfond.com, Jessica Ask, Film i Väst’s Head of Production said: we’ve had a fantastic 2013 with three mega successes in Swedish cinemas (The 100 Year old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared, The Andersson’s Hit the Road, Waltz for Monica) and now for the first time we had three films selected in Cannes [The Salvation, Force Majeure, White God]. We are also pleased that more high-end TV dramas are coming our way and hopefully many projects currently on our table for co-financing or post-production will soon go into production”.