August, Hallström sell for Svensk Filmindustri
by Annika Pham
24/05/2012 - Relaxing at the sunny Scandinavian terrace after a full week of meetings, Ann Kristin Westerberg, head of Svensk Filmindustri AB’s sales division was very pleased yesterday afternoon about her business in Cannes. “We’ve had a lot of traffic throughout the festival and we met even more people because of the rain!”
The footage of Lasse Hallström’s The Hypnotist – the first of three films based on Lars Kepler’s best-selling novels-was a strong pulling card for SF. “We had already closed a lot of territories in Berlin and buyers were anxious to get the feel of the film. The screening in Cannes was a huge success”, said Westerberg, who added Japan to previous deals. The film will premiere in Sweden on September 28. Westerberg continued negotiations on the second book adaptation The Paganini Contract directed by Kjell Sundvall and started discussing the third opus The Fire Witness.
Another strong title on SF Cannes line up was Bille August’s first Danish film in 25 years, the costume drama Marie Krøyer [trailer] (pictured). The film was sold to Greece and Russia and negotiations are under way with France, Germany and Benelux. The documentary A Love Story: Liv & Ingmar where actress Liv Ullmann gives open and honest testimonies about her relationship with Sweden’s legendary director Ingmar Bergman was sold to Brazil and deals are pending with France and Spain. The Norwegian documentary will be released domestically in the fall.
On the pre-sales market Westerberg had good responses from buyers on the Norwegian period film Victoria produced by Filmkameratene AS (Max Manus, The Troll Hunter [trailer, film focus] [trailer]). The Knut Hamsun’s adaptation starring newcomer Iben Akerlie, as well as Bill Skarsgård and Jakob Oftebro will be ready later in the fall. Another Filmkameratene project received very positive responses: the historical drama Tordenskjold directed by Norway’s hot director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters [trailer]). The project centres on the 18th century hero, Norwegian naval officer Peter Wessel Tordenskjold. The epic film is co-produced by Danish powerhouse Zentropa. “It’s a major project, with a budget above €10m, and it’s on buyers’ radars,” said Westerberg.
Giving her general feel on the market, the veteran sales agent said she felt all key buyers were in Cannes, even European distributors from financially-hit territories. “All serious distributors who want to stay in business need products, and in Scandinavia we have titles that work and people trust us”, said Westerberg.