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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Norway

Spanish flu-set horror Possession to be directed by Henrik M Dahlsbakken

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- The new Norwegian film, staged by FilmBros for SF Studios, will portray the terrifying events following a pastor’s actions in a small Sámi village

Spanish flu-set horror Possession to be directed by Henrik M Dahlsbakken
Dennis Storhøi in Possession (© FilmBros Europe/SF Studios)

Prolific Norwegian filmmaker Henrik M Dahlsbakken, whose most recent directorial efforts include the features Project Z (2021), Another Happy Christmas (2020) and An Affair (2018), is now working on a new project, an epic horror film entitled Possession and produced by FilmBros for SF Studios.

The story, penned by the director himself, is set in 1918. World War I is coming to an end, and the Spanish flu is raging. A pastor returns home to his family in Norway to start a congregation, after several years as a missionary in Madagascar. With the help of a local mining company, he starts the work of building a church, but the place turns out to be an old South Sámi burial ground. When it is decided that the remains should be removed, an indefinable evil begins to haunt the settlers.

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In the official press release published by SF Studios, Possession is described as “a magnificent account of faith and doubt in the time of the pandemic, and how the Sámi were treated by Norwegian society around the beginning of the last century” and centres on “a Sámi girl who was adopted at a young age and is now being thrown out to embark on a journey to discover her identity”.

“This project is close to my heart, and undoubtedly the most ambitious I have ever done. The South Sámi culture has rarely been portrayed, and in Possession, we also explore a supernatural aspect – how we humans can find our inner flame in the face of oppression and injustice,” said the director. “We are proud to nurse and handle Henrik’s unique and talented storytelling once again. He always takes his audience on a cinematic road trip to an unknown destination,” added Yaba Holst, SF Studios’ head of Nordic Acquisition.

The lead actors are Norwegian star Jan Sælid and ten-year-old newcomer Eva Nergård. The main cast also includes Tarjei Sandvik Moe, Dennis Storhøi, Benjamin Helstad, Nina Ellen Ødegård, Alfred Ekker Strande and Ellen Dorrit Petersen. In particular, Tarjei Sandvik Moe changed his appearance dramatically with a view to playing the role of a priest’s son with inner demons. The feature, now in post-production, was shot in the inland Røros area.

Possession will be distributed by SF Studios in the Nordic countries. Danish outfit REinvent handles all marketing and sales outside of the region. The film is being staged by Norway’s FilmBros with support from Filminvest and the Norwegian Film Institute. It will premiere in Norwegian cinemas in February 2022.

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