January 31, 2023


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Cha Lindeberg’s sophomore “The Seal Woman” leads the motor pick slate

4 min read

Fast-growing Danish production powerhouse Motor, led by writer Christian Torpe (“Silent Heart”, “Rita”) and producer Jesper Morthorst, has unveiled a splashy five-pick slate led by Gothenburg Film Festival closing film “Camino”. Sturmoz and T Lindeberg’s film “The Seal Woman” is in development, at the Discovery Strand of Gothenburg’s Nordic Film Market (February 2-5).

One of the most popular Danish directors, Lindeberg, creator of the Netflix “Equinox” series, made a splash on the festival circuit with his directorial debut “As in Heaven,” which won a double win at San Sebastian and the best-Nordic statue at Gothenburg 2021. A number of buyers including Juno Films in the US

Her anticipated sophomore feature “The Seal Woman,” based on her original screenplay, is inspired by a Faroese legend, which holds that those who drown become sealed. And once every year, they return to the shore in their human form.

The story turns to the male character Ask who seeks out this mythical place of transfiguration in hopes of reuniting with his late wife. Desperate not to lose her again, he hides her sealskin, so she can’t go back to sea. At first, the woman doesn’t remember their past together, but as her memories return, a dark and terrifying story unfolds.

“This tragic love story will be pure Lindeberg material, with a poetic touch, dreamy and terrifying sequences,” says Morthorst, who plans to make his second feature with the director as a major European co-production, “with filming somewhere in the North Atlantic.” Set for 2024.

Also heading to Göteborg is Motor’s comedy drama “Camino,” the first Danish original film ordered by Viaplay.

As revealed by diversity, Lars Brygmann (“Riders of Justice”) and Danica Curcic (“The Chestnut Man”) lead a strong cast as a father and daughter, walking Spain’s famed Camino de Santiago pilgrim route and venting their mutual frustrations.

“Viaplay loved the script written by Birgit and Kim Fuppz Akesson and the stellar cast and crew and greenlit the film very quickly,” noted Morthorst.

Jasper Morthorst

“Camino” is due to premiere exclusively on Nordic streamers following its Gothenburg world premiere on February 4, with Viaplay Content Distribution handling global distribution.

For Morthorst, “Camino” and “The Seal Woman” epitomize Motor’s DNA, which delivers writer-driven high-quality content for large audiences, regardless of format and genre, whether small arthouse or large commercial properties. As well as drama series

The five-year-old shingle, which began with Torp’s hit thriller series “Deliver Us” (2019), has used the Covid-period to refocus on feature films, a wise strategic move, in the context of the – now fixed – streaming crisis that has plagued much of the Danish audiovisual sector. Destabilized the part.

“We have TV shows in development with various global streamers, but our core business is the European state-backed model, where we keep control of our rights and creative decisions,” Morthorst underlined.

“We’ve been in development for two to three years on our eclectic feature slate, and we’re finally going into production with our biggest projects,” he said.

Two heavyweight European co-productions are due to start filming this year.

The first is the $3.8 million “Rome,” slated for February-March shooting The heartwarming drama is directed by Niklas Bendixen (“Dit & Louise”, “Cry Wolf”), who wrote the original screenplay with Torpey and Kristian Halken. Motor’s Andreas Hjortdal is producing together with Morthorst.

“It’s a universal story about love, marriage and how it changes over time,” says Hortdal, adding that filming in different parts of the Italian capital will capture the essence of the city.

Behind the scenes are editor Mai Thordal (“The Rain”, “Journal 64”) and Lars von Trier’s longtime DOP Manuel Claro (“Melancholia”, “The Kingdom”). The main lead Scandi actors will be announced closer to the shooting date.

“Rome” is being co-produced by Scandi pubcasters TV 2 Denmark and SVT, with support from the Danish Film Institute, the Swedish Film Institute, Eurimages, Italy’s Vivo Film and Sweden’s GimmeABreak. Scandinavian distributor Scanbox, which has a first look deal with Pea, will handle the Danish release, which is lined up for November 2023. The sale is still open

The next major feature project, “Stranger”, is a raw and suspenseful thriller-drama set in the Danish Stone Age. Mads Hedegaard makes his directorial debut based on a script written with Jesper Fink (“Margate-Queen of the North”).

Tagged as “The Revenant” meets “Snake Embrace”, “The Stranger” launches Athi (16) and his younger brother’s quest for survival among the tribe that killed his family.

The film was originally made as a Danish-Polish co-production but will now involve minority co-pro partners Proton Cinema in Hungary and Mer Film in Norway. “We were originally going to shoot it in a primeval forest in Poland, but because of the war nearby in Ukraine, we had to change our plans,” explained Hjortdahl. “Now we’ll be shooting the entire film in a beautiful old forest outside of Budapest, and that’s exactly what we were looking for,” the producer said.

Filming, scheduled for July 2023, will last six weeks. So far, about 80% of the financing has been secured, including Nordic distribution under Scanbox and global sales closed with a major company, to be announced at a later date.

Motor’s feature projects in development include “Bastard Love,” to be directed by Janus Metz of “Star Wars: Endor Season 2” and “Borg vs. McEnroe.”

the camino
Credit: Nikola Pridovic

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