Rome-based Intramovies has picked up sales rights to Swedish up-and-coming filmmaker Mika Gustafsson’s “Sisters,” in the works ahead of the film’s pitch at Gothenburg’s Nordic Film Market, which runs Feb. 2-5.
Nima Yousefi is producing the film for Stockholm-based Hobab, behind Nathalie Alvarez Messen’s multi-award winning “Clara Sola.”
European co-producers on board “Sisters” include Italy’s Intramovies, Denmark’s Toolbox Films and Finland’s Tufi Films.
Marco Valerio Fusco, head of acquisitions and production at Intramovies, said, “Being an Italian co-producer, we loved the project from the start, and were very excited by the film’s potential, the impressive screenplay and all the talent involved.
“For the good of the film, we have not put any pre-emption on the title, leaving the door open for any other potential sales agent. Then when Nima offered us to come on board, we immediately accepted,” says Fusco, who is “excited to let the world discover Mika Gustafsson, a stunningly bright new talent.”
“Sisters” marks Gustafsson’s first foray into fiction filmmaking since the doc music bio-pic “Sylvana,” for which he shared a Swedish Guldbag for best documentary in 2018. in an unsupervised home with his sister, and the bond, “stronger than anything else”, that developed between them.
In the story, co-written with actor-script writer Alexander Ohrstrand, siblings Laura (16), Mira (12) and Steffi (7), begin to fend for themselves in a Swedish working-class suburban housing estate, as their mother goes missing for a long period of time. . When social services are contacted, Laura asks young Hannah to act as their mother, keeping the sisters in foster care and separating them.
Gustafsson, who studied filmmaking with “Sad Triangle” Ruben Ostlund at Gothenburg’s Valland Film Academy, said his films are “about time and the transience of life, memories and reunions. “I want to show what it’s like to be a human being in those moments when exhilarating. Freedom is cheek-to-cheek with utter despair,” he explained.
Young amateurs Bianca DelBravo, Dilvin Asad and Saphira Mossberg play the three sisters, and top actress Ida Envol (“Love and Anarchy”) plays Hana.
Gustafsson said of his craft, “Directing for me is about creating life in moments and making it so that there are conditions that enable me to help actors and each other, professionals and debutantes.” “Ida Envol is a friend and artist who was incredibly important to the process. Me and my screenwriter Alex, who is an actor himself, trained non-professionals to act for about a year before shooting.”
“Sisters” was shot on location in Stockholm last summer and is scheduled for delivery in late spring around the Cannes Film Festival, a top launching pad where Hobab World premiered its rumored directors’ Fortnite title “Clara Sola” in 2021. TriArt will handle the theatrical release in Sweden, Scanbox in Denmark and Aurora Studios in Finland.
Yousefi said he looks forward to Goteberg’s work on a “progressive pitch” to attract interest from festival programmers, other distributors and TV channels.
Hobab’s film slate includes Alvarez Messen’s sophomore feature “The Wolf Will Tear Your Immaculate Hands,” which is currently in pre-production, with a start of principal photography penciled in for mid-2024. “Our goal is to create a hub for creatives, professionals and people behind the artistic craft of filmmaking,” says Yousefi, a partner in the boutique Swedish production shingle with longtime producer Peter Krupenin.
Hobab will join the upcoming Berlinale co-production market with Iranian filmmaker duo Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanayeha’s project “Buran,” which is in the early stages of financing. It will appear in the Managers section.
The Swedish production is a minority partner in Moghaddam and Sanayeha’s current film “My Favorite Cake”, produced by France’s Characteres Productions.