The drama opens in Sweden March 13.

In the film Charter, Norwegian star actress Ane Dahl Torp plays Alice, a Stockholm-based divorced mother who is separated from her two children by her ex-husband (Sverrir Gudnason).

While waiting for the final custody verdict and after a phone conversation with her weepy son, she heads to Northern Sweden to be with her children. When this plan fails to materialise she decides to abduct her two children and take them on a charter trip to Tenerife in the hopes of reconciling with them.

Kernell has teamed up again with Sami Blood’s DoP Sophia Olsson, editor Anders Skov and producer Lars Lindström of Nordisk Film Production. The film supported by Nordisk Film & TV Fond is sold internationally by TrustNordisk.

What was the starting point of the story?
Amanda Kernell: Like all my films it’s very personal. I grew up with divorced parents and was interested in exploring the complexity of parenthood after a divorce. One of my greatest fears is that you can lose your children. But how far would and should you go to get them back in a custody case? As a woman and a mother, do you have to sacrifice everything for your kids and is there a limit? Will the kids ever forgive me if I don’t fight? Will it feel like a betrayal? Here the mother is taking things into her own hands. Although she breaks the law to be with her children, at least she shows them that she’s ready to do anything for them.

Like in Sami Blood, you describe castaways, people cut off from society. Where does this fascination come from?
I’m fascinated by women who make radical choices and push boundaries. I know of women who had to make difficult choices because of family secrets and betrayal.

Alice is desperate to reconnect with her children. She takes one step forward and three steps back as the trust between her and her children is so delicate…
AK: It’s a love story especially between a mother and her daughter, as Alice tries to win back her teenage daughter Elina. It’s tough, and it hurts. When you’re a divorced parent, you are easily judged. You are alone. I can only see it for myself as for some reason, I judged my mother more than my father. Perhaps we expect more from a mother. It’s hard to be good enough.

As a viewer, you’re on the edge as you feel Alice could lose everything any minute, but you’re also not certain of Alice’s ability to take care of her children…
Yes I wanted to create a sense of insecurity. You’re not sure what the next step will be, and the main character doesn’t know either, what is the right thing to do with the kids. Every second we are judging her, the children are judging her. Is she a good enough mother? Every small step is crucial, she might do a mistake that might tip things over…

The performance from the non-professional acting children Troy Lundkvist and Tintin Poggats Sarri is remarkable. How did you find them?
AK: We started casting more than a year before the shoot and cast hundreds of kids before we found them. They were brought to us by their siblings and at the beginning, they were reluctant to play in the film. I had to convince them.

They demonstrated a great integrity -impressive for their young age - as they wanted to understand their roles before committing. They were so brave. Tintin in particular had a difficult part, as she had to be a credible opponent or antagonist to Ane Dahl Torp. Both Troy and Tintin gave their input during filming. If they felt something didn’t feel right with their characters, they let me know.

Norwegian star actress Ane Dahl Torp makes her debut in a Swedish film. What qualities did you see in her?
She is such an amazing actress. I wanted the Swedish audience to know her better and she speaks an excellent Swedish. Her qualities are in her vibrant energy. As it’s a character who won’t let go, it was important that she had an athletic side. Usually she plays cold parts, but here she is warm, charming. She does unexpected things. She has a kind of rock star quality!

And then you cast the Swedish actor of Icelandic origin Sverrir Gudnason as Alice’s ex-husband...
AK: Sverrir is also a fabulous actor. Here he is cast against type. Usually he plays the good guy, but in Charter you’re not quite sure if he’s the good or bad guy. It was interesting to cast him as a dangerous opponent to Alice.

Could you tell us of your collaboration with Danish cinematographer Sophia Olsson and your use of contrasts?
AK: We went from the blue wintery light from the Polar region where the sun doesn’t really come up, to the hot weather and warmth of the Canary Islands. Up in Norrbotten, during winter time, you think you are in a dream, not quite awake, as there is with very little light, but it’s actually a nightmare, quite claustrophobic, although the landscape is wide open. Also, it’s a very small community up north, where people know and judge everyone. And in the film, the local community scrutinises Alice’s behaviour with her children.

Why did you choose to set the film partly in Tenerife?
AK: It was my dream location. It’s a kind of artificial paradise. People go there for holiday on charter flights, to be happy and create great memories. But for Alice, it’s different, a difficult experience. I also liked the contrasting harsh and volcanic landscape, which added to the feeling of insecurity.

What’s next?
I am writing a contemporary love story set in Sami land -Sápmi. I think it’s time for that!